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Story - Education

May 5, 2010 1:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town reassessment complicates Hampton Bays school tax scenario

May 5, 2010 1:28 PM

Even if spending does not go up at all next year, the district tax rate would still increase 12.6 percent due to the confluence of outside factors, according to Mr. Luce. “The tax rate is not controlled by the school,” he said.

At the summit, where dozens of community members were invited to the Hampton Bays Middle School cafeteria, district administrators said that Hampton Bays is on an upward trajectory, with higher graduation rates, Advanced Placement test scores and lower dropout rates.

After the summit, Superintendent Joanne Loewenthal, who is retiring at the end of the school year, said that a failed budget could derail the progress her district has made over the last few years. She said that, typically, it takes a district between two and five years to recover from an austerity budget.

“I think that we’re on the verge of greatness, and it would be sad to interrupt that momentum,” she said.

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$43.8 million budget divided by 1800 students in the Hampton Bays public schools equals an expenditure of over $24,000 per student per year. Do we feel that our children are getting a $24,000 per year education?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 6, 10 1:37 PM
Not every dime of that money goes to students. What about the cost of maintenance, utilities, staff, etc?
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on May 7, 10 7:53 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By noraisehbta (1), Hampton Bays on May 11, 10 2:40 PM
12.6% increase sounds alot better than 16.1%. Everyone knows that next year will be a lot worse. Why are the teachers receiving a raise if everyone in the community are losing jobs?
By Payfreeze (2), Hampton Bays on May 6, 10 11:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
Because they just don't get it...
The last board seems to have been taken down because of the outrage against this budget. They new figures are not any better...
5 new sports teams???
salary increases??
We scored a little over 70 on the regents where the average for LI was over 90.
This is a $24,000 education
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 7, 10 5:15 PM
what's your point? the budget is for educating children, all the expenses are for that purpose. $24,000 per year per student.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 7, 10 4:19 PM
Why don't we just make it an even 50,000...after all it is for the teachers...oops students.
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 7, 10 5:17 PM
Schools exist to educate. Who paid for your public school education? Oh, that's right, everyone who lives in your district.
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on May 10, 10 8:09 AM
That may be so. It does not change the fact that today's budget is out of control. 5 new sports teams and salary increases at a time when people are out of work, businesses are not doing well, there are salary freezes and everyone is struggling. It is extremely selfish and unrealistic. The board better have a backup plan because this is not going to pass
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 10, 10 6:59 PM
Creating a school budget is a financial decision, an "investment" if you want to class it as such. Cutting out a layer of management, like superintendents in a district of 1800 pupils is one way to save $500,000+. Not insignificant.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 10, 10 4:22 PM
superintendent, assistant superintendent, assistants to those executives, salaries, health benefits, pension funding. that's what i mean by $500k. they only work 10 months a year as well, remember...lots and lots of holiday time.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 10, 10 4:31 PM
David, please do not make yourself sound like someone who doesn't have a grip with reality. Administrators work a full year schedule. Also, running a school is a job that you cannot just "turn off" when you walk into your home. It is a job that requires immense dedication. As someone who has been involved in the Hampton Bays community for over twenty years, I cannot remember a time when we have had a more competent and dedicated administration team.
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on May 11, 10 8:33 PM

THOMAS JEFFERSON "I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, we will be happy.

MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG's “The fact is our education system looks a lot like the US auto industry in the 1970s- stuck in a flabby inefficient, outdated production ...more
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 10, 10 7:05 PM
Have you been involved in HB education or do you just sit on the sidelines and shoot at those trying to balance respecting the taxpayer while giving kids opportunities in the 21st century? Hampton Bays runs their programs at the LEAST cost per pupil in all of Eastern Long Island. Because the hamlet's taxable property yields less in dollars, each of us homeowners bear a higher burden. Go east across the canal, where enrollment is 200 students less and the budget is $11 million more. While there ...more
By clart (6), Hamptons on May 10, 10 8:41 PM
I agree with all of that.
I am not knocking education. I am saying that our system is inefficient and needs to be re-evaluated.
I don't think throwing money at something makes it better if there are fundamental problems in the system
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 5:58 PM
If our students get more bang for the buck, why did we score in the 70's on the regents exams when the average for LI was over 90?
You can throw as much money at something as you want. That does not make it better.
You are wrong in saying that we run at the least cost per pupil. I have seen the statistics on Newsday. This figures include grades and drop out rates of the middle school....
If you would like to make a valid point, please provide figures an how you arrived at them.
Also, ...more
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 9:07 AM
Are you saying that because the property value yields less money in taxes in Hampton Bays, that we should spend less money on the education of our children? I disagree with that-we'd be setting our kids up at a competitive disadvantage to their peers when they enter the real world. Unfortunately, because the property value yields less money than elsewhere, our tax rate must be higher and we shoulder some more burden there. I don't like it, but that's life.
By clart (6), Hamptons on May 11, 10 12:09 PM
My data comes from the NYS 2010 Property Tax Report Card. Of 125 LI districts, we score #40 in lowest per pupil spending ($21,907). Of the 39 districts that spend less, the easternmost is Eastport South Manor ($19,911). Look up the report card and see for yourself.
By clart (6), Hamptons on May 11, 10 3:02 PM
And HB didn't score in the 77 on Regents exams. The number represents the number of students earning a Regents diplomas. That number is temporarily down because the number of kids GRADUATING with ANY diploma increased (2006 - 73%; 2009 - 90%). The first step is to get would-be drop outs to meet minimum graduation requirements before achieving the more advanced diploma. Walk before you run, Kelly. But, go ahead vote no and send the district spiraling backward. Then see what our HB kids are ...more
By Baymen's Baymen (7), Hampton Bays on May 11, 10 3:04 PM
No. According to Newsday this is a percentage. And LI was above 90 while HB was in the 70's.
You can argue or insult Newsday if you like.
Insulting someone is not going to help you get a yes vote.
What was the middle school graduation rate?
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 5:37 PM
What is a middle school graduation rate? Where would you find that?
By MHB22 (1), Hampton Bays on May 11, 10 10:44 PM
Sorry, Kelly. I meant to type 77 "percent," not number. The point I was trying to make is that yes, HB fell below the average but I have heard the presentations and understand that it is because more kids than ever have graduated from HB-that's a step in the right direction. When the regents-diploma rate was 91% 3 years ago, the district graduated less than 75%. That's up to 90% now and, in my opinion, I'd rather have more kids in my town graduating with a NYS recognized diploma than not. But ...more
By Baymen's Baymen (7), Hampton Bays on May 11, 10 10:51 PM
It's true that Southampton spends $34,000 per student rather than Hampton Bays is budgeted at $24,000. In either case, it does not seem like our children are getting the value for this investment that they should. Are we allocating the $24,000 correctly? Why are we always cutting art, music and sports and not bureaucratic waste?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 11, 10 5:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why are we adding 5 new sports teams and increasing teacher salaries when everyone in town is struggling with the economy? There are empty storefronts on main street. People have lost their jobs or have had cutbacks and salary freezes. Restaurants and small businesses are suffering...
But the teachers want their increases and will resort to intimidation to get everyone to vote yes to a budget increase.

By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 5:23 PM
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 5:44 PM
I have a question....I understand the proposed budget includes a 2% raise for teachers. Is the contract with them for one year? If longer, what are the increases each year of the contract? I'd hate to think it's "only" 2% and then find out that next year it's 4% or something. Does anyone know?
By baywoman (165), southampton on May 11, 10 6:44 PM
Most teachers in Hampton Bays make more than the average income of home-owners.
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 9:46 PM
The problem with Hampton Bays is not the student population, the teachers, or administration. It is that incompetent and ignorant people call it home. Everyone in Hampton Bays seems to be an expert on the public education system - yet their only experience with it is probably that of a student.
By BaymenNYC (59), Manhattan on May 11, 10 8:38 PM
Yes that's what we like to call a "democracy".
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 11, 10 8:46 PM
Wow. Hello
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 9:34 PM
I think that BaymenNYC comment is off...
By kelly (75), hampton bays on May 11, 10 9:36 PM
That's a good question. Appears to be up for renewal this year:
Hannpton Bays Board of Education and Hampton Bays Teachers' Association July 1,2005 - June 30,2010
The term of this agreement shall be from July 1,2005 to June 30,2010.
Its posted on Digital Commons
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 11, 10 8:45 PM
So does that mean that this is a new 5 year contract? 2010 thru 2015?
So how can we find out what raises have been agreed to for life of contract. Perhaps, like a balloon mortgage, the 2% raise this year could morph into something bigger next year....or not. Does anyone know facts about raisees in contract?
By baywoman (165), southampton on May 11, 10 11:43 PM
Davidf and baywoman - you are both asking the right questions. Teacher contracts will not be negotiated out in public...that never happens. It happens behind closed doors. Teachers received a hush-hush raise this year which will be renegotiated when the budget fails. The community must demand a say for the next 5-year contract. Here is the community proposal for 2010-2015...0%1%1%1.5%2%.
By noraisehbta (1), Hampton Bays on May 12, 10 10:15 AM
There is written into the contract a negotiation session set to begin in February 3 months ago--any discussion at HB school board meetings whether these discussions have taken place? The existing contract ends next month. There are no raises permitted beyond that date unless there is further agreement between school board and teachers union. Perhaps the reporter covering this story could do a follow up?
By davidf (325), hampton bays on May 12, 10 11:33 AM
At the past several board meetings, it was mentioned that the teachers union and district negotiated a one-year extension to the current contract, so it will end now on June 30, 2011 instead of 2010. This negotiation includes freezes in stipends, decreased raises, and increased health contributions. When I asked the same question, I was told negotiations must begin in the 2010-2011 school year for the June 2011 expiration.
By Baymen's Baymen (7), Hampton Bays on May 12, 10 11:50 AM
Thank you Baymen's Baymen. So it appears to be a one-year contract for now. I was told the contract contains a 2% raise for next year. But I didn't know if it was a one year or a five year contract.
Noraisehbta, were you suggesting what the community should ask for in the next contract? Are those what your figures mean? I certainly think a 0% increase this year would be reasonable all things considered. How would you suggest people be more effective in making their wishes known?
I like davidf's ...more
By baywoman (165), southampton on May 12, 10 12:55 PM