Tag Archive | "Sag Harbor School District"

Yes on Both School Propositions 11.07.13

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Next Wednesday, November 13, residents of the Sag Harbor School District will be asked to weigh in on two propositions aimed at maintaining, and improving, facilities at both the Sag Harbor Elementary School and Pierson Middle/High School.

We believe both propositions deserve community support.

The first bond, which totals $7,357,132 in spending, will cost a resident who owns a home with a market value of $1 million less than $9 a month. For that price, the school district will be able to completely renovate the Pierson Middle/High School auditorium, which will not only increase safety, but also give the school adequate seating for assemblies, and allow the district’s performing arts curriculum to thrive. Shop and technology classroom spaces will also be improved, as will the elementary school gymnasium. A partial roof replacement at the elementary school, bringing the Pierson Middle/High School kitchen up to health department safety standards, reconfiguring parking at both schools.

The second proposition, which calls for $1,620,000 in funding, will allow for the creation of a turf field at Pierson Middle/High School, which would include a track, a baseball diamond, softball diamond and a small plaza for spectators. For a homeowner with a residence that has a market value of $1 million, it would cost a little more than $1 per month to fund.

The first proposition is a no brainer. It allows for significant upgrades to both schools that will improve health, safety and curriculum. The second proposition, while it may seem extravagant, would increase safety, save in annual maintenance costs, give the athletic program facilities on par with schools throughout the county and give community members a safe outdoor track to exercise on.

Ultimately we believe bonding for projects like this at a time of low interest rates allows our school district to move long overdue projects forward without placing too large a burden on the shoulders of taxpayers. Which is why we encourage people to support both propositions next Wednesday, November 13.

Sag Harbor Budget, Propositions Pass; Diskin, Hartnett, Kinsella & Tice Elected to School Board

Tags: , , , , ,


Heller_2013 Sag School Board Elections 5-21-13_1202_LR

Daniel Hartnett, David Diskin, Susan Kinsella and Chris Tice at Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor School budget vote and board election where the four were voted into office. Michael Heller photo. 

By Tessa Raebeck

Sag Harbor School District voters overwhelmingly approved the district’s proposed $35,508,622 budget for the 2013-2014 school year Tuesday night by a margin of over 2-to-1.

The budget was approved by a vote of 825-377.

“We are overwhelmed and most appreciative of the magnificent support shown by the school community,” said Dr. Carl Bonuso, the district’s interim superintendent, after the results were read Tuesday night in the Pierson High School gymnasium. “As a result, there are going to be some wonderful things that we can put in place for the children of this community.”

Turnout declined this year by 175 votes, with 1,202 residents turning out for the budget vote and school board election.

With a competitive field of candidates, the race for school board was especially close and six vied for four open seats.

Daniel Hartnett, a former school board member, had the most support, earning 741 votes. Hartnett returns to the board after serving two terms from 2005 to 2011. Incumbent Susan Kinsella narrowly earned the second most votes at 696. Hartnett and Kinsella will serve full, three-year terms with the board of education.

David Diskin earned 689 votes and board vice president Chris Tice earned 680 to win the two, two-year terms left on the board in the wake of the early resignations of Gregg Schiavoni and Walter Wilcoxen last year.

After serving one term on the board, incumbent Edward Drohan fell short of fourth place with 514 votes. Attorney Thomas Ré finished with 423 votes.

“Every one of the candidates were such wonderful candidates,” said Bonuso. “We knew no matter what the votes that we’d be getting a strong board.”

Smiling and joking with one another, the four winners were clearly excited as they posed for pictures.

“I am thrilled that I got as many votes as I did,” said Kinsella. “I did not anticipate that.”

Fellow board member Sandi Kruel showed her support for her colleague. “She will work very hard,” she said of Kinsella.

“The work wasn’t finished,” Kinsella continued. “I’m very grateful to the community for supporting me. I will work to keep education at the highest standards and to keep fiscal responsibility.”

Diskin, a parent and local business owner, is the only winning candidate to be elected without any prior experience on the board.

“Thanks everyone in Sag Harbor for supporting me,” said Diskin. “Thanks to my wife, Faith, and my family for helping me out.”

