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Southampton, Tuckahoe School Districts to Examine Merger

Districts will hire consulting firm to study the feasibility of consolidating.

With Tuckahoe School District looking to curb costs to taxpayers, and Southampton School District not wanting to lose all of Tuckahoe's ninth- through 12th-graders to another receiving district, the two school districts now plan to study merging into one.

Tuckahoe School District revealed the districts' intention Wednesday morning in statements to the school faculty and to the media.

The districts have had a close relationship for decades, since Tuckahoe School District does not have a high school of its own and therefore sends most of its older students to Southampton High School. But other local school districts, namely Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays, charge less for out-of-district tuition, which could translate to a lower school tax rate for Tuckahoe residents. Southampton does not want to lose the Tuckahoe students and the income they provide, as it could result in slashing programs from its budget that Southampton students enjoy.

"We are pursuing the feasibility study to maintain continuous improvement in our academic programs at a similar or reduced cost to our taxpayers," wrote Tuckahoe Superintendent Chris Dyer in an email to faculty and media. "The feasibility study’s purposes are to gather information, to research and provide facts to share, and to make recommendations to the two Boards."

According to a statement from the Tuckahoe School District, while many have speculated about the advantages and disadvantages of a merger, the only way to obtain accurate, objective information is through a study by a neutral third party.

  • RELATED: Should Tuckahoe and Southampton School Districts Be Merged?

Dyer noted that a merger was discussed between the districts informally in 2008, and the boards met recently and discussed the tuition rate Tuckahoe is paying to Southampton.

  • RELATED: Tuition at Center of Southampton - Tuckahoe Talks

To find a consulting firm to complete the study and "determine the academic and financial advantages that a merger," both districts will release a request for proposal Wednesday, according to the Tuckahoe statement.

The districts expect to hire a firm in November, with a projected study completion date in January.

Tuckahoe School District noted that just because a study is planned, it does not mean a merger is inevitable; rather, it will be the basis for future decision making.

Dyer invites those interested in the matter to attend the Oct. 22 Tuckahoe School Board business meeting.

David D'Agostino October 17, 2012 at 04:06 PM
An absolutely awful idea for high school students. Westhampton Beach already charges Tuckahoe a much lower rate per student than Southampton and Westhampton outperforms Southampton academically. "The districts have had a close relationship for decades, since Tuckahoe School District does not have a high school of its own and therefore sends most of its older students to Southampton High School. " This statement is a complete falsehood. This year and last more students went to Westhampton Beach, thereby saving the district tens of thousands of dollars. Why not make an exclusive with Westhampton Beach? Southampton High School wants the Tuckaoe dollars so they are desperate for our High School students, but will not agree to a lowered rate unless the agreement is made. Sounds like the board is suffering from a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.
Frank October 18, 2012 at 12:39 PM
It would be best if the tuckahoe school district merges with southampton and the taxes would be reduced in tuckahoe. Then the high school is part of tuckahoe which is included. We need lower taxes as people with no kids in the school system.
David D'Agostino October 18, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Frank, there is no evidence that the merger would lower taxes.
Alice R. Martin October 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM
How would the merger impact bussing costs, and also the distance would make it more difficult to participate in sports. I was raised in Sagaponack and went to High School at Southampton. My parents didn't want me to stay for after school activities, join sports teams, or attend evening functions, such as dances due to the distance
David D'Agostino October 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Ms. Martin, we pay to bus students to Southampton and Westhampton as it is. Like Southampton, Westhampton has late busses that are available to kids participating in extra-curricular activities.
Linda Goldsmith October 18, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Suddenly they are considering a merger? I would be very leary as to the timing as it comes after a petition to insist that Hampton Bays High School be considered included as an option is being passed around, AND an email from a Tuckahoe Taxpayer sent to Dyer, et al.. and Hampton Bays HS Principal & Staff insisting it be put on the agenda! Not to mention the FOIL requests for proof of the allegations into fraudulent voting practices Tuckahoe may soon become famous for!
K. October 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM
All of a sudden? I have been hearing this talk since I sent my first child to the school 6 years ago. Conducting a study does not impact anyone, in fact, it will answer the questions that have batted around at cocktail parties, on Patch websites like this one and on beach towels for at least a decade. For the forseeable future, there doesn't seem to be any changes to the status quo.
Alice R. Martin October 18, 2012 at 03:10 PM
David. I'm not sure what type of educational background you have. It appears that lowering taxes is one of your chief concerns. I have a professional diploma in school district administration from CW Post of LIU and taught 35 years in New York State. I am certified to be a superintendent of schools. One of the things I was taught is that any type of school consolidation is a cost saving measure and the small districts on the east end have a history of strong resistance to merger and consolidation. Therefore costs will come down whether Tuckahoe merges with Southampton or Westhampton. The quality of education, graduation rate, placement record in key colleges and employment areas should all be weighed carefully and the public needs to be convinced about the final decision. Let's hope the study takes many things into consideration.
David D'Agostino October 18, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Ms. Martin, allow me to make it clear, my chief concern is the quality of education, not lowering taxes. There are those who support consolidation for tax purposes only, I am not one of them. Tuckahoe tax payers are already saving tens of thousands of dollars with Westhampton so, instead of considering a merger which would force children to go to a lower quality school with a history of fleecing the Tuckahoe district, why not go with the school with a proven academic track record that is charging substantially less?
Linda Goldsmith October 18, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Yes, Kevin, All talk and no action 'til now-very suspicious....! Just wait, the worms are crawlin' outa the can!
Diane Sadowski October 20, 2012 at 01:26 AM
David, If you are clearly only interested in a good education, I suggest you send your child to the likes of "Deerfield Academy". I assure you that there are many others that are superior to our local schools. And hopefully you will continue to consider Tuckahoe School "your school" long after your children have graduated.
David D'Agostino October 20, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Diane, your post is off point. You compare a private boarding school which costs $47,000 a year to Tuckahoe? Why is that relevant? Aside from being overtly smarmy, it does not address my posts in any way whatsoever which asserts that Westhampton Beach is a better high school than Southampton. Your only concern always has been tax dollars, but some of us think of children, ours and others, first.
Diane Sadowski October 21, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I agree, an Exclusive Westhampton is a sound idea. The money saved could go to more opportunites for the Tuckahoe school itself. Just think of how many more teachers and programs could be implemented at Tuckahoe school itself, creating jobs and opportunites for many. Petition for budget proposition anyone?
Diane Sadowski October 21, 2012 at 03:39 PM
David, You dont know me at all. Please dont assume. You are incorrect with your assumptions. I am responding to your comment where you imply that money is no object. And to add for comparison purposes isnt it almost $30,000 a year that we pay per student to go to SH? And what is tuition at Ross? There is no doubt that no matter what school your child goes to, he or she will succeed due to your parent involvement. And I will add, there are many individuals in the community that do not have children in TCSD or for that matter ever had any children at all, but understand the importance and care regarding education for every child and their future.
David D'Agostino October 21, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Please point out to me exactly where I implied money is no object. Give me a freaking break, Ms Sadiwski
Stinker October 22, 2012 at 05:31 PM
When you go to a public school you get the socialist method of teaching. To each according to their needs, from each according to their means. The achievers suffer and the needy sap all of the resources. Those in charge skip away with the $$ and raise the taxes each year. There is currently an entire political party whose president is currently in the oval office and is running on this very platform for re-election. What seems to have everyone so upset?

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