By Tessa Raebeck
Coming as no surprise to those gathered in the Bridgehampton School gymnasium on Tuesday night, the district’s proposed budget passed by a margin greater than two-to-one, with 137 votes in favor of the 2013-2014 spending plan, 50 residents voting against it.
The $11,212,635 budget is up $516,271 from last year, a 4.8 percent increase. With 187 total votes, voter turnout also increased, up from 163 voters in 2012.
“We are delighted that the budget has passed,” said Nicki Hemby, school board president on Wednesday. “And we thank all who came out to vote and support the school district.”
The budget stays within the two percent property tax levy cap and imposes an increase of $46.59 for the average single family ($2 million) home within the district.
Proposition 2, which supports the continued funding of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center, passed with nearly identical results. There were 139 votes for the referendum and 48 against it.
The proposition allows for $160,000 in funding for the center, an increase of $35,000 from last year.
With an uncontested trustee election and budget that falls below the property tax cap, it was another proposition on the ballot — one that would increase transportation out of the district by 10 miles to allow district financed busing for students attending Bishop McGann-Mercy, the East End’s only Catholic high school which is in Riverhead — that everyone was watching for in Bridgehampton.
The measure passed, albeit by a smaller margin than the budget, 109-78. The referendum, Proposition 3, extends busing limits for district students who attend private schools beyond the state mandated 15 miles to 25 miles at a cost not to exceed $60,525.
Hemby was grateful for the successful work of her colleagues.
“I would like to thank the budget committee, that is made up of administrators, BOE members and community members alike, for assisting the board in being fiscally responsible to tax payers while ensuring our children get the best education we can provide,” she said in an email statement.
The uncontested race for the Bridgehampton Board of Education (BOE) saw three candidates vying for two full, three-year terms and one term that will last 13 months, as a result of Elizabeth Kotz’s resignation from the board last summer.
Newcomer Jennifer Vinski was the top vote-getter with 147 votes. A kindergarten inclusion teacher in the Southampton School District, Vinski has twin sons in Bridgehampton’s elementary program.
Lawrence LaPointe, an incumbent seeking a second term, followed closely behind with 143 votes. Two of LaPointe’s children have graduated from Bridgehampton and his youngest is currently in the seventh grade.
Both Vinski and LaPointe will serve three years, from July 1 to June 30, 2016.
Gabriela Braia came in third with 113 votes. Braia, who was appointed to the board last summer to replace Kotz, will serve the balance of the unexpired term, from May 21 to June 30, 2014.
“Gabriella Braia and Larry LaPointe have proven to be invaluable members and we are very excited for Jen Vinski to contribute, especially as she brings a teacher’s point of view to the board,” said Hemby. “Good things continue to happen for Bridgehampton School. I am eager to assist in keeping the momentum going.”