Tice likewise thanked the community “for supporting the budget vote and the other two propositions and sending a clear message that the school district is going in the right direction.”

“I’m excited about more time on the board to do good work for the school district,” she added.

Hartnett, who came out ahead by 45 votes — by far the largest margin among any of the winners — expressed his gratitude to the community and commended the other candidates.

“There’s a lot of work ahead,” he said. “I’m ready to get going but I feel the challenge. This community will face what we need to face to do what we need to do for the kids. It’s about the kids. The only reason I’m doing this is for the kids. I start with my family, but there’s so many kids in this community — that’s why we’re here.”

“I think we have a great board,” Ré said of his elected colleagues, who he congratulated after hearing the results. “I really had a great time running, I thought it was a lot of fun. There were many things I learned and, most likely, contributed to the discussion, so congratulations to all.”

Edward Drohan did not attend the closing of the polls in the Pierson gymnasium. In a letter to supporters sent Monday night, Ré expressed his regret that Drohan was not re-elected.

Drohan “has been a singular voice on many issues facing the board these last three years, always with integrity, fairness and frankness,” said Ré. “It is a loss of a great man and leader for all independent voices of our community.”

In addition to the budget, both propositions on the ballot passed with similarly wide margins. Proposition 2, which reaffirms the district’s policy to provide busing for children living within one and 15 miles from school, was supported 865-309.

Proposition 3, which will allow the district to spend $1.11 million on capital improvements, including repairs to the elementary school roof, the Pierson gymnasium roof and for new bleachers in the gym, was supported 910-268. That work will be funded by $240,000 from the 2013-2014 budget and an additional $873,600 coming from the district’s “Facilities Renovation Capital Reserve Fund.”

The administration was encouraged by the night’s results.

“We’re excited about the upcoming year,” said Bonuso. “Congratulations to all involved.”

Sag Harbor School District Likely to End McGann-Mercy Busing on BOCES Route

Tags: , , , , , , ,


On May 21, voters in Bridgehampton will decide whether or not to extend the district’s transportation policy to provide busing to students attending schools within 25 miles of the school district. In essence, this would allow transportation of students to Bishop McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead, the only Catholic high school on the East End.

Under state law, school districts are only required to provide transportation to non-public schools within 15 miles of the district. In order to change that policy, residents — not administration or school boards — must weigh in via a referendum vote on the issue.

And in 2010, the voters of the Sag Harbor School District did just that.

In 1976, Sag Harbor residents authorized an expansion of the school’s transportation policy, allowing students to be transported within a 30-mile radius of the Pierson campus. In 2010, with no students then attending non-public schools between 15 and 30 miles of the district, then superintendent Dr. John Gratto suggested the board roll back its transportation policy to the state mandated 15-mile limit. This was done in an effort to save taxpayers as much as $25,000 annually should students once again begin attending private schools within the 15 to 30 mile radius.

Voters agreed.

However, according to current school district administrator John O’Keefe, during the 2011-2012 school year Dr. Gratto agreed to provide students wanting to attend McGann-Mercy with transportation to the school on a bus the district was already sending west to Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

O’Keefe noted the decision did not cost district taxpayers any money as the BOCES bus is provided through the district’s own busing system and is not contracted through a private busing service, which can often charge per student.

Three students from the Sag Harbor School District have been using this bus to get to McGann-Mercy.

O’Keefe said this week that after referring the matter to school district attorney, Tom Volz, it appears as of next year the district will no longer provide this transportation option in order to conform with its existing policy.

If the school district decides to pursue providing busing to non-public schools beyond the 15-mile limitation, O’Keefe said it would have to be approved by district residents in a referendum vote.

“This is not set in stone yet,” said O’Keefe, noting Volz was still researching the case law on allowing students — at no cost to the district — to use the BOCES bus to attend a non-public school. “But we do not think we will be able to allow it for next year.”

Jonathan Glynn Withdraws From Sag Harbor School Board Race

Tags: , , , , ,


By Kathryn G. Menu

Jonathan Glynn has withdrawn his name from contention for one of four Sag Harbor School Board seats up for election on May 21.

