This week brought news that Bridgehampton School Principal Jack Pryor will be resigning his position in the district effective June 30.
Pryor has been an amazing principal and champion for the school. He has always had the best interest of the Bridgehampton students and the community at heart, and was a part of a district wide effort to change the public’s perception of the school during his tenure. Chalk that up to the fact the district’s students have excelled in recent years while Pryor has gotten the word out about innovative programs in Bridgehampton — including its greenhouse and agriculture programs. Because of the school’s diminutive size, Pryor was also able to oversee tailor-made programs for students with special interests.
But a blessing can also be a curse, and it was, indeed, the diminutive size of the school that made the district consider ways to trim costs under the specter of the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap.
The fact is the Bridgehampton School district was top-heavy and just too small to justify the need for both a school superintendent and a principal. With Pryor’s departure, those two positions will now be merged into one — as they were years ago.
We applaud Bridgehampton School District for recognizing the need for this fiscally responsible move — and we see it as just the first of many East End districts that will soon have to work out similar realities for themselves. With the rising costs of district salaries and benefits — the highest line items in every annual budget — and with the tax cap in place, there will be no way to get around that.
Which means needs and priorities will have to be seriously considered in years ahead. We have small schools on the East End when compared to districts to our west and increasingly, administrative costs will play an important role in determining what programs will remain and which must be sacrificed. Down the road, will it be vital — or even realistic — for small districts to keep a principal and assistant principal in each school as well as a district superintendent? Is it something the district can continue to afford?
Only the community, population and time will tell.
In the meantime, we wish Jack Pryor the best as he heads on to his next endeavor. He has left quite an impression on the Bridgehampton School District and will be missed.