Photo by Susan Wawryk
There were few surprises during Election Night at the Bridgehampton School with the community coming out in favor of a proposed $10.7 million budget for 2012-2013 by a two-to-one margin and incumbent school board members finding the same level of support.
The Bridgehampton School Board’s proposed $10,696,364 – a 1.13 percent increase in spending over last year, was approved 109-to-54. The budget did not exceed New York State’s mandated two-percent property tax levy cap due to a 15-percent cut in spending across departments and with faculty, staff and administration agreeing to freeze their salaries over the course of the next year to avoid larger cuts in programming.
“It feels wonderful,” said Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre after the results were read Tuesday evening. “There is always some worry about the budget passing, but I think we did right by the community and we were fortunate enough to find they supported us once again.”
The community also supported the continued funding of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center with $125,000 in funding over the next school year. That measure passed 109-to-53.
Incumbent school board members also found favor in Bridgehampton – a school district that in the last three years has evolved from a community debating the future of the Bridgehampton School to one that largely has the support of its residents.
Lillian Tyree-Johnson, the wife of Bridgehampton School basketball coach Carl Johnson and a resident for the last 20 years, earned the most votes, collecting 128-ballots in favor of her second elected term.
“It feels good because I believe we still have more to do as a board,” said Tyree-Johnson. “I think we are on a good path.”
Tyree-Johnson, who last ran in a heated contest divided by those who wished to keep the district’s high school intact and those who thought high school students should have the option to pay tuition to attend neighboring high schools, said seeing the communities support for Bridgehampton School through its approval of the budget was welcome news.
“The numbers were low in terms of turn out, probably because of the rain,” she said. “But it is nice to see that wide margin between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes. We really have a great community.”
Doug DeGroot – a parent and owner of Buckskill Tennis Club in East Hampton – earned 122-votes in Tuesday night’s election.
“It feels like we have been rewarded for doing a good job,” he said. “I think we have worked well together for the last three years, which included the search for our Superintendent. I am happy to keep that going.
Ronald White, a parent and real estate agent, earned a second term on the school board with 120-votes. Challenger Gabriella Braia, a parent who saw eye-to-eye with her fellow candidates on most issues and ran for school board as a way to become a more intrinsic part of the school community, earned 61 votes. Bruce Dombkowski, a member of the Bridgehampton Fire District Board of Commissioners earned one write-in vote.
The next meeting of the Bridgehampton School Board will be held on Wednesday, May 30 at 7 p.m.