Glynn announced his decision on Thursday morning, after being asked by Sag Harbor School District Clerk Mary Adamczyk for documentation showing his full time residence has been within the district for one year prior to the budget vote and trustee election — a district requirement.

This leaves six formal candidates for school board — incumbents Ed Drohan, Susan Kinsella and Chris Tice will seek re-election and former board member Daniel Hartnett, audit committee member David Diskin and attorney Thomas Re will also seek seats on the board.

According to Adamczyk, the deadline for petitions nominating candidates for office has been extended to Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. Those petitions can be obtained at the district clerk’s office.

According to a press release issued by the district on Monday, the district reopened the timeframe to submit nominating petitions because Glynn had chosen to withdraw his nomination.

“Earlier this month the District Clerk received nominating petitions from candidates interested in running for the School Board,” reads the school district release. “She examined those petitions and attempted to verify that each of the candidates met the qualifications to be a member the Board of Education. One qualification for being a member of the School Board is that the candidate must be a resident of the Sag Harbor School District for at least one year prior to the election day of May 21, 2013. When attempting to confirm that candidate Jonathan Glynn met this qualification, it was discovered that he only recently became a registered voter in Sag Harbor School District on March 26, 2013.  Based upon that, the District Clerk contacted Mr. Glynn and requested verification of his residency status. With the assistance of the School District’s attorney, a letter was sent to Mr. Glynn requesting documentation of his residency. Ultimately, Mr. Glynn decided to withdraw his candidacy.”

According to a letter sent to Glynn by Adamczyk, Glynn was registered with the New York City Board of Elections from a Bleeker Street address through March of 2013. Glynn’s license, according to the correspondence, was also only recently updated as of April 2013 to reflect his Sag Harbor address.

According to the letter, all of Adamczyk’s research was based on public information gathered from various bodies in an effort to establish Glynn’s residency, a requirement of the district clerk.

In the letter, Adamczyk indicates she had asked Glynn to furnish tax returns showing a Sag Harbor address, but was told those too would be registered to the Manhattan address.

She asked Glynn provide written proof of his residency, based on the advice of the school district attorney, in order to provide Glynn every effort to verify his status as a resident of the Sag Harbor School District.  Adamczyk asked he provide that documentation by Friday afternoon.

In a response to Adamczyk, Glynn states his 2012 taxes are legally extended and in process to be filed from his Sag Harbor home, and that he has shown he was active year round resident for the last three years, a homeowner for 17 years. He noted his name was under consideration to fill the board position left with the resignation of Walter Wilcoxen nine months ago, but given the situation, had chosen to withdraw his candidacy.

“As a concerned citizen of the community I think I have been and will be effective as a full time resident from outside the board looking in and would not want to take up any more of your time, your lawyer’s time, or mine responding back and forth to questions and accusations concerning my residency that are unfounded and without merit,” said Glynn. “My central position is to not waste resources whether they be mine at home here in Sag Harbor or yours at the school.  I remain consistent with that position.”

According to state education law, if a candidate withdraws a nominating petition, the time for filing petitions should be extended to the 15th day after the day in which a candidate withdraws their name.

“This was required even though there were more candidates who initially filed petitions than vacancies on the Board,” reads the district’s press release. “Anyone interested in filing a nominating candidate petition should contact the District Clerk Mary Adamczyk, at (631) 725-5300, x1411, or madamczyk@sagharborschools.org.”

 

 

Jack Pryor Resigns as Principal of Bridgehampton School; Principal and Superintendent Positions to be Combined

Tags: , , , , , ,


jackpryor

By Kathryn G. Menu

Wednesday night, it was expected the Bridgehampton School Board of Education would accept the resignation of Jack Pryor who has served as principal in the district for the last eight years.

His resignation will be effective June 30. The board of education plans to fold the duties of principal at the Bridgehampton School into Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre’s position in an effort to reduce the administrative costs in the district.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for eight years of collaboration as we have worked to make the Bridgehampton School a wonderful place to receive a quality education,” wrote Pryor, 61, in a letter sent to parents on April 23. “During those eight years, we started Advanced Placement courses, built a greenhouse, structured an outstanding music and arts department, increased test scores and improved our reputation in the educational community.”

