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Tuckahoe, Southampton School Districts Sign Exclusivity Agreement

Future Tuckahoe graduates will not have Westhampton Beach High School as an option.

The Tuckahoe and Southampton school districts — which are in the midst of examining the prospect of merging into one district — agreed this week on a tuition contract that means Tuckahoe graduates will exclusively attend Southampton High School in the 2013-14 school year.

Tuckahoe does not have a high school of its own, so parents have been given the option in recent years to either send their children to either Southampton High School or Westhampton Beach High School. Under the new exclusivity agreement, Tuckahoe School District residents who already attend Westhampton Beach High School will be able to continue their education there. But this year's eighth grade class at Tuckahoe must attend Southampton High School for ninth grade — or choose a private school.

The deal came about after the Tuckahoe School Board asked the Southampton School Board to lower the tuition rate charged to out-of-district students. Tuckahoe was feeling a budget squeeze, with an exceptionally large eighth grade class — 44 students — slated to enter high school in 2013. If Southampton could not lower tuition, Tuckahoe would look to other money saving options, such as exclusively sending students to Westhampton Beach and/or Hampton Bays, where the tuition rates were more affordable, or teaching ninth grade at Tuckahoe School.

Southampton officials told Tuckahoe that the only way it could offer a discounted tuition rate would be if Tuckahoe agreed to send all of its students to Southampton High School. "In effect, Southampton could charge a lower tuition rate per student if the number of students was larger," a statement from the Southampton School Board reads. "In addition, it was projected that Tuckahoe could save additional costs on transportation."

According to the Southampton School Board, the exclusivity agreement gives Southampton a predictable enrollment projection for budget and program planning.  "The larger Tuckahoe enrollment at Southampton High School will enable the maintenance and possible expansion of academic and interscholastic athletic program opportunities for all students at lower costs," the School Board states. "We view the exclusive sending contract as a win-win for both school communities."

The school boards also each agreed this week on hiring SES Study Team, a firm based in the Albany area, to study the feasibility of merging the two districts.

The study is designed to end speculation on the benefits an drawbacks of a merger, and to obtain accurate, objective information through a neutral third party. The details of the study are prescribed by New York State, according to Tuckahoe School Board President Dr. Daniel Crough. He said during an October School Board meeting that the state needs certain information to know that a responsible decision is being made, though ultimately it will be the residents of the Tuckahoe and Southampton school districts who decide whether to proceed with the merger, via public referendum.

John C December 12, 2012 at 05:44 PM
So now we need a drop in school taxes that is the ultimate deal.
Hazel Wilkonson the First December 12, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I posted this on another local news site, but it bears repeating: Always the kids who suffer for the incompetency of these school boards, isn't it? Take a look at the Tuckahoe School website - they've got FOUR people in their business office! FOUR - I bet they each make at least $75 grand each plus benefits. They've got TWO gym teachers - again, no doubt each making at least $75 grand plus benefits. And isn't this the same school board that just two years ago wanted to spend their "surplus" building on campus housing for their superintendent? They spent at least 100 grand on architects and lawyers on that one. And how about the fact that they split the superintendent/principal position that used to be handled by once competent person into two positions? There's another 100 grand! Mark Twain said it best, folks "In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards." I feel sorry for the people of that district, of whom I used to be one!
Mary Beth December 12, 2012 at 07:16 PM
"We view the exclusive sending contract as a win-win for both school communities." And a big eff u to all those kids at Westhampton who have no guarantee beyond next year. Hazel, your post is spot on!
David D'Agostino December 12, 2012 at 07:24 PM
"Westhampton Beach High School will be able to continue their education there." It should be made clear that this only applies to the term of the one year exclusive agreement. There is no guarantee beyond that.
Amy A December 13, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Hazel, I agree with you, I am not happy that the choice was taken away. The families who send and sent their kids to Westhampton saved Tuckahoe a lot of money in the past and it screws with families who will now have kids in two districts. The tax cap is a big part of the problem here and I don't know that the school has a lot of options. That being said, your comments still require some fact checking. Four people in the business office was not the schools choice, but mandates because of checks and balances. One gym teacher could never handle the entire school. No, it's not the same board that asked the community to vote (vote being the key word, the community had a choice). Yes they split the supt/principal position but they eliminated the asst principal, so there's still two at the top as there was before.
Shinnecock Hills December 13, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I hope it doesn't go beyond one year. My 10 year old nephew was upset when he heard the districts may merge because, he said, there are a lot of fights and bullying at Southampton. He wants to go to Westhampton.
tina December 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM
for those of us who are effected by that one year agreement thats one year to much. i do not want my child spending one day in southampton schools so i will have to come up with tuition for a private school or try to rent a place for winter in westhampton. the one year deal was a sneaky move so there would be no voting involved knowiing full well that the following year the merger would take place and there would be no choice for good. say the merger doesnt take place and they give back the choice can the ones who were forced to go to southampton be able to head to westhampton on tuckahoes dime?
Stinker December 13, 2012 at 01:18 PM
You people are pretty funny. You are talking about Southampton High School. It is not exactly PS 142 in the South Bronx. This is an outstanding teaching moment in the life of your child. Too late for the parents who are so hysterical they won't want to spend one day at SH School.
Meadow Lane December 13, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Don't expect a drop in your school taxes in Tuckahoe. They've spent the money on infrastructure and now have the bills to pay. Add to that the fact that the number of students does not seem to diminish each year and you have the picture.
William dalsimer December 13, 2012 at 02:58 PM
The intermediate and longer range goal must be a consolidation of the Tuckahoe and SH school districts. Small districts cannot offer either an adequate tax base or the continued expertise and material support for a quality education in the 21st century. Excess administrative costs draw resources from teachers and classroom instruction. Consolidation might help free more resources for schooling. Placing all 6,7, and 8 grades in an appropriate intermediate school would be a positive step. Change is painful and the immediate goal of the two school boards, as they move towards consolidation, should be to minimize the negative impacts on the current students. Let's try and move ahead thoughtfully and without personal recriminations.
tina December 13, 2012 at 03:30 PM
ifirst of all iam not a hysterical parent i am a parent who cares about my childs education and believe that west hampton is a better school all around. my child also wanted to go to wh that was her decision.
susan December 13, 2012 at 05:28 PM
thank you, bill, for your thoughtful words
Mary Beth December 13, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Bill, the board must be held accountable for their actions. They are elected officials. Questioning their decisions is not a personal recrimination.
Mary Beth December 13, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Tina, ignore the stench. He gets off on posting dribble.
Bob Schepps December 14, 2012 at 03:46 PM
So the agreement provides a volume discount to Tuckahoe. Sounds like a smart business deal to me. I guess the 2% cap has provided the much needed push to reexamine school finances. I think it is a move in the right direction.
El Stinkeroo December 14, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Funny, you lecture from way up on high, yet you have your toesies soaking in the water way down south. I didn't see the weather person calling for unflossed breezes from south of the border?
Mary Beth December 14, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Bob, should the education of our children always be about the bottom line?
Bob Schepps December 14, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Actually yes that's the point. The way to the bottom line is a more business like approach to how we fund our schools with the best result. Profit or the bottom line takes all that into account. The way bit has been run is that teachers through unions negotiate with politicians that they fund through campaign contributions. Where are the kids in that equation? Nowhere. Its about the cash. We need to make radical changes to school funding because its NOT working. If it were a business it would be out of business. Unfortunately it has gotten to point where fixing the existing system is way to much lifting. It needs a complete new direction and overhaul. The best approach would be a more business like approach. IMO

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