Tuckahoe Voters Reject $17.8M Budget; Steudte Defeats Grindle

Proposition to expend funds replacing pipes also fails.

The 's failed, 228-275, on Tuesday, and former School Board member ousted incumbent by an 8-vote margin.

Steudte received 220 votes to Grindle's 212. At least 71 voters abstained from deciding on a candidate.

Under the proposed budget, the tax rate was projected to rise by 9.54 percent to $7.23 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The tax rate increase was pushed up by a 4.91 percent dip of the total assessed value of properties in the district, meaning the impact on homeowners whose property values decreased would have been less than 9.54 percent.

Inclusive of collected property taxes and STAR reimbursement from New York State, the tax levy was budgeted to increase 1.99 percent. According to the district’s budget brochure, the increase could have been as high as 2.7 percent while still adhering to New York State's new tax cap.

In 2011, the Tuckahoe budget .

School Board Chairman Robert Grisnik said the board members had done everything they could to keep the budget increase down, and when they have their next meeting Monday they will discuss what comes next. "The board has to sit down and go over this vote and see what we have to do pertaining to the law," he said.

Asked for his assessment of why the budget failed, Superintendent Chris Dyer said, "The community voted with their hearts."

If the budget, after a revision, is defeated a second time when put to a vote June 19, the district will be forced onto a contingency budget, with a 0 percent spending increase.

Voters also rejected a proposition to expend $465,000 from the district's capital reserve fund to replace heating pipes. "They're old and they need to be replaced," Grisnik said.

He added that National Grid is slated to visit the school to assist with attaining grants to switch from oil to gas heat.

The new piping proposition received 120 votes in favor and 222 against, and at least 161 voters abstained.

Voters did, however, approve sending Tuckahoe 9th through 12th graders to Southampton and Westhampton Beach high schools, and they signed off on $54,386 for the district's participation in the Southampton Youth Association, and $7,868 for participation in the Parrish Art Museum.

Propositions Yes No Budget 228 275 Expend $465,000 from the capital reserve fund for new heating pipes. (No effect on tax levy)
120 222 Tuitioning 9th- through 12th-graders to Southampton and Westhampton Beach High Schools 293 208 $54,386 for the district's participation in the 281 221 $7,868 for the district's participation in the . 268 230 School Board Election Steudte, 220 Grindle, 212

For the Sag Harbor School District voting results, . For Southampton School District results, . For Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, .