The Sag Harbor resident came to the South Fork in the 1980s to work in the restaurant industry while teaching in Cold Spring Harbor. Pryor was an assistant principal in the Sag Harbor School District for four years before becoming the principal of the Bridgehampton School in 2005.

In an interview on Tuesday, Pryor said he had already met with faculty and staff about the decision, which he said was made after the school board made him a generous incentive offer to resign in an effort to merge the administrative positions.

He planned to gather students together in small groups on Wednesday to inform them of the decision.

“I really do feel that it was time for me to move on,” said Pryor on Tuesday. “We were able to do a lot of good things at this school and I think what I was able to do here had really reached a maximum.

Pryor said he specifically did not retire because he feels he has more to offer education on the East End in the future. He recently completed an educational doctorate at St. John’s University with a thesis “Rethinking New York State School District Organizations,” a paper looking at the 10 school districts on the South Fork, how they operate and how that efficiency can be improved.

In an email, on Tuesday, Dr. Favre said the decision to merge the two administrative positions came after recommendations made during a community forum on the budget, where many felt the school was top heavy on administrators.

“With that in mind, and in light of the fact that there was once a time when the superintendent/principal position was one position, [the BOE] decided to move in that direction, when Dr. Pryor indicated his interest in accepting the incentive the board was offering,” said Dr. Favre.

“During times such as these, we feel that going back to the basis and keeping our curriculum strong is important,” added BOE president Nicki Hemby, who said while this was meant to be a fiscally responsible move, it was also meant to support Pryor’s decision to move forward in his career after receiving his doctorate.

“Under Dr. Pryor’s leadership, Bridgehampton has developed into a school that people are talking about — with a strong curriculum, a great sense of family, amazing students that we can all be proud of,” said Dr. Favre. “His attention to safety, and unsurpassed commitment to the students and staff will be a challenging act to follow. Building needs drive the district needs, so the challenge will be the balancing act to assure that attention is sufficiently given to both.”

“Jack Pryor is a very dynamic man who, in my eyes has forged many wonderful relationships for the school with members within and outside of the community,” said Hemby. “As a parent his open door and mind policy has always been a refreshing perk in the Bridgehampton School.”

“He will be dearly missed,” she added.

Principal: Jermain Avenue Parking Lot “Unsafe” for Student Drop Offs

Tags: , , , ,


By Amanda Wyatt

Traffic and parking have always been tricky at Pierson Middle/High School, and the oft-discussed issue seems to be surfacing once again.

Last week, Jeff Nichols, Pierson’s principal, sent home a letter reminding families not to use the lot on the corner of Jermain Avenue by the gym, which he described as an “unsafe drop off/pick up zone.”

“Too much is going on in that lot and it’s not set up to accommodate [that much traffic],” Nichols said in an interview on Tuesday.

Instead, he explained, parents and others driving students to school should use the Division Street lot, which “goes a little smoother in terms of drop off and pick up.”

Since consulting with Sag Harbor Village Police on traffic flow a few years ago, the school has sent out several similar letters in an effort to keep students and families safe.

“The safety of the lots is always a concern,” said Nichols, noting that the board of education’seducational facilities planning committee “has been wrestling with the issue of the way lots are currently set up.”

According to Mary Anne Miller, a BOE member, the facilities committee will continue to discuss the issue.

“These problems aren’t going away,” she said this week. “It still needs to be a priority because it’s a health and safety issue. That’s simply what it is.”

In fact, in the week since Nichols sent out the letter to parents, Miller has personally noticed increased traffic — and congestion — in the Division Street lot.

But the solution to solving congestion and safety issues in the lots, she said, would be “multifaceted.”

“No one endorses big ugly parking lots. We don’t want to make them bigger; we want to fix the one we have,” Miller said.

Miller would like to see the Jermain lot delineated from the main road. She would also like to see more sidewalks and landscaping, which would not only be an “aesthetic improvement,” but would also promote walking.

And that, for Miller, is “the educational piece, which is culture change — what we can continue to do to rely less on traffic and spend more time biking and walking, keep our village beautiful and be better neighbors.”

John Shaka, a board member of Save Sag Harbor and a proponent of active transport, agreed.

Shaka pointed out that already, several East End municipalities have received federal Safe Routes to School grants, which can be used to fund improvements like new sidewalks and crosswalks near schools.

Community members in Sag Harbor attempted to put together their own proposal for a Safe Routes to School grant several years ago. But as Miller explained, the village sits in two townships, and neither municipality was willing to sponsor the grant.

Still, Shaka said he was “interested in resurrecting that grant,” and Miller said, “There’s no reason why we can’t keep that door open.”

“We owe it to the neighborhood to make it safer and more functional, and we certainly owe it to the families and the students to make it safer,” said Miller.

Sag Harbor to Join South Fork School Districts in Grant to Explore Shared Services, Consolidation

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


South Fork school districts are banding together for a second time in the hopes of earning a state grant to explore the possibility of school district consolidation and ways in which districts can work together to share services (and save some money).

After a consortium of East End schools failed to obtain a Local Government Efficiency Grant last fall, a number of districts — including Sag Harbor — are joining forces again to reapply for the same grant this year.

Last March, school districts and Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) applied for the grant, which could have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for a study on how they might consolidate or share services.

Despite strong support from New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele and New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, the districts learned in October that they had not been selected for the grant.

At Monday evening’s board of education meeting, it was announced that Sag Harbor School District was looking once again to partner with BOCES and other districts on the grant application.

“We would like to join with our neighbors and resubmit that application for funding for this grant,” said Dr. Carl Bonuso, the district’s interim superintendent. “We want to do research regarding how we could save money by working together with our neighboring districts.”

“We’re going to take some suggestions given us in terms of the last application and see if we can tweak it and be successful this year,” he added.

Board member Mary Anne Miller, who had been BOE president during the first application process, pointed out that the grant was not “specifically [for] consolidation. It’s just one of multiple options. That was actually not the focus of the grant; shared services was the primary focus.”

The board noted that the school district was not interested in forming one large school district on the South Fork.

As Theresa Samot, school board president, said in a separate interview, the board simply hoped to find ways of “saving taxpayers money,” and that merging schools was not on the table at this time.

According to Samot, Dr. Bonuso will be meeting with several other school district administrations for the first time later this week, after which time she and other members of the board would know more about the grant. She added that the board would update the community on the process at future board of education meetings.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board of education gave an update on the Dignity for All Students Act, anti-bullying and discrimination legislation that went into effect in July 2012.

Called “the Dignity Act,” the law prohibits discrimination based on a wide variety of factors —including race, sexual orientation, sex, gender, weight, disability and religion — in schools or at school-sponsored events. For the first time, faculty and staff in New York schools are required to undergo training on how to deal with bullying and discrimination, and they must also report incidents in a timely manner.

Board members noted that the district planned to hold additional workshops on cyber-bullying and other related topics in the coming months.

Gary Kalish, assistant principal of Pierson High School, serves as Pierson Middle/High School’s coordinator for the Dignity Act. He said it was important to let students “know that all of these different kinds of harassment and discrimination is unacceptable.”

“And it’s my job to take care of it, not yours,” he added.

According to Matthew Malone, principal of Sag Harbor Elementary School, one of the important parts about the legislation was identifying the need for ongoing education about what bullying is.

The Internet, added board vice president Chris Tice, has changed the face of bullying. For example, she said, students will use social media websites or seemingly harmless cell phone applications like Instagram – a photo sharing service tied to Facebook – to bully or harass classmates.

Tice added that education about technology and bullying needs to take place for elementary school children.

“That wasn’t around two years ago. Instagram is another form of communication and kids are doing it in school in most grades,” she said.

Parents, said Tice, also need to be educated about the kinds of technology out there being harnessed as a tool for bullying.

“Their parents have a responsibility there, but I bet most parents don’t even understand Instagram,” she said. “I think the technology is really what’s ramped up a lot of the bullying, even at young ages, and I don’t think we’re doing as much as we could be in that area.”

Sag Harbor Traffic & Transportation Forum Slated for Saturday

Tags: , , , , ,


By Kathryn G. Menu

As a child living in a house on Main Street, Jonas Hagen remembers practically growing up on the streets of Sag Harbor with his friends.

“We would literally just walk around all day,” said Hagen, an urban planner living in Manhattan who still visits his family in Sag Harbor on a regular basis.

Now, says Hagen, the idea of his sister’s children – who live in the village — making their way from Main Street or the local schools to Mashashimuet Park by themselves does raise red flags.

“Sag Harbor grew as a pedestrian village, so it is inherently pretty easy to get around, but I think in recent years with the increase in automobile traffic it has become more difficult to get around,” he said, “particularly for the more vulnerable populations – children and the elderly.”

It is for this very reason that Hagen has been tapped to lead a community workshop organized by the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor this Saturday. The Sag Harbor Active Transport Workshop will be held in the parish hall behind St. Andrew’s Catholic Church on Division Street from 1 to 4 p.m.

The workshop is open to the public and aimed at discussing both the problems, as well as creative solutions, to address traffic calming and transportation needs in the village. Topics will include traffic calming, bicycle lanes, sidewalks, Safe Routes to School programs, parking, public transportation, the use of public and green space and any other related issues residents want to discuss.

“The idea is to get people together and hear about the concerns they have about getting around our village,” said Hagen.

Elizabeth Mendelman, a member of the Springs School District Board of Education, will also speak at the meeting at 3 p.m. That district just secured over $580,000 in Safe Routes to School funding for sidewalks and other improvements.

Championing initiatives in Sag Harbor like Safe Routes to School and others that promote walking and biking, and help reduce the amount of traffic in village is hardly new.

In 2007 and 2008, parent Ken Dorph spearheaded a movement to persuade Sag Harbor Village, and later Southampton Town, to seek out Safe Routes to School funding. The program would have provided for improvements to make biking and walking to Sag Harbor Elementary School and Pierson Middle/High School easier — and safer — for students.

However, both initiatives failed to find funding support from local municipalities, which was required in order to apply for the grant.

Locally, in addition to the Springs School District, which was awarded funding through an application made by East Hampton Town in January, Southampton and Tuckahoe school districts have also been the recipients of Safe Routes to School funding.

Safe Routes to School is a national grant program launched in 2005 by Congress. In New York State, the Department of Transportation administers the program, which has provided over $1.15 billion in funding nationally.

Safe Routes to School, however, will not be the only topic on the agenda during Saturday’s brainstorming session. According to Save Sag Harbor board member Susan Mead — who worked with fellow board member John Shaka on organizing Saturday’s event — the organization views the meeting as the first part of a serious initiative to develop a comprehensive traffic calming and transportation plan for Sag Harbor.

“John and I both live on busy streets — Hampton and Main — and we noticed the increase in traffic this last summer,” said Mead. “We really want to focus on issue identification. Different streets have different issues, and of course the walk to school program is something we also have to take a look at because it is important we take an integrated approach to slowing down cars, while also aiding pedestrians and cyclists.”

Mead said for Save Sag Harbor, taking a serious look at traffic and transportation issues in the village was a natural progression from its focus on the business district and development.

“Our goal is keeping Sag Harbor in a healthy balance,” she said. “And addressing transportation and traffic issues is a part of keeping the village functional.”

Sag Harbor School District’s State Aid Cut

Tags: , , , ,


By Amanda Wyatt

In the midst of preparing its budget for next year, the Sag Harbor School District may potentially hit a roadblock with the recent announcement of a sizeable reduction in the aid it receives from New York State.

During a budget workshop on Monday evening, John O’Keefe, the district’s business administrator, presented the board of education with a preliminary estimate of anticipated state aid based on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently released executive budget for 2013-2014.

Next year, it looks as though Sag Harbor may receive $1,308,882 in aid, compared to 2012-2013’s base year aid of $1,440,778. This represents a cut of 9.15 percent or $131,896, said O’Keefe.

“This isn’t just Sag Harbor,” he noted. “This is any district that has a high wealth ratio…There are dramatic drops across the board and throughout the island, as well, depending upon the wealth of the district.”

However, it appears as though Sag Harbor stands to lose more funds than many other districts on the East End. For example, Bridgehampton could face a reduction of $46,529, while Southampton and East Hampton may see reductions of $42,397 and $77,769, respectively.

“So it’s something we’ll have to keep an eye on as we go forward in the budget process,” O’Keefe said. “[But] there’s no sense of panic or anything yet. We’re budgeting very conservatively, both on the revenue side and on the expense side.”

However, he added, these projections were based on incomplete data, and the final state budgets are usually “more generous.” By April, the district should know the final amount of aid it will receive.

The district’s new athletic director, Todd Gulluscio, and Montgomery Granger, the director of buildings and grounds, were also on hand to present the budgets for athletics and facilities, respectively.

Gulluscio noted that this year, Sag Harbor has 61 athletic teams — 35 of which are hosted by the school — and approximately 373 students participating in sports.

The proposed athletic budget for 2013-2014 is $855,607.49, which is a $17,107.99 or two percent increase from this year’s budget. Gulluscio said that this is partially due to an increase in salaries, including the shift from a part-time to a full time athletic director.

According to Granger, the district plans to spend $385,500 in fuel, electricity and gas, which is $24,812 or six percent less than the current energy budget.

Some of the money saved, he said, may be put into improvements in security, including cameras, door sensors and a buzzer system.

The operations budget for next year is $597,300, which is $44,253 or 6.9 percent less than this year’s budget. The maintenance budget is $495,500, which is $31,051 or 5.9 percent less than this year’s budget.

Granger also gave an update on the district’s capital projects, which are all fully funded. The district has $249 left over from construction of the elementary school’s playground, and a balance of $56,950 for energy conservation. There is also $90,400 remaining for health and safety projects and $500,000 for energy management (HVAC) projects.

The next budget workshop will be held on February 11.

Bridgehampton School Earns Middle States Accreditation

Tags: , , , , ,


By Amanda Wyatt

After years of intensive study and work, the Bridgehampton School has been accredited for the first time by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

At the board of education’s (BOE) most recent meeting, Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre proudly displayed the school’s certification, which will last for the next seven years.

“Being accredited is validation that the Bridgehampton School Community is on the right track with regard to curriculum alignment, student achievement and recognizing our strengths, as well as our needs,” said Dr. Favre in an interview this week.

Nicki Hemby, board of education president, echoed Dr. Favre’s sentiments in a separate interview.

“I am so delighted by the accreditation and I am grateful for the support and enthusiasm from our parents, students and staff members,” she said. “The entire community of Bridgehampton should be very proud.”

Hemby expressed her gratitude to Dr. Dianne Youngblood, former school superintendent, and Elizabeth Kotz, former board president, who had initiated the accreditation process. She also thanked Dr. Favre “for helping us see it through.”

The Middle States Association (MSA) is a non-profit organization that evaluates and accredits schools, colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic region. The decision to be accredited by MSA or any other organization is voluntary, and helps to confirm the quality of the participating educational institutions, according to Dr. Favre.

Dr. Favre explained that accreditation is “a self-study process that begins with a survey of staff, students and stakeholders, and ends with a plan for forward movement.”

All faculty members worked on self-reviews for accreditation. Some even served as internal coordinators, which Dr. Favre referred to as “the cheerleaders for the process. They assure data collection, and assist in assuring input from all stakeholders.”

Parents, board of education members, community members and even students were involved in the accreditation process, as well.

Last May, the school submitted its lengthy self-study to MSA. The full report is available on the school’s website under the “Strategic Planning Counsel” tab.

But as Dr. Favre noted, the accreditation process was a time-consuming one.

“It requires data-based decision making, as well as consensus building, but it is time well spent,” she said. “It requires us to visit the 12 standards for accreditation, determine where we are within each standard, and then prioritize what needs our attention, in what order.”

She added the standards for accreditation ensure quality in terms of the school’s mission and philosophy, governance and leadership, finances, facilities, and health and safety, among other things.

As Dr. Favre explained, accreditation is a cyclical process.

“We are accredited for seven years, and will make a report at mid-year, and then at about the five year point, we will begin the process again,” she said.

“The work of the self-review process is ongoing, goal oriented, and data driven,” said Dr. Favre who added that accreditation means “Bridgehampton has what it takes to meet and exceed our goals.”

“This is validating to a small staff that works continually to assure that we educate the whole child,” she said. “Considering all of the various pieces to accreditation assured that we didn’t miss anything.”