Last Wednesday, the Bridgehampton School Board of Education formally adopted a $10,696,364 budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The budget represents a 1.1-percent or $119,650 increase over last year’s budget and falls below the New York State imposed two-percent tax cap.
The tax levy, or the amount of money the school district will seek to raise through property taxes, is $9,734,246 — a $545,515 and 5.94-percent increase over last year.
According to Bridgehampton Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre and business administrator Bob Hauser, because New York State allows the school to subtract monies for capital projects like the ongoing middle school renovations, the construction of a new café and a window replacement project when calculating how much a district can spend under the tax cap, the budget falls just below the cap despite the 5.94 percent increase in the tax levy. As such, the district needs just a simple majority of residents who turn out on May 15 to vote for or against the budget and elect three residents to the school board.
Incumbents Lillian Tyree-Johnson, Doug DeGroot and Ronald White are all seeking re-election to the board of education. Newcomer Gabriella Braia has also joined the race.
According to Dr. Favre, a majority of the increases in spending this year are attributed to a rise in health and dental insurance costs. Since the budget advisory and administrative staff at Bridgehampton began hacking away at the tentative budget over two months ago, Dr. Favre said the district was able to achieve a low tax increase thanks to faculty and staff voluntarily agreeing to freeze their salaries next year at a savings of $100,000. Also keeping the spending in check is a 15-percent reduction in spending across most budget lines, $113,000 in savings in reduced transportation costs after a new contract was negotiated and a $166,000 reduction in BOCES costs.
The Bridgehampton School Board of Education will hold a hearing on its proposed budget on Tuesday, May 8 at 7 p.m.