Education Briefs: School Board Approves Trips, Clashes Over Athletic Director Contract

Pierson Middle-High School in the spring of 2017. Christine Sampson photo

Sag Harbor School Board Approves School Trips

Small groups of Pierson High School students could be bound for Australia and Costa Rica in 2018 after the Sag Harbor School Board recently approved a handful of student trips.

Pierson math teacher Kevin Roode will lead the Australia trip through Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns from February 14 to 24. In an email, he said the trip will include experiences such as feeding wild dolphins and learning about their behavior from experts; feeding the laughing kookaburra; going sand dune tobogganing in a desert safari; sailing and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef; and more. The cost of the trip is about $5,500.

The Costa Rica trip will take place from March 28 to April 6. The cost of the trip is approximately $3,600 and the trip will be led by teacher Clint Schulman.

The school board has also approved a seventh-grade trip to Philadelphia and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, from May 9 to 11. The cost of the trip is approximately $550 and according to principal Jeff Nichols, for students who may have certain financial needs, assistance may be available for this trip.

Bridgehampton School Board Sets Tax Levy

Most taxpayers in Bridgehampton will see their school tax bills decrease slightly after the Bridgehampton School Board approved the $12,623,558 tax levy that voters okayed in May.

According to Robert Hauser, Bridgehampton’s assistant superintendent for finance and facilities, the tax rate is projected to decrease by about 1.22 percent, down to about $1.667 per $1,000 of assessed value. For example, a house assessed at $2 million currently pays about $3,376 in school taxes, but will see its tax bill decrease by about $41.

The probable tax rate decrease was driven by the total assessed value of all properties in Southampton, which increased by about $485 million from a year ago, up to about $7.57 billion, due to increased real estate development.

Board Clashes Over Athletic Director’s Contract

In a 4-2 vote, the Sag Harbor School Board modified the agreement it inked in August with Eric Bramoff, formerly the district’s director of athletics and supervisor of buildings and grounds, who now is a teacher and athletic director.

School board members Chris Tice and Susan Lamontagne continued to raise questions over the breakdown of Mr. Bramoff’s previously approved salary. His time is divided as 60 percent athletic director and 40 percent teacher, but the athletic director position carries a stipend of $18,300 and the teaching position carries a salary of $98,460.

The amendment concerns Mr. Bramoff’s membership in both the district’s teachers’ union and administrators’ union, according to Superintendent Katy Graves. She said he will pay union dues to both entities “so that if there were any questions or concerns from an administrative point, he would have that kind of advice provided to him.”