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Harald Steudte Seeks Return to Tuckahoe School Board

Former School Board member is running again.

After a decade-plus absence from the Tuckahoe School Board, Harald Steudte wants to rejoin.

Steudte, who will turn 62 on the day of the election, is self employed, running his own construction business. He has two adult children who are Tuckahoe graduates, Jennifer Parendo, a teacher, and Benjamin Steudte, a construction worker.

He served five three-year terms on the board, ending in 2001 when he declined to seek re-election. He said that several reasons have motivated him to throw his hat in as a candidate once again, and chief among them is taxes.

Steudte said that as a School Board member again, he will fight the Senaca Falls formula, the New York State rule for determining how much a sending district such as Tuckahoe must pay in tuition to receiving districts. Tuckahoe School District does not have a high school, so it sends its ninth through 12th graders to Southampton School District and Westhampton Beach School District.

He thinks the formula is unfair to Tuckahoe, and wants to negotiate and litigate to reduce the cost of tuitioning students, he said. Tuition can run from $23,000 for a typical student, to $65,000 for a student who needs a little extra help, to $100,000 for a student who needs "more than a little help," he said. “That’s almost as much as one instructor's getting — that’s absurd.”

Steudte is also concerned that students attending Tuckahoe School or having their tuition paid by the district may not meet residency requirements, and said it should be investigated to make sure everyone is legally and legitimately in the school.

“What’s interesting in Tuckahoe right now is we’re at 62 percent ESL, non-English speaking population,” he said, adding that it raises the question, “Are they all supposed to be there?”

Another concern is that the number of Tuckahoe students slated to enter high school is about to spike, thus spiking tuition costs, he said. “What’s really going to happen when that comes to pass?”

He expects that next budget season the district will need to pierce the state mandated tax cap implemented in 2012. “The taxpayer should really be prepared that next year’s going to be a major hit,” he said.

He said he wants to see the budget currently proposed pass and said the board did a good job adhering to the tax cap.

Steudte favors the Tuckahoe School Board increasing from three members to five, which he appealed for two years ago unsuccessfully. He said that there has been divisiveness on the board in recent years that he thinks could be avoided with more members.

Steudte said he is not decided on whether Tuckahoe should merge with Southampton School District, but thinks it should be studied. “[The possibility is] always going to be out there," he said. "The state is probably going to look at that very favorably.” He pointed out that assessed property values are higher in , so a merger would work out financially for Tuckahoe residents.

Steudte was a trustee on the Southampton Village Board from 1991 to 1999 and 2003 to 2005. He also served a five-year term on the Southampton Fire District Board of Commissioners after winning as a write-in candidate in 2005.

He has been member of the for more than 30 years and is a former youth baseball coach.

Steudte is looking to unseat , a two-term incumbent.

The election will take place in the gymnasium Tuesday, May 15, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Fred 'n Freeda May 10, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Steude is the last guy I'd vote for in this election. The Southampton Fire District ran a referendum election asking the Tuckahoe community if they should buy a $2.4 million piece of land for a new firehouse. The community voted "No" but the Fire Commissioners bought it anyway, ignoring the vote and voice of the people. Steude was one of the Fire Commissioners who made the decision to buy that land. You can see the land and the sign they put on it (to rub your nose in it) on North Sea Road, across from Tuckahoe Mower Repair. The sign says: "PROPERTY OF THE SOUTHAMPTON FIRE DISTRICT". Will Steude act like that on the School Board? Disregard the voice of the people? Not with my vote.
Mary Beth May 10, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Scapegoating Latino students is wrong headed and feeds an already pervasive bigotry. There is absolutely no evidence that there are students attending Tuckahoe that do not have legal residency in the district. The fact that Tuckahoe may be 62% ESL is a reflection of a change in demographics and nothing more
tuckahoebob May 11, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Anyone that votes for Harald Steude is making a huge mistake. His company has been sucking money from this community for years. $ 90,000 for a roof job that shouldn't have cost more than $ 30,000. No bid contracts being given. This guys bad news. Let's keep this school moving forward instead of more of the same old same old that brought it down in the first place
Vicki Greene May 11, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Regardless of Steude's suitability, the fact remains that Tuckahoe has no reason for being as a stand-alone school district and places a tremendous and disproportionate tax burden on a small number of homeowners. I am paying higher taxes on my 1100 sq. ft. home on .22 acres than people outside the district who live in much larger homes on much more property. And because my little house is not yet my primary residence, I have no vote and therefore no say in these abusive school budget decisions. The Tuckahoe school needs to be folded into the larger Southampton school district which will be fair to all.
Faustina May 11, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Why was Stude recently paid $8,000+ to install "a small window in a storage closet" at the school. School has been a cash cow for him for years. I agree with every word of Vicki Greene's comment. Fold this little country club school into the larger system.
Diane Sadowski May 12, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Hey, lets not get side-tracked. Lets keep focused on our school and the estimated 9.6% school property increase that we are about to face due to the Tuckahoe board relying on "traditions" rather than common sense.
Stephen Haslet May 13, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Funny, I don't recall anyone upset about the cost of the school when the student body was significantly more Aryan?
Mary Beth May 13, 2012 at 01:41 PM
That is an incredibly stupid response, Mr Haslet
Stephen Haslet May 13, 2012 at 03:15 PM
You know what they say Mary Beth, "You only catch flak when you are over your target''. Besides incredibly stupid, you have anything to back up your assertion that its not true? I come prepared with back up.
Stephen Haslet May 13, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Your use of scapegoat is laughable. Youthful colloquial platitudes and unfounded declarations based on nothing but merlot induced confidence are cute but do not apply.
Meadow Lane May 13, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Wasn't Steude yanked from office by the NYS Supreme Court? Before his term ended as SH Village Trustee, he was sued by Village taxpayers for misrepresenting that he lived in the Village (required to run for election). But the court found his property was located well outside village limits. He served 11 years, I believe? Was paid a salary as Trustee and now collects life time health insurance benefits? Not the kind we want in Tuckahoe. He probably lives in Westhampton anyway, given his record for distorting the location of his property's boundary lines!
Mary Beth May 13, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Blaming minorities is the standby tactic of the cowardly and ignorant.
Rose Way May 13, 2012 at 07:58 PM
What's Steudte wearing in this picture, a space suit?
David C May 13, 2012 at 08:44 PM
How does 60% of a school's attendees represent a ''minority"? You have been reduced to name calling and spectacular inaccuracies. You have even referred to 62% of Latinos, Non English Proficient and Economically Disadvantaged (NY State's phraseology). Anything over 50% is a majority. And, ''blame'' is your phraseology. You and CAC are the minority. And its ignorant to refer to the increasing test scores in the face of Tuckahoe's unique MAJORITY as anything but an amazing feat of dedication and care on the part of the teachers and the administrators. Class is dismissed Mary Beth.
Steve Haslet May 14, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Por favor, vote Sí en el presupuesto de la Escuela de Tuckahoe mañana. La votación comienza a las 7 am y termina a las 20:00. Nuestra escuela está bajo ataque y más que nunca necesitamos su apoyo. Apoye a sus compañeros de las familias latinas con un voto de SÍ!

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