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Story - Education

Apr 20, 2010 4:18 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Montauk School may cut after-school and summer programs, busing, to close budget gap

Apr 20, 2010 4:18 PM

Summer school, summer music and after-school programs and clubs will all likely be slashed from the Montauk School’s budget as the district’s School Board attempts to reduce what had been projected as a 14-percent tax hike for the 2010-11 school year.

The board is expected to adopt a final budget next week, which will be presented to voters in May.

“The economy is in shock. When the body goes into shock, it pulls everything in to save its vital organs. That’s what we’re doing here,” said Montauk Superintendent Jack Perna at the district’s second-to-last budget workshop on Tuesday, April 13, as he unveiled suggestions to cut $230,000 worth of programming from the district’s already tightened budget. With those cuts, the new budget hovers at about $18 million, which remains about 9 percent above current spending levels.

Summer school, which costs the district $69,000 per summer, has been cut for all but special education and the most at-risk kids. Montauk Afternoons, an after-school program similar to Project MOST in East Hampton and Springs was also slashed, saving the district $23,800 next year. Mr. Perna said that he plans to contact Project MOST to see if that program, which is a nonprofit that receives state and town funding, can operate next year in Montauk as well. He added that many of the cuts would be temporary ones that he hopes the district will be able to restore in 2011.

Mr. Perna also suggested that the board cut $18,900 for extra help and $12,600 for student mentors.

He said that he believed his school’s teachers would pull together and provide extra help even if they did not receive compensation for the work.

Montauk has been offering child care from 7:15 a.m. until the start of the school day at 8 a.m., for several years, since parents began dropping their elementary school children off early at the doors of the school because they needed to get to work on time. Up to 30 kids use the program each morning, which costs the district $9,000 per year. That program is also on the chopping block.

“They should not be dropping them off,” said School Board president Diane Hausman. “We try to accommodate everybody, but we get so accommodating and it’s a bad year.”

The board also agreed to eliminate a late bus that takes students home from extracurricular events in East Hampton and a bus to fall sports practice sessions in East Hampton that runs the last two weeks in August, for a savings of $33,000.

The board also agreed to cut the district’s eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., from five to three days and to bring fewer teachers on the trip, eliminate the after-school challenge and basketball clubs, the surf club and the ESL club. Nature Club will also be cancelled, though the district hopes to help students take advantage of nature programs at Third House in Theodore Roosevelt County Park. The summer music program has also been cut, though board members said that the district will still loan students instruments and sheet music during the summer.

The district also plans to appropriate $150,000 that had been held in reserve for a boiler repair project to help offset a tax hike.

After those changes are made, the district will have whittled a 10.3 percent increase in spending to 8.9 percent and will shave its projected tax increase from 14 percent to 11.5 percent.

Mr. Perna was quick to point out that more than half of that tax increase is a result of the increased tuition charges for Montauk students who attend East Hampton High School.

Montauk will spend $5.2 million to send 160 students to East Hampton High School next fall, and needs to pay $662,800 in back tuition to East Hampton for the 2008-2009 school year.

“Unfortunately, because of the East Hampton issue, our children are affected by this tax increase,” said Ms. Hausman.

Third grade teacher Colette Clancy told the board Tuesday that many teachers are willing to spend the next week whittling supply lines from their budgets before the board holds its next meeting on Monday, April 26, at 4 p.m. The board will adopt a final budget that night.

Montauk’s annual budget hearing will be held on May 5 at 7 p.m. and will be preceded at 6 p.m. by a regular School Board meeting.

Amagansett Budget

The Amagansett School Board also adopted an $8.3 million spending package for next year on Tuesday, April 13. Taxes in Amagansett are expected to climb by 4.5 percent, to an estimated $24.95 per $100 of assessed valuation.

The Amagansett School will hold a budget information session on Tuesday, May 11, at 6:45 p.m. in the school library.

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Montauk like Springs is being screwed over by the East Hampton School District, and its outrageous tuition fees. It is time for Montauk and Springs to build their own joint high school, and say goodbye to the snobs on Long Lane.
By reality 101 (137), East Hampton on Apr 23, 10 8:33 PM
Its interesting that the Montauk School Board would cut so much from the children yet not ask the union for any givebacks. They need to be remember they are elected by and to serve the taxpayers and resedents not the teachers union.
By montaukman (98), easthampton on Apr 30, 10 6:44 AM