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Southampton School District Officials Plan 'Listening Tour'

Administrators and school board members agree to meet with community groups who invite them.

In an effort to foster a dialogue with parents and taxpayers, Southampton School District officials are offering to visit interested parties to present information on district going-ons and take questions.

Superintendent J. Richard Boyes, Ed.D., said in a message posted on the district website Wednesday that community members can choose the venue and the district will send representatives to meet with groups as small as 10 from community, civic and social organizations.

"Although we will bring information about programs and financial matters to answer your questions, we are more concerned about listening rather than presenting," Boyes said. "We will be happy to let you guide the agenda. We will then share your concerns and priorities with the entire board of education. Your input will be valuable as we plan the future of our school district."

Boyes said that despite past efforts to reach out to the community, like hosting public board of education meetings and special presentations, forming a community advisory committee, creating a district Facebook page and sending out newsletters, the district still sees low turnout at events and meetings and receives relatively little feedback through phone calls, e-mails and letters.

"Often, the same groups of people come to most informational events," he said.

Boyes considered that scheduled meetings are at inconvenient times, or that they fail to address specific interests.

"Our district mission and vision embrace community involvement," he wrote. "We want to try something different to improve your access to us and our access to you."

To request a visit from district officials, call at 631-591-4510.

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