tuckahoebob May 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM
So now that all of you teabagging CAC types in your anti incumbancy zeal have gotten rid of an honest independent voice on the school board. Put your actions where your mouth is. The cabal of Grisnick and Steudte have a long history of spending our money, fleecing this community and getting their cut. Why else would Harald want to be back in office? DON'T LET THEM DO THIS ANY MORE. MAKE THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR EVERYTHING. In terms of consolidating of the district. Anyone that thinks this is a bad idea is insane. In 2012 we can't have all of these pit ass little districts all over the east end. It screws up our kid's educations and it's too expensive. But don't worry about the poor Southampton District voters who are going to be unhappy because maybe they will have to start paying a fair tax rate that's not been subsidized so much by the hardworking residents of Tuckahoe. It's not going to be their decision. This is going to come from much higher like the Governor. Oh and while you're at it. Start lobbying the Governor, Attorney General, Controller's Office and Education Department to start investigating the Tuckahoe District and the shenanigans that have been played all these years.
David D'Agostino May 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Ms. Sadowski has fought tirelessly to destroy a school that educated her own child. What she fails to realize is that if she hurts the school, she hurts herself. Automatic cuts will now take place that will have an immediate impact on school performance which will, in turn, have a long term impact on housing values. Who cares how low your taxes are if your house is worth peanuts? The next budget vote will be in June and it is imperative that Tuckahoe parents do everything they can to encourage all eligible parents to vote yes.
John C May 16, 2012 at 12:32 PM
No is the time to freeze all the salarys in Tuckahoe get rid of the super and save that will help the kids, from what I see the budget only helps the board and teachers time to put on your big boy pants and tighten up your belt make pay cuts and pay for your insurance. These teachers are not dedicated I see them leave when the kids leave some even before they can't wait to get out of school.
David D'Agostino May 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Rich, my children attend Tuckahoe and I can tell you without reservation that the school has some of the most dedicate educators ever. The irrational impulse to attack teachers is ridiculous. The teachers have made concessions at every turn. Many of them take money out of their own pockets to provide materials and many more work well beyond the school day and the end of the school year. We have lost our way as a society when we value property over dedicated, middle class workers who cannot even afford to live in the district where they work.
Diane Sadowski May 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I want to thank Mr. Dyer for encouraging the community to come out and vote for our school. The turn-out was the best it has ever been! Though we dont always agree, I feel that Mr. Dyer himself can get "out of the Box" and look for other solutions to help a community that has peaked at their "competition for resources". Mr. Dyer has presented to the community other options and I encourage everyone to address them. Communication and educated decisions are key to success for Tuckahoe. I am sorry to see Ms. Grindle leave her position and wish her well. Her heart was at the core of education. It was neither Mr. Unger or myself that defeated the budget. It was the Tuckahoe school community. I was there for moral support. Whether measures need to be taken at the local or state level, it is clear that only a civil community will move forward.
East End Farmer May 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM
If I was Ms. Grindle, I would have each and every vote for Steude closely scrutinized. His reputation for "honesty" is unsurpassed.
David D'Agostino May 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Ms. Sadowski, there was nothing civil about your attempt to deceive voters as to the real cost of the budget to taxpayers. "The Tuckahoe Common School District’s proposed 2012-13 $17.8 million budget will not pierce the cap, but a proposed 9.5-percent hike in the tax rate has some Tuckahoe residents seeing red—a few signs have been placed around Tuckahoe encouraging residents to reject the budget—though the impact on individual tax bills likely will be much lower, since the district’s total assessed value fell nearly 20 percent since last year, canceling out much of the impact of the rate increase." Let's not rewrite history, you and Mr. Unger led an uncivil and untruthful campaign of deceit in order to defeat the budget and, in doing so, encouraged many older residents to vote no. If you believe Mr. Dyer encouraged the community to vote in order to defeat the budget, you are sadly mistaken. You are no ally of the district that funded your own child's education.
William dalsimer May 16, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Some of the comments miss the point. This election was not about individuals but about the unsustainable escalating costs of school costs. Tuckahoe tax payers are asked to pay a tax rate of $ 7.23 per $ 1000 of assessed valuation (vs. $ 2.29 in Southampton) At the same time we send most of our high school students to Southampton at a cost of over $ 4.5 million-this out of a $ 17 M school budget. Tuckahoe School must keep more of our school tax dollars here in Tuckahoe for use in our school, pre-k through 8th grade. The tuitions paid to Southampton for Tuckahoe students exceed the per student payments to send a child to Hampton Bays or West Hampton. Tuckahoe stiudents beyond the 8th grade can get a qulaity education other schools AND save the Tuckahoe Schools milliokns of dollars annually. These savings can be used locally so that essential programs do not have to be cut in our school abd at the same time offer the Tuckahoe tax payer some tax relief from escalating tax bills. Let's get together to find creative ways to address these problems. Let's step back from personal attacks. Bill Dalsimer
