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Jun 19, 2012 9:59 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Re-Vote For Tuckahoe School Budget Passes, 256-222

Jun 20, 2012 10:30 AM

After a month of advocating for an amended $17.7 million spending plan, Tuckahoe School officials were relieved on Tuesday night when the revised budget was approved, 256-222—a narrow 34-vote margin.

In addition, a $465,000 capital expenditure to replace heating pipes at the school was approved comfortably, 298-182.

Once word of the budget’s success spread to the parents waiting outside the gym, where the ballot count took place, cheering echoed throughout the school’s hallways.

“Words cannot describe,” said Tuckahoe resident, parent and Parent Teacher Organization member Kathy Cervone. “Everybody worked hard. It was a good fight.”

Last month, voters rejected the district’s proposed budget of $17.8 million for the 2012-13 school year by a 47-vote margin, 275-228. Proposition 2 also failed along with the budget, but a lever on one of the polling machines—the one recording “yes” votes for the proposition—was not working properly. The malfunction might have contributed to the proposition’s failure.

The approved $17.7 million budget reflects only a 0.99 percent, or approximately $157,000, tax levy increase from the current 2011-12 school year, from about $15.82 million to about $15.97 million. Spending in the adopted budget is nearly $593,000 more than this year’s $17 million budget, but about $150,000 less than in the failed spending plan.

According to district officials, the budget and tax levy increases this year are the lowest in the last 10 years in the district, largely because of the New York State-mandated 2-percent tax levy cap, as well as increasing pressure to save taxpayer money in light of plummeting property tax assessments within the district.

A resident whose home is assessed at the average district value of $685,800 for 2011-12 paid about $4,530 in school taxes this year. The tax rate was $6.60 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Although the tax rate for next year could still change, district officials said the estimated tax rate for next year is $7.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. A resident’s home assessed at the new estimated average district value of $653,703 for 2012-13 could expect to pay $4,723 in school taxes next year, a $193 increase. The impact on individual tax bills would be more or less, depending on how much a specific home’s assessment changed.

Since the budgeting process began, there had been much confusion among Tuckahoe residents about the role the district played in affecting the tax rate. The debate between Tuckahoe residents on how to vote for the budget continued in front of the school Tuesday night before the ballots were counted. The Tuckahoe PTO and the concerned taxpayers rallied outside with bright signs and spoke with incoming voters about the importance of voting “yea” or “nay.”

“Don’t be misled—it’s only 0.99 percent,” one PTO sign said. “Vote ‘yes’ for the future,” another read.

On the western side of Magee Street, Douglas Unger and his mother, Donna Unger, quietly held up signs suggesting that taxpayers vote the budget down because of the possible 9.5-percent increase to the tax rate.

“I did expect the vote to pass and was very surprised that it was so close in numbers,” said resident Diane Sadowski, who opposed the budget. “And, of course, I will be ready for next year, and with greater force if no major changes are made.”

District officials have stressed in recent weeks that they have no control over where the Town of Southampton sets the total assessed value for Tuckahoe properties, and that their part of the equation—the tax rate—puts the district well below the tax levy cap. Despite their attempt to dispel any confusion, there was still loud opposition to the 0.99-percent tax levy increase, though it was the lowest increase on the East End.

But as the budget vote grew nearer and nearer, school officials felt confident that their budget would pass this time, since they had cut more than $100,000 from the previous budget.

“I’m relieved, very happy and very appreciative to the community for coming out to support the budget we worked very hard to present,” said School Board member Sharon Grindle.

School Board President Robert Grisnik agreed that the amended budget was on target and satisfied both the needs of the taxpayer and the needs of students. “If the budget failed, it would’ve been a disservice to the children and to the community,” he added.

“We have a wonderful school, great kids, terrific teachers and parents, and the Tuckahoe Common School is a gem in the Southampton community,” said School Superintendent Chris Dyer. “We need to keep our academic focus high for all children, and I sincerely thank the community.”

