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Dec 10, 2014 11:08 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe Parents Want Board To Explore Merging With Westhampton Beach

Dec 10, 2014 11:54 AM

After learning that the Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays school districts would be interested in taking in high school students from the Tuckahoe School District, many Tuckahoe parents are pushing school officials to go the way of a merger or long-term tuition contract with Westhampton Beach.

While Tuckahoe officials say they remain hopeful for a merger with the Southampton School District, which Southampton residents rejected for a second time last month, parents at Monday night’s Tuckahoe School Board meeting said they believe Southampton has sent a strong message.

“Southampton has told us, the community at large has told us, that they don’t want to merge,” said parent Jen Ferrantino. “We have to do something for these kids. I really would like to know that there’s a possibility that my son will be able to go to Westhampton.”

Tuckahoe and Westhampton Beach officials met last week to discuss their options, although Westhampton Beach Superintendent Michael Radday said the talks were “very preliminary.” Tuckahoe board members said on Monday, however, that they want to keep trying with Southampton, because the majority of Tuckahoe students already attend high school there, and Tuckahoe is already in an exclusive tuition agreement with Southampton, resulting in lower tuition rates.

Twenty-three Tuckahoe students do attend Westhampton Beach High School, however, as they had already started high school there before the first exclusive agreement was signed with Southampton two years ago.

In addition, because Tuckahoe and Westhampton Beach do not have a contiguous border, state legislation would have to be drawn up to allow a merger of those two districts.

Meanwhile, the Tuckahoe School Board met with the Southampton School Board in executive session Tuesday night to further discuss the future of Tuckahoe’s tuition arrangement with the Southampton School District. Tuckahoe Superintendent Chris Dyer said Wednesday morning that no agreements had been reached.

At Westhampton Beach, the out-of-district tuition rate is $20,851 per student, although the district offers a $500-per-student discount to districts with exclusive tuition agreements. Southampton charges $21,263 per student for out-of-district tuition.

Tuckahoe School Board member Dr. Daniel Crough said that while Westhampton’s lower tuition rate is appealing, he’s confident that the district can work a deal out with Southampton to extend its yearly contract agreement to a more long-term one.

“Would we consider switching over to Westhampton? Absolutely,” Dr. Crough said. But “there’s no easy fix,” he said. “The fix would be that Southampton proposes a four-year contract. [There’s] a year-to-year commitment. But we want a four-year commitment.”

Parents did not seem happy about the board’s answers, suggesting that the district needs to merge with another district sooner rather than later.

“Certainly, I would even suggest at this time that you would seriously consider a feasibility study with Westhampton. Time is becoming of the essence at this point,” said parent Laura Rissone. “I think a lot of people feel you need a new direction at this point.”

“I propose Tuckahoe grab the reins. We need a broader look at what’s going on,” said parent Phil Matthews. “Tuckahoe has the ability to create great students. Don’t sell that.”

Board member Harald Steudte seemed to agree with parents that Southampton has made its case, but he acknowledged as well that any merger with Westhampton would be complicated, not only because of the border issue but because students would have to travel farther to attend high school at Westhampton Beach—or even Hampton Bays.

“I think negotiating with Southampton is like negotiating with the police: You’re never going to win,” Mr. Steudte said. “At some point, you just say, ‘Hey, it’s a no,’ and move on.”

Ultimately, Mr. Dyer said Monday night, the board is going to continue exploring all of the possibilities. “There are a lot of options on the table,” he said. “We’re going to continue to look at the options. We want to do the best thing for our community, for everyone who lives here and works here. Give us a chance to get the information.”

