Bridgehampton Board Agrees To Present Same Budget To Voters

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The Bridgehampton School Board announced Wednesday night that it will present the same $12.3 million budget to residents for the budget re-vote scheduled June 17.

The 2014-15 school budget, which is a $1.1-million, or 9.93-percent, increase, did not receive a supermajority of the vote on May 20, which was required since it pierced a New York State cap on tax levy increases. Only 54.25 percent of voters approved the budget.

“Our kids need it,” district Superintendent Dr. Lois Favre said at Wednesday evening’s Board of Education meeting. “Our kids deserve it. It’s no smoke and mirrors.”

The budget would result in a $10.6 million levy, an 8.8-percent increase from this year’s. The maximum allowable levy increase under the state cap would have been 3.8 percent for Bridgehampton this upcoming year.

Dr. Favre said Wednesday that the district made $200,000 in cuts in an initial budget before approving the $12.3 million one.

“We went below what we believe we needed to have to move forward,” she said.

Board of Education members supported Dr. Favre and the choice to proceed with the same budget. Board President Ron White said residents need to be more educated on the technicalities of the budget so they realize it is what the district needs to function properly beginning in September.

“I think when they look at percentages rather than dollar amounts … the numbers aren’t the same,” he said. Mr. White said the district has come a long way and has improved in many fields, and he referred to the Bridgehampton School as “a public private school.”

“People need to understand and do their best to invest in that,” he said.

If the budget is defeated again on June 17, the district will have to write up a completely new budget with a zero-percent levy increase. Dr. Favre said that would require the district to make over $800,000 in cuts.

“That impacts much of our programs,” she said, adding that 5 to 6 staff members would be let go, clubs would be cut, and students would not be able to go on any more trips.

Mr. White said the loss of staff would most likely hit the district the hardest.

“When five people are missing, it’s a big deal,” he said.

The Board of Education will hold a budget hearing on Monday, June 9 at 7 pm in the school gymnasium.

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