The Sag Harbor School District is approaching a critical time in its history, as technology changes the face of education and the competition for graduating students becomes greater. Add to this the search for a new superintendent to lead the schools through this time of flux, and the school’s board of education has quite a charge. More than ever it is a time for a group of men and women with a strong vision of the future.
This year there are four challengers for three seats on the board. At the same time, the public is being asked to vote on a $28.5 million spending plan that, while seeing a modest increase in spending, actually delivers a reduction in the tax rate.
This year’s group of candidates have all appeared dedicated and committed. We have been impressed with incumbents Theresa Samot and Dan Hartnett. We have watched as Mr. Hartnett has gone out of his way to build consensus on the board and consistently emerges as a voice of reason. His is articulate, pragmatic and someone we want to see back on the board.
While Theresa Samot’s presence as board president needs to be stronger and may be worthwhile reconsidering —Â as meetings become contentious a more forceful voice is needed —Â her experience on the board has been a plus. Her desire to focus on student achievement and long range goals for the district makes her a member we want to see returned to the board.
Both John Daniels and Mary Anne Miller have run strong and aggressive campaigns. Mr. Daniels, whose experience as head of building and grounds in Bridgehampton makes him uniquely qualified to speak on the physical plant.
But Ms. Miller has already distinguished herself as a dedicated member of the school community who is conversant with the “business of education”, serving on the school’s Budget Advisory Committee, and is as knowledgeable on school matters as many current board members —Â perhaps more so. Of note is the fact that, in the past year, she has attended every school board meeting except for two. A better record than some board members. She has our vote.
We also urge you to vote in favor of the budget. It is a conservative plan that maintains a strong educational program. About the best we can hope for in tough financial times.
After years of suffering beneath the weight of a negative public image, Bridgehampton School has begun to see its light shine. With a relationship with Dowling College and a career academy that is getting a lot of attention and positive reviews, the school is re-defining itself in great ways. You can count us among those who hope the school continues to prosper and thrive.
On Tuesday voters will choose two candidates who will help continue to steer the school in a positive direction. Elizabeth Kotz’ drive, understanding, intensity and passion have become more evident as she has matured as a board member. Practical, but not to a fault, Kotz has shown the ability to tackle issues realistically, but without losing sight of what is the heart of the problem. Of the four, she is the one candidate that we immediately believed needed to remain.
When Conti was elected to the board last year he brought the perspective of another faction in the Bridgehampton community concerned about the state of the school. Throughout the year he showed his affinity for long term planning, an issue not many on the board seemed ready to tackle.
Nicky Nemby has yet to miss a school board meeting for at least the past year, and is clearly devoted to the school, the teachers and most importantly the students.
But it is Karen Hochstedler who stands out among the three as the candidate willing and able to help move Bridgehampton out of the past and into the future. She has our vote.
The Bridgehampton school board has gone to great pains to produce a budget that shows a decrease in spending —Â a feat on the East End. If voters concerned about rising cost were to support any budget, this would be it.