Board Has Responsibility to Superintendent, Public
We would like to add our voices to the growing chorus of parents who are alarmed by the current situation regarding Katy Grave’s contract. We have had children in the Sag Harbor school system for the past 10 years, and have lived full time in Sag Harbor for 17 years. We have seen superintendents come and go, and Katy Graves is head and shoulders above every last one of them. Her intelligence, experience, and most importantly her full on enthusiasm for the children is like nothing we have ever seen. She engages parents and children with a sense of warmth and personal focus that is sadly missing in so many people. My daughters find her accessible and we as parents find her proactive, knowledgeable, experienced and unbelievably kind.
As our elected officials, school board members have a responsibility to US, the families out here who entrusted them to behave in a manner that is professional and transparent. Their job is to give her the freedom and trust to do HER job. She is eminently qualified to do that … now the board needs to prove to us that they are as well. While we appreciate that school board members are a voluntary body who donate their time and energy to this endeavor, they should not be beyond a little self reflection.
As we strive as a community to provide our children with the very best education possible, we first and foremost need a sense of strong leadership at the top. Katy Graves has proven she has that and so much more. After years of constant disruption in the supervisor’s position, we need the stability and forward looking vision that the renewal of her contract would provide.
Louise and Aidan Corish
Decision Without Transparency
It has been brought to my attention that our superintendent of schools, Katy Graves, was not granted a renewal contract. This was not the community’s decision. In fact, this decision was made in secret by the board in whom the families of our school system placed their trust. The decision not to renew Katy Graves’ contract was made in June, however, no families with children in the Sag Harbor Schools were informed, nor were they consulted or given an opportunity to hear the reasons for this decision. As a parent with a child attending Sag Harbor Middle School, I can assure you that a majority of parents expect our board of education to be completely transparent with respect to all affairs concerning our schools.
Katy Graves has done a tremendous job connecting to our students, parents and our Sag Harbor community as a whole. In addition, you should know that she achieved 14 of the 15 preset district goals.
Support Neighborhood, Not Arrogance
I attended the Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday evening and I have a few comments about the proposal at 48 Lincoln.
I have been a resident of Sag Harbor since 2001, living for almost 15 years at Harbor Watch Court. In February, 2016, I moved to 11 Ninevah Place, Sag Harbor Hills. Since my move to Ninevah, I have attended parties, neighborhood association meetings and hosted several dinner parties for my new neighbors. Sag Harbor Hills, very quickly, has fulfilled one of my hopes in moving to the neighborhood: to find a sense of community… to know my neighbors. My welcome to the ‘hood could not have been more gracious.
Tuesday’s column in the New York Times by David Brooks is particularly germane to the issues confronting Sag Harbor today. Titled “The Great Affluence Fallacy”, he writes that as “we’ve gotten richer, our houses have grown larger, we’ve added more bedrooms, etc.” — often at the expense of community… and knowing our neighbors. The communities of Azurest, Sag Harbor Hills and Ninevah have been about community and neighborhood for the past 60 years. They have not been neighborhoods created for investment purposes; they are neighborhoods created to support families and friends and connectivity.
One of the issues much discussed at Tuesday’s meeting was scale. It needs to be pointed out that there are several issues around scale: 1) the size of a dwelling in relation to the size of the property and 2) the relation of a dwelling on that property to the surrounding community. The proposed home of 5,300 square feet for 48 Lincoln is out of scale with the surrounding community. The largest homes in the neighborhood are 4,000 square feet and these are only three very recent homes. The average square footage for homes in Ninevah is around 1,500 square feet. The proposed home for 48 Lincoln is 30% larger than even the largest home in Ninevah (and 350% larger than the average home in the community!) Simply stated, this is out of scale and harmony with the surrounding neighborhood.
It is also important to recognize that this is not just the case of a family moving into a neighborhood. Through various LLC’s, more than 10 properties in these communities have recently been acquired by Mr. Bronster and his colleagues. Their intentions are clear: maximize the footprint of a dwelling and maximize their profit. As was stated at Tuesday’s meeting, there are many neighborhoods in the Hamptons where this is the game of the day: buy, knock down, rebuild and make off with a profit. Azurest, Sag Harbor Hills and Ninevah have never been about that.
The community of Sag Harbor has the power to respect that history. We hope that the ARB will vote to support community and neighborhood rather than giving in to the overweening power of affluence.
Victoria L. Sharp, MD