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The parents are so brain washed to think kids will be better educated by spending more. Test scores down and the budget is up what am I missing?
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Jun 19, 12 10:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
The old if they don't agree with me they must be brainwashed because I am so logical and intelligent. To answer your question I must return to wisdom I gained as a child courtesy of my first boss "son you don't know what you don't know.''.
Jun 20, 12 8:03 AM appended by Samuel Walsh
and don't get all fiesty, I look better in pink.
By Samuel Walsh (17), Southampton on Jun 20, 12 8:03 AM
Chief, how about paying attention to facts instead of hurling childish insults: The budget went up only .99% which is lower than inflation and far below the 2% tax cap.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jun 20, 12 10:03 AM
It sounded as inane and ignorant on the 19th as it did today.
By Stephen Maybaline (18), Southampton on Jun 27, 12 10:25 AM
If you had children in the school you would see how amazing they really are doing... State test scores aren't everything ... All of my kids are well above grade level and that is largely due to the amazing teachers we have. Let me know of school districts anywhere in the area that have decreasing budgets ..... They don't exist
By jmcorwith (8), Southampton on Jun 19, 12 11:20 PM
3 members liked this comment
We parents are certainly not "brain washed" as the first post suggests. My children are thriving at Tuckahoe and also performing well above grade level. The school presented a budget that was fiscally responsible with less than a 1% increase in spending. Its high time this community stop bashing this wonderful school and embrace it for the gem that it is!
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Jun 20, 12 6:50 AM
2 members liked this comment
Education - 1
Racism - 0
By Samuel Walsh (17), Southampton on Jun 20, 12 8:02 AM
David H. You are free to go to the school board meetings and learn the facts. The school in the village is in a different district! Our students cant go to that school. And if you are concerned about over crowded living conditions then contact town code enforcement! The school does not have any control over that situation if it exists. Nobody wants children living in crowded, unfit conditions but it is up to the town law enforcement to deal with it.
By tuckahoemom (19), Southampton on Jun 20, 12 8:49 AM
Why is it that when a bloated school budget PASSES there isn't a second vote??!!
By bigfresh (4593), north sea on Jun 24, 12 6:36 AM
2 members liked this comment
Parents out here on the East End do not have high enough standards for the education ode theiqv children. HMostr of their children will not le ave school equipped to compete
By Leon789 (50), westhampton on Jun 26, 12 8:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Like i said the parents are brain washed. If you really wanted what was best for little johnny you wouldn't be sending him toTuckahoe or most public schools. Ive been watching school budgets going up for 30 years and results going down. Of course grades and testing counts along with community service to get in to a good college. I hate to tell you Jim corwith if your kids arent performing on state tests they aren't above grade level. You must of got that reasoning from some teacher trying to justify ...more
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Jun 26, 12 9:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
Honestly - Off is the direction in which you should buzz. What planet are you on? You sent your evil spawn to school wherever you wanted to and we will send our beautiful, intelligent and kind children to school where we want. No matter where you live, you will be paying taxes to a school district. It doesn't mean you have any extra rights to puke up whatever nonsense pops into your head when it comes to the school and its students.
By Stephen Maybaline (18), Southampton on Jun 27, 12 10:21 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hey Stephen Maybaline I was wondering if you think I should just pay my school taxes and keep my mouth shut? Did you realize the US isn't even in the top twenty in math? Is that exceptable to you and your wife? This country is just going to except education as bad and will live with it. I give the teachers a C plus and most parents an f for excepting poor education and not teaching their kids how to have basic manners. As far as me running for a school board that is just ridiculous. They don;t want ...more
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Jun 27, 12 9:58 PM
Undoubtedly. Pay your school taxes and stifle it. You're all talk and no action. I challenge you to run for a school board. Ain't a soul on the planet afraid of chief1. Opinions are like apertures, everyone has one chief. Now all you have to do is prove your point. Find a non educated house-wife on a school board and you won't win the coveted Southampton Press/27East most ridiculous post of the day award. Better hurry, not much time left.
Jun 28, 12 5:47 AM appended by Samuel Walsh
quick note do david h. literature's portrayal of the little funny fella yelling "yeah, what he said" while standing behind the main protagonist has never been kind''. fyi.
By Samuel Walsh (17), Southampton on Jun 28, 12 5:47 AM
Actually I am action I will send my kids to Catholic school, and scrape the money together so they can learn respect and manners. No school boards no politics just learning. No school unions or brainwashing of kids as too how hard the teachers work. This country is losing it's comprtitive edge because people like you think your kids do no wrong and their education is fine.
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Jun 28, 12 7:32 AM
Part of a good education is realizing when it is time to volunteer. Chief it is time for you to volunteer for the local board of education. We need tough people trying to help the schoold educate efficently. These are tough times and eduation is under fire. It is time for communities to help schools operate and educate. Private schools are no better as they do the same brainwashing. Many of the teachers are trying to get public school jobs-what does that tell you? Dont demand results from people ...more
By tee2sea (16), Remsenburg on Jun 27, 12 7:49 AM
How can you say private school afre no better? Ivy league schools are filled with private school students much more than public schools. Maybe the young teachers are trying to get a public school job but most have been at the private school for years. Why would I volunteer when teachers are making over a 100k and administrators over 200k. No thanks
By chief1 (2786), southampton on Jun 29, 12 11:20 PM
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