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How can Mr.Steudte say that you can't win negotiating with Southampton? Until proven otherwise Southampton taxpayers have been subsidizing the tuition for Tuckahoe. Southampton is only charging Tuckahoe an avg of 26k per student while we are paying 38k per student in Southampton.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Dec 10, 14 1:31 PM
You don't really think that Southampton is educating Tuckahoe kids at a loss, do you? That's ridiculous April.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 10, 14 6:28 PM
I do. I hope I am wrong but the administration is doing nothing to prove that I'm wrong. Dr. Farina has said Southampton is not making a profit and the Tuckahoe tuition has stayed the same for two yrs yet our budget keeps going up. It's not adding up.
By April1 (156), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 6:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
If they weren't making a profit they wouldn't have strong armed Tuckahoe into taking away Westhampton as an option. This isn't rocket science.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 7:51 AM
What does denigrating the Southampton Police have to do with the issue?? Southampton Police are the best on the east end.Using a favorite word from Johnathon Gruber's vocabulary, the comment comparing the police to the school situation is just plain stupid! Shame on you Mr. Steudte
By bayview (160), Southampton on Dec 10, 14 3:28 PM
Hello, April!

We CAN'T win negotiating with Southampton! The writing is ON the wall! Voted no twice. You don't want us to be part of you. You'd like to take our MONEY if we pay, but you don't really want US to be a part of YOU. We get it. It's clear. IT IS TIME FOR TUCKAHOE TO MOVE ON. WE NEED PERMANENCY, NOT LIMBO.

By Shinnecock Hills family (59), Southampton on Dec 10, 14 9:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
Agreed! April thinks that if Tuckahoe pulls out, they will actually be $12,000 ahead for each Tuckahoe student pulled. OMG. Their per student cost will rise and with a 2% cap that goes mostly to the staff, they would need to start cutting. She would be in for a rude awakening if Tuckahoe board actually had the B- - - to send the kids elsewhere, by the time her kids got to high school she would be singing a different tune.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 10, 14 11:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
How did you come up with that?!
By April1 (156), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 6:10 AM
By Molly64 (15), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 6:48 AM
It's amazing how Lamm, and other Tuckahoe residents can twist the truth. The fact is Westhampton is about the same price per student as Southampton. No one has said that Tuckahoe students aren't welcome at the Southampton School actually people in Southampton have said the opposite. The only thing that will be accomplished in a merger is Southampton would forfeit 9 million dollars, and Tuckahoes taxes would be cut in half. The cost per student will not go down.
Why is Tuckahoe fixated with ...more
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 11, 14 12:43 AM
1 member liked this comment
Chief, Did someone really say that Southampton is so much more expensive than Westhampton Schools? The costs are similar. The WH education is superior. We got the message, but apparently our board hasn't, they are still trying to negotiate with Southampton and push for more merger votes. You and I agree on one thing, no more merger votes! Send the kids elsewhere. If we can't survive after a couple of years, the state can step in and make this decision for us, or dissolve the school completely.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 9:00 AM
2 members liked this comment
With the spectacular amount of debt that SH school district has, it's better for Tuckahoe to take a strong look at other, more fiscally sound school districts. SH district is in debt to the tune of $32,000 per student whereas Tuckahoe is in debt at about $4,000 per student. After property taxes, income from Tuckahoe is Southampton's second largest revenue stream with state aid not a large component of either school's budget. High debt and the threat of losing your largest stream of revenue after ...more
Dec 11, 14 6:44 AM appended by Molly64
Everyone wants their taxes cut chef!? You added the part about ''at Southampton's expense''. You started with ''Where are all the supporters of the merger now'' and are ending with ''go cook your pasta you bully''. You can't support a single thing you say and thus possess no credibility. It's insignificant what you write. It's not based on anything and you can prove any of it. It's has no value.
By Molly64 (15), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 6:44 AM
2 members liked this comment
Thank you for making my case Molly. Tuckahoe students can go to Southampton for basically the same price as Westhampton, and no extra debt. So what's the problem with them going to Southampton? The problem is you want your tax rate cut in half at Southamptons expense.
Dec 11, 14 7:01 AM appended by chief1
There are approx. 400 students at Tuckahoe with a budget of approx. 18,000,000. If you can figure out the math it would be cheaper to close the school, and pay tuition at Southampton. The facts are it would be way cheaper. If I was the teachers union I would start making concessions real soon before the state closes the school. Unlike what Lamm thinks the state has no right to merge districts.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 11, 14 7:01 AM
2 members liked this comment
I agree with you, close the school and tuition them out, but to the school of their choice, NO MORE EXCLUSIVE DEALS. Our taxes will go down AND Tuckahoe parents can decide which school is best for their child. This could be a great way to lower our taxes, and increase our property value because a district that offers choice would be more sought after.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 7:57 PM
2 members liked this comment
Tuckahoe should seriously consider WHB HS - better education for roughly the same cost. The community of Tuckahoe and Southampton feels like it's continuing to fracture.....
By windy1 (7), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 7:28 AM
1 member liked this comment
If that were the truth (in our case anyway) we would not be seeking an alternative like Westhampton, as it would not have real tax implications (our rates are similar). It's a FACT all over NYS that small districts like Tuckahoe will all be forced to seek merger partners. Clearly Southampton wants us only as a paying customer, not a partner. THAT Chief, is the issue. Send them to Westhampton this year, let's see how that goes. We need an alternative, Southampton is not part of the solution, ...more
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 11, 14 7:29 AM
2 members liked this comment
To Tuckahoe-
No thank you
From Westhampton
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Dec 11, 14 1:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
If only that were true, Golden Boy! But, despite being treated like second class citizens by Tuckahoe, WHB has the students in mind first! That is why the WHB school is 30 out the top 100 schools in New York! The Tuckahoe yahoos who tore families apart when they forced a crap exclusive deal with SH is now coming on their knees with their hands out to WHB.

