What is cost?

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With the economy facing a significant downturn/recession, and with many eastern Long Island residents losing their jobs, the federal, state and local governments are looking at cutting programs and expenses due to revenue shortfalls. This is not the time to raise tax rates or taxes in the Bridgehampton School District. I would hope that the Board of Education and administrators are looking at ways to reduce the upcoming budget to cover shortfalls without impacting the quality of education for our children.

June of this year, the board passed a resolution and appointed a committee of two board members to do a study to see what it costs the district on a per student basis for non-resident students (approximately 15) who are presently attending our school tuition-free. Counsel recommended that this study be done on a cost per student basis, as well as define a compelling reason why taxpayers of Bridgehampton should absorb this extraordinary cost.

I have subsequently learned that if any of these non-resident students require special education, which could run into the tens of thousands of dollars, since the board allowed them to attend tuition-free, the total cost for their special education programs are at the expense of the taxpayers of Bridgehampton. No reimbursements from their home districts or government agencies will be received.

I would like to know when this study will be completed, and why the taxpayers of Bridgehampton should be burdened to pay this expense in a time of recession.

At last night’s Bridgehampton School Board meeting, I was advised that perhaps by the December 8 board meeting they might have some information. Why does it take more than six months to pull this information together, while taxpayers’ money is continually being spent on non-resident students?

JOE CONTI BridgehamptonMr. Conti is a former member of the Bridgehampton School Board—Ed.

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