Auntie May 16, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Ms. Sadowski, you and Mr. Unger are a shameful example of what is wrong with this community. You are an educated woman and you are well aware that most homes in Tuckahoe are not going to see anywhere near the 9.5% increase you advertised with your yellow signs. Because of your lies the community lost faith in a dedicated, honest incumbent and placed a majority Grisnick/Steude on the school board. I don't need to tell you the damage that act alone has done. I hope you are happy.
David D'Agostino May 16, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Mr. Dalsimer, defeating the school budget will not lower the costs of sending kids to Southampton High School. I agree that those costs are a huge contributor to our budget, but, ironically, the measure to fund sending the kids to Westhampton and Southampton passed overwhelmingly. The Tuckahoe school district is home to four golf courses, two of which are among the most expensive in the country, yet they are given a special dispensation from school taxes. If these courses paid their fair share, there would be no budget issues. If the community truly wants to help the school, petition the county to tax the golf courses, but to defeat the budget to save money is short-sighted.
Auntie May 16, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Creative would have started a petition to send kids to another school, thereby forcing Southampton to lower tuition. Creative is not cutting teacher jobs and hurting innocent kids in the process. Creative does not lie to the community. Creative does not take honest board members and replace them with dishonest ones.
William dalsimer May 16, 2012 at 01:20 PM
David, I agree that the golf courses are significantly under taxed. It's hard to get information on how the assessor arrives at those figures. But the task of altering the basis for taxing golf courses is a state wide issue and we all know who the members of the golf clubs are. Tuckahoe is also burden with other lands not taxed-Southampton College (SUNY), Town and Village owned land (the Tuckahoe Woods). Immediate savings could come from redirecting Tuckahoe students or capping tuition payments to the amount charged by the least costly neighborhood district. Should a family elect to send a student to a more costly school district the family, and not the Tuckahoe tax payers, could cover that additional expense and the Tuckahoe taxpayers will pick up the tab based on the lowest district's change.
David D'Agostino May 16, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Yes, it is high time that the school stop paying Southampton High School such exorbitant rates. It is my understanding that the over the years the board has attempted to negotiate with Southampton and their response has always been something along the lines of "Too bad' because the rate is codified by an old pact, the name of which escapes me right now. Perhaps it is time to play hard ball with Southampton - either charge us at the same rate as Westhampton or we will no longer consider your school as an alternative. This may be further than some families are willing to go, but it would indeed save the school hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
Daniel Crough May 16, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I am Daniel Crough, Trustee on the Tuckahoe School Board. I am confused about something. If you are a Tuckahoe resident did you think the budget represented a 9% increase in your tax bill or a 1.99%increase? I would like to know regardless of whether you voted for or against it. I have to make decisions on my position of how to proceed. Thank you for your input.
David D'Agostino May 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Dan, I can tell you that over the last week I have had conversations with three residents who do not have children in the school and each one mentioned a 9.5% increase in their tax bill and were completely unaware that the budget did not pierce the tax cap. Of course they were encouraged to believe this falsehood by the misleading signs put up throughout the district.
Jonathan May 16, 2012 at 02:41 PM
William. The low tax rate of the golf courses is beyond the town's control. It is based on a 1991 court ruling "New Country Club of Garden City v. Board of Assessors and Board of Assessment Review of the County of Nassau" The golf course claimed their land couldn't be taxed at same rate as usable residential or commercial and they won. It shouldn't really be fair to compare the golf courses out here to a golf course up island as land out here is much more valuable and cost of membership much higher. And you have Sebonac Golf Course with 12? homes, for corporate use. All of the golf courses on the east end joined together, shared the cost of one law firm and sued recently for an even lower tax rate. They won, the town can't afford to fight them. The school board in all its years has never gotten involved, especially when the town requested this back in the Grisnik/Steudte/Gerbereaux heyday. One can complain about the golf courses but the only solution at this point is consolidation. If you want to make a change stop complaining, petition NYS Ed Commissioner, Thiele, LaValle to do this. And petition NYS to investigate what went on in Tuckahoe years ago prior to Grindle. The taxes didn't start going up in the past few years. They went up years ago exponentially thanks to Grisnik/Steudte and they continued up under Rozzi. It was only because of Sharon Grindle that taxes started to be reined in. Tuckahoe's only watchdog was ousted last night. Huge mistake.
Mary Beth May 16, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Jonathan, wow, what revisionist history! I am amazed at how far some folks will go to completely absolve Sharon Grindle of all responsibility for anything that has happened over the last six years when she and Grisnik were the only constants. The voters clearly felt differently.
Stephen Haslet May 16, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Stay positive Tuckahoe parents and teachers. Our kids were completely off balance yesterday, they can tell that something is not right today and we need peace to prevail inside the school. There is no question that the budget vote failed because people thought their tax rate was increasing almost 10%. And people don't want to increase costs 10% to pay for students they don't believe belong there. If, in fact, Southampton Town could've made due with less and not increased the tax base rate so significantly, maybe something would have been different. But Southampton Town pulled a doozy on Tuckahoe yesterday by increasing the base rate too high to account for the decreased assessments and through their protesting unit called the Southampton CAC. The truth never had a chance to come out about the actual cash flow increases to families because the assessments aren't released yet. If you had a $1,000,000 home you paid $6600 in taxes. If the rate goes up to $7.30 and your assesment drops just 10% (not to mention the widely circulated figure of 20%) - guess what geniuses, your tax dropped to $6570. If your assessment drops by 20%, your taxes go down to $5800 (even though the sweaty, unkempt would have you believe your taxes are going up) - but this doesn't mean you cannot sell your home for more. Big mistake last night by retirees who were given bunk information. Period.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 05:33 PM
For more details on the Tuckahoe budget and what comes next, check out this new article: http://southampton.patch.com/articles/tuckahoe-budget-second-chance
Stephen Haslet May 16, 2012 at 05:42 PM
perhaps an article containing the truth would have been a little more timely BEFORE the budget vote failed and non-mandated programs had to get axed.
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Stephen, you can find Patch's budget vote preview here: http://southampton.patch.com/articles/tuckahoe-school-budget
Auntie May 17, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Mary Beth, you can't honestly believe that a Steudte/Grisnik majority board is a better alternative to the honest, hard working Sharon Grindle? You may have an issue with some of the decisions she made (although I think she's been a tremendous asset to the school), but she is honest as they come. You went from a majority Grindle/Crough, both parents interested in the education of our children to a majority Grisnik/Steudte, interested in when the next profitable construction project will begin.
Ralebird May 17, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I suppose I shouldn't be amazed that the same people who so vehemently oppose commercial development in commercially zoned areas of Tuckahoe are the same people who are now complaining about lack of tax revenue in the district.
John C May 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Well David and the rest Its that time face the facts the people voted and the tax increase was voted down. So stop being a sour grape, Maybe you can pay extra being that you have a child there to help fund the school. The school which is in a nice area how come we have 60% spanish in the school if it is in the high class area where are these people living at your house?
Kevin L. May 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Thank you for confirming exactly what we already knew to be the case.
David D'Agostino May 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Rich, firstly, the population you refer to is not Spanish. Spaniards come from Spain which is a European country. Secondly, the makeup of the school is what it is. The district is undergoing a demographic change, just like much of the rest of the country. Each and every child who attends Tuckahoe is a student. There is absolutely no evidence that the children attending Tuckahoe do not have a right to be there and the school is not in trouble because of the number of children in attendance. Scapegoating Latinos immigrants is always the fall back of those too lazy to take a serious look at the real issues facing our schools. It does not solve our problems, only creates new ones by attempting to divide the community.
David D'Agostino May 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM
gj, You are conflating two issues. I assume you are referring to the proposed Morrow Shopping Center - that proposal has nothing to do with commercial development in a commercially zoned area because the developer is looking to have the zoning changed to suit his own needs, not those of the community. It is a well known fact that the shopping mall will bring little more revenue to the school than if those same parcels of land (most of which are not yet even owned by Mr. Morrow) were developed under current zoning. The actual additional tax revenue estimate that might be generated by this spot-zoning request would be around 30 grand. The school now finds itself having to look for cuts totaling around $300,000.00 Should we build Morrow's mall and nine more just like it in Tuckahoe?
Ralebird May 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM
The two issues are intimately tied together - additional commercial development will bring revenues without adding to the school's burden. The "nimbys" and "bananas" will always have their say, but their desires do come with consequences. The amount of tax revenue for any particular development is strictly speculation before it takes place and the only "well known fact" is that opinions don't create facts.
Hazel Wilkonson the First May 18, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Hey,gj, your right, no one knows what the exact tax number will be from Morrow's mega mall, but I can guarantee you it won't be MORE than the fake number the developer throws out now.
dorothykaren May 22, 2012 at 03:38 AM
the school was far better academically years ago...look at the educational data. You get what you pay for. As far as grindle being honest, she's a liar and severely psychologically damaged.


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