Hey, Dan Crough, what did you get in exchange for forcing all kids to attend the same school as your kids? A slap in the face from ...more
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Dec 11, 14 5:23 PM
2 members liked this comment
Of course, NOW the parents want to send their children to Westhampton. NOW Dan Crough says "Absolutely" it should be considered. HAH!! Had they considered this in the first place instead of feeding that hand that bites them (Southampton, which would not survive were it not for Tuckahoe Tuition!) they would not be in this position.

Dan Crough and his mindless cohorts were more than willing to throw Tuckahoe students attending WHB under the bus, but now, facing a choice between closure ...more
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on Dec 11, 14 5:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Except for a few outcasts the only reason WHB is being bandied about is because the parents are hurt and temporarily looking for revenge. The public school system isn't too complex in our nation. You got to the school in the district in which you pay taxes. Should you want to attend a different school, you go and pay taxes in another district. It's not rocket science. What's odd is that the people that live in Southampton are fine with the tax discrepancies when it is in their favor. When ...more
Dec 13, 14 6:37 AM appended by Molly64
Not only are Tuckahoe parents paying 3x as much as SH residents to send their kids to SH High but they are carrying that school in every way possible including school government, academic achievement and every single one of their sports.
By Molly64 (15), Southampton on Dec 13, 14 6:37 AM
So Molly you're saying Tuckahoe is paying 3x the tuition to Southampton as opposed to another district. Tuckahoe is charged approximately 21k per student to attend Southampton High School, and you think Tuckahoe could go elsewhere for 7k? Your not being honest or your nuts.
Did you know it costs over 40k a student to go to Tuckahoe? The problem is Tuckahoe, but the administrators have all the Tuckahoe residents backfilled.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Dec 13, 14 9:33 AM
Sounds to me like she means we are paying 3x the taxes for the same education. You should be concerned that both our districts have high per student rates but you have a much larger school and tons of debt, which will go higher if tuckahoe pulls away your tax subsidies and you expenses rise with you new 9 million dollar admin bldg and the ongoing expenses that come with it.
By lamm (304), Southampton on Dec 13, 14 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment