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Nov 26, 2013 12:04 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Tribe Considering All Options For Educating Students Next Year

Nov 30, 2013 8:19 PM

Offiials for the Shinnecock Indian Nation are exploring all options for educating its students next fall, after a 10-year exclusivity agreement with New York State to send all students to the Southampton School District expires in the spring.

On Tuesday night, tribe officials planned to meet to discuss several education related topics for the tribe’s students, including the contract, and are planning to discuss either renewing ties with the Southampton School District—or switching to the Tuckahoe School District, a kindergarten through 8th grade school which would welcome the students and the tuition they would provide the district. It is unclear where Shinnecock high school-age students would attend school.

Whichever district wins the contract with the tribe would benefit from substantial financial aid from New York State, money that could significantly affect the budgets, and ultimately the tax rates, for both school districts.

This week, a representative for the education commission, Ken Coard, could not say if the tribe was leaning toward either district, but confirmed the tribe is meeting this week to discuss the issue. “I can’t confirm what we will do,” he said. “But we are going to explore every option.”

This week, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said while he knows the 10-year accord between the state and the tribe is set to expire at the end of the school year, he did not know of any ongoing negotiations between Tuckahoe and the tribe. However, he noted that it would be feasible for an open agreement between the tribe and both school districts, where students could choose which school district to attend.

If an open agreement were to happen, the state would pay each district based on the number of students attending. If four students were to switch from Southampton to Tuckahoe in each grade level, Tuckahoe would gain approximately 40 students, and could be looking at an estimated $800,000 in revenue from the state—money that would be pulled from the Southampton budget, officials have confirmed.

“I would guess that an open agreement would be a possibility,” Mr. Thiele said. “I have never seen that with an Indian nation, but this is a situation where a feeder school district could negotiate an agreement.”

However, Mr. Thiele said, in order for the contract to be altered, the switch would have to be approved by New York State, and both boards of education for Southampton and Tuckahoe, making the feat nearly impossible.

Under the terms of the current contract, according to Southampton School Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina, all 120 of the Shinnecock students attend the Southampton School District from kindergarten through high school. In return, the district received $3.8 million in tuition from New York State.

This week, Dr. Farina said the district has not started talks with tribe leaders but expects to do so soon.

Tuckahoe Superintendent Chris Dyer was not available for comment this week.

The terms of any agreement reached between the tribe and either school district will also hinge on pending merger discussions between Southampton and Tuckahoe. On November 15, both districts released a joint statement that they are moving forward with merger discussions, less than one month after voters from the Southampton district vetoed the merger due to lack of information and an increase tax rate for residents. Tuckahoe residents overwhelmingly approved the measure.

This week, Tuckahoe district officials met with Mr. Thiele and representatives from Senator Kenneth P. LaValle’s office to discuss possible legislative options for easing the tax burden on Southampton taxpayers to facilitate the merger. If legislation is enacted in January, it would be possible to bring the merger back before the taxpayers of both district as early as this spring for the annexation to take place by July 1.

“We discussed four or five potential proposals,” Mr. Thiele said on Tuesday morning. “We have agreed to go back to our staffs in Albany and to the State Education Department to look at what might be the most feasible way of doing that. Our goal would be to get that done as part of the state budget process, which must be complete by April 1. Then it will be up to the districts on how to proceed.”

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We pay for the Shinnecocks education for what reason again? I thought we were all equal under the constitution.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Nov 26, 13 3:28 PM
Crack open a history book and answer the question for yourself
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Nov 26, 13 5:42 PM
Next time your ethnic group is the target of a near total genocidal effort, maybe you'll understand.
Nov 26, 13 11:32 PM appended by Mr. Z
Do yourself a favor, and pick up a book called "Black Like Me", by John Howard Griffin. You may find yourself enlightened. Or don't. The latter is what I would expect of you.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 26, 13 11:32 PM
So when it comes to paying cigarette taxes the Shinnecocks claim they are a sovereign nation and don't have to pay the state. So why is the State picking up 4 million in their children's education costs.I wonder if the reservation pays any school tax to Southampton schools??????????????
By bonac refugee (8), east hampton on Nov 26, 13 7:15 PM
Do they have to declare a particular school district? The reservation is in both Tuckahoe and Southampton District. It would seem that the families should have a choice where to send their children rather than be forced through an exclusivity agreement.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Nov 27, 13 6:44 AM
You mean in the same way that Tuckahoe students were forced to attend SH High School through an exclusivity?
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Nov 27, 13 8:03 AM
Yes, but this is an article about someone other than you.
Nov 27, 13 12:08 PM appended by KevinLuss
But I do appreciate your predictability.
By KevinLuss (356), SH on Nov 27, 13 12:08 PM
But it is about you? Your arrogance is as predictable as your hypocrisy
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Nov 27, 13 2:06 PM
now children . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Nov 27, 13 2:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Touche, Progressnow!

The Shinnecocks are very well funded for their education, and that's a good thing. But thy live in a Hamptons ghetto where the socioeconomic conditions are ghastly and third world like in tahe midst of a very affluent community. The only way out of their ghetto is through superior education the big bucks they get can buy.

They should simply allow their kids to go to any superior school in the Hamptons that their funding can afford for only through education ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 27, 13 11:46 PM
Touche, Progressnow!

The Shinnecocks are very well funded for their education, and that's a good thing. But thy live in a Hamptons ghetto where the socioeconomic conditions are ghastly and third world like in tahe midst of a very affluent community. The only way out of their ghetto is through superior education the big bucks they get can buy.

They should simply allow their kids to go to any superior school in the Hamptons that their funding can afford for only through education ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 27, 13 11:47 PM
This is a valid point. As a Tuckahoe parent, my child is potentially being pulled out from WHB his senior year - therefore if you want the Shinnecock to have choice, then at the very least it should be the same for the tuckahoe students, especially the ones that are there presently - they should not be forced to go to Southampton in the event of another merger try. Why is no one addressing the "grandfathering" issue? Linda Purrazzella
Dec 2, 13 12:46 PM appended by parent656
I mean, the students presently attending WHB...
By parent656 (6), Southampton on Dec 2, 13 12:46 PM
Progressnow makes a completely valid point. Of course this article pertains to her and all Tuckahoe residents.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Nov 27, 13 1:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
Progress making friends again I see. Never would have guessed.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Nov 27, 13 6:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
$31,666 a student?
By Qguy (27), quogue on Nov 27, 13 10:49 PM
Why not just open a school on the rez? With that much money each student could have a private tutor. Of course they would miss out on paying the $100,000+ annual pension costs of former admin and other staff.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Dec 3, 13 7:26 AM
I'm concerned. The fact that individuals posting comments in regards to this issue are clueless as to why the state would pay the tuition for Native Americans is very disconcerting. I wonder if these individuals attended Southampton Public Schools. If so, there is cause for questioning what has been going on with educational system in Southampton. If not, Thank God! Perhaps there is a proper and alternative forum to post comments void of thought!
By Kendogz (8), Southampton on Dec 4, 13 8:24 AM
2 members liked this comment
The reality is we can't afford to pay for our own kids with our tax dollars. Every group in this country wants everything for free. We have 50 million on welfare, millions on Medicaid, and Medicare. Retired municipal employees getting benefits most can only dream of. Research what happened in Detroit with their municipal bankruptcy. The first bankrupt state will be Illinois than it will progress to states like NY, CA, and NJ. It is fine to help people, but when you don't have the resources how do ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 4, 13 10:15 PM
New York State pension is fully funded, by law. That's why each new policeman costs millions in town funding, because the money goes into a state pension fund that is just about 100% GAAP funded. Agree Illinois is a disaster, and Puerto Rico is to the US as Greece is to the EU.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Dec 5, 13 3:45 PM
Fully funded based on fuzzy math. Can you also tell me how the pension is protected by the state constitution. We know that isn't true because bankruptcy is a federal issue, and the Detroit issue confirmed that. As far as the Shinnecocks go they have cigarette shop owners driving 150k sports car while the rest of the reservation starves. Spread the wealth, help your brothers, charity begins at home just keep your hand out of my wallet.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 5, 13 6:16 PM
you are wrong that NY State pension system is underfunded, but perhaps correct in there may be some fuzzy stuff. Alan Hevesi went to jail over taking bribes to place certain funds with certain managers and the NY Times recently reported:
"Public pensions in New York State have some of the most reliable funding in the country, but what happens to the money once it is in the pension system can be less clear-cut.

Now, state financial regulators have subpoenaed about 20 companies that ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Dec 6, 13 5:03 PM
Hmmmm..... $150,000 cars and others starving.. Sounds like a microcosm of society as a whole. What groups are you talking about?? last time I checked there a specific group that makes up 70% of welfare and medicaid! You are right charity begins at home. Give back the land that was taken (ie. charity) then we can start fresh. I'd rather you just thank the Native Americans for their charitable contributions; land and Lives and tell your story walkin'. Have you ever hear of genocide???
By Kendogz (8), Southampton on Dec 19, 13 2:23 PM
Kendogz, where would we stop with this charity? How far would we go back in the history of man to take from the conquerors and give back to the conquered? Our past is littered with this type of human behavior. Almost every race would have some type of claim as far back as we would be able to document.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 19, 13 3:10 PM
Pure crap Phil
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 20, 13 12:51 PM
Yep, that's it Phil.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 20, 13 2:34 PM