Bridgehampton School District Floats $16.3M Budget for 2018-19

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Historical budget trends in the Bridgehampton School District. Graph by Chris Lester; Source data from Bridgehampton School District

Bridgehampton Budget At-a-Glance

2018-19 Proposal: $16,297,465

Year-over-year increase: $1,941,002

Projected tax increase: $99 (house valued at $1 million)

Proposed tax levy increase: 13.72 percent

Tax cap limitation: At the allowable tax cap

The Bridgehampton School District is proposing a 13.5-percent year-over-year spending increase, up to $16.3 million. Included in that jump is the district’s first payment on the money it borrowed to finance its upcoming expansion and renovation project — it will have to pay back $988,965 before the doors even open on the new building.

According to documents provided by the district, the budget plan includes large increases in spending on special education, about $450,490 more for busing, teaching staff and out-of-district tuition for students who have to be placed in programs outside of Bridgehampton. Almost $150,000 is budgeted for an increase in health insurance costs for employees and retirees and $200,000 is in the budget to hire new faculty members, including a new technology teacher and an elementary school guidance counselor.

While the proposed tax levy increase in Bridgehampton is 13.72 percent, that figure is still within the state’s tax cap limitations because of certain factors such as real estate development and the growth of property values in the school district. The hamlet has seen a particularly big boom in activity over the last few years. Bridgehampton’s tax levy increase is one of the highest proposed among Long Island’s 124 school districts. Because of factors such as high property values regionally, Bridgehampton receives less funding from New York State than other school districts up-island; state aid makes up less than 5 percent of its budget, and so its budget is heavily reliant on its tax base to make up the difference, say administrators.

In its proposed budget Bridgehampton would spend about 11.2 percent of its budget on administrative costs, while the educational component would make up about 76 percent of its total budget. Midway through the 2017-18 school year, the district divided its combined superintendent-principal position into two separate administrative roles again for the first time in several years, although next year’s budget proposal actually represents a decrease in administrative spending. The remaining money, approximately 12.8 percent, is spent on capital costs to run the physical school campus.

The tax rate is projected to go up by $.10, up to $1.77 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a house valued at $1 million, that would amount to additional taxes of about $99 for the year.

School Board Candidate Race Uncontested

Three incumbent school board candidates are running unopposed to retain their seats. Current school board president Ronald White, a real estate agent who volunteers as Bridgehampton’s varsity boy’s basketball coach, would enter his fourth term. Current school board vice president Lilllian Tyree-Johnson, a bookkeeper who also works as the manager of the Bridgehampton Community House, would also begin her fourth term. Douglas DeGroot, president of Hamptons Tennis Company, Inc., would also begin his fourth term. This year’s race is the fifth uncontested school board race in Bridgehampton in the last six years.

In case of a failed budget vote…

If residents reject their school district’s budget, school officials have three options. They may choose to put the same budget up for a re-vote, or may present a modified budget for a re-vote. If that occurs, the re-vote would happen on Tuesday, June 19. A third option is to go to a contingency budget right away, without a re-vote. A contingency budget mandates a zero-percent tax levy increase and restricts the way schools can buy equipment, lend its facilities to the public and other actions. A budget vote that fails a second time then mandates that a school district goes down to a contingency budget.

VOTING INFORMATION

Tuesday, May 15

2 to 8 p.m.

Bridgehampton School gymnasium

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