The potential merger of the Tuckahoe and Southampton school districts is a proposal we not only hope finds majority support during next week’s vote, but from a regional perspective is a model looked at by other districts across the South Fork as a means of creating stronger educational systems for our children.
On the South Fork, in hamlets and villages we retain a deep sense of community pride, a spirit often tied to our own alma mater or to the schools our children attend as much as it is connected to our downtown. That sense of pride is not something we want to see lost, but it should also not trump what should be considered a far more important achievement — creating more competitive, efficient and successful schools for our youth.
The simple truth is if we are truly looking to create better schools for our children, when appropriate consolidation enables us to pool resources and expand opportunities, things like administrative salaries and the basic cost of doing business are shared across larger geographic boundaries.
In the age of the limitations founded under the two-percent property tax cap, we are surprised there have not been more proactive conversations about consolidation in other districts outside of Tuckahoe and Southampton. It is certainly a discussion long past due.