Tuckahoe Passes Budget on Second Try

Budget includes a 3.47 percent spending increase and 0.99 percent tax levy increase.

Tuckahoe voters approved a revised school budget proposal with a 0.99 percent tax levy increase on Tuesday, a month after an original proposal with a 1.99 percent tax levy hike.

On May 15, the first budget proposal went down 228-275, and the school board and administration were sent back to the drawing board to come up with a budget that would be more palatable to voters. They were successful; the new budget passed 256-222.

“I’m very happy and very relieved — and very grateful to the community for passing the budget,” said outgoing School Board member Sharon Grindle moments after the results were revealed.

School Board Vice Chairman Dr. Daniel Crough echoed Grindle’s sentiment of relief, and added, "I think the voters were better informed this time around."

Outside the school building on Magee Street during polling hours, proponents and opponents of the budget displayed signs and called on residents to vote one way or the other. The critics pointed out that the budget includes a 9.4 percent estimated tax rate increase, and signs were also posted on County Road 39 stating that fact. Members of the Tuckahoe Parent-Teacher Organization, on the other hand, lauded the fact that the proposed increase in the tax levy — the dollars raised through property taxes — was just 0.99 percent.

Tuckahoe PTO Co-President Mindy Armandi said they organized their demonstration Tuesday because budget opponent Douglas Unger had protested outside the school during the May 15 vote, and this time they wanted to counterbalance his protest.

Unger and like-minded people did, in fact, return Tuesday to once again encourage residents to vote the budget down.

PTO member and budget proponent Laura Rissone said the hardest part of getting out the vote for the budget was educating people of the facts. Fellow PTO member Kathy Cervone agreed, and said she wanted to remind voters, "It's all for the kids."

Looking forward to the next budget cycle, Crough said that the administration has been planning a year or two ahead, and pointed out that the Tuckahoe School District is already , since Tuckahoe sends its ninth- through 12th-graders to high school is other school districts, at a cost.

The adopted 2012-13 budget came out to $17,654,252. The estimated new tax rate is $7.225 per $1,000 of assessed value, a 9.37 percent increase. However, tax assessments will not be finalized until the late summer, so the rate is merely a prediction for the time being. Additionally, the effect on individual taxpayers may be greater or less depending on whether their property assessments have gone up or down in the past year.

Had the budget failed, and the district was forced to live with a 0 percent tax levy increase, the School Board would have been required to slash another $157,258 in projected spending. The estimated tax rate increase would have been 6.10 percent.

Tuckahoe voters on Tuesday also approved a proposition to expend $465,000 from the district's capital reserve fund to replace heating pipes. That proposition failed when it was first put to a vote May 15, but a voting machine error was later discovered, so the measure was put back on the ballot. After failing 120-222 last month, the proposition was passed comfortably, 298-182 on Tuesday.

Propositions Yes No $17,654,252 Budget 256 222 Expend $465,000 from the capital reserve fund for new heating pipes. (No effect on tax levy)
298 182


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Earlier Tuckahoe Budget Coverage

Diane Sadowski June 20, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I agree with you Bill. You present an educated & concerned comment. I think that the "yes" voters are maximized at 256. They really gave it an all! Congratulations to the best of them. If significant changes are not made to the school, the forces to promote change will be even greater! Commitment for change prevails in the "NO" vote! And we know it can be at least 275.
Amy A June 20, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Our best bet is to attend the meetings between Southampton and Tuckahoe and pressure the Southampton School District to lower their tuition rate. Tuckahoe does not control the tuition rate, Southampton does, so all those who fought so hard for Tuckahoe's budget to fail will hopefully redirect their anger and help make this happen. While sending Tuckahoe kids out of Southampton for school is a sound financial idea, the Southampton School District and the community are very closely tied and it would be a shame if our kids weren't allowed to attend school in the community they live in. I know the parents don't want it, but there are many community members who have lived here for years and don't want it either. As far as which school is better, I'm not sure how much that matters, like most schools, a student will get out of it what they put in. I've seen kids excel at both locations.
David D'Agostino June 20, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I agree with Amy that Southampton should be maintained as a choice along side Westhampton as long as they are both charging the school the same. It is my opinion that the board should not be negotiating with Southampton as they are demanding an exclusivity without agreeing to bring their tuition in line with Westhampton Beach. This year 14 out of 24 students chose Westhampton (full disclosure, my son is among them) for a number of reasons including academic excellence. I believe the board should say to Southampton, "Either you match Westhampton Beach or we will give THEM an exclusive."
Diane Sadowski June 20, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Nice DAG! I like your determination and fact that you are not afraid to disclose who you are. I would advocate for your idea. And even promote it! Didnt know about the 14 out of 24 choice for Westhampton. The info is encouraging.
Faustina June 20, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Kathy Cervone quoted above "It's all for the kids." needs to educate the community paying these outlandish taxes how the purchase and maintenance of a house is "for the kids" and how bloated administrative salaries are "for the kids". And how people on the school board for decades are "all for the kids". This is not a damn reality show; this school's hands are deep in our pockets.


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