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Jun 18, 2019 4:21 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Shinnecock Nation Still Reviewing Whether To Keep Students In Southampton Schools As Contract Approaches Renewal

Southampton High School. PRESS FILE
Jun 19, 2019 11:48 AM

Officials from the Shinnecock Indian Nation are continuing negotiations with the Southampton School District and the State Education Department on the terms of their contract agreement, due for renewal at the end of this month, to determine whether to keep Shinnecock children enrolled in Southampton schools.

Tribal leaders and parents were busy last week meeting with Southampton district administrators, representatives from the Education Department’s Native American Education Unit and Tuckahoe district administrators—an alternative district they have been exploring—to seek the best learning environment for their approximately 130 school-age children and how they can work toward a satisfactory contract.

The contract, which has been in place between the state and the school district for decades and renewed when necessary, establishes that the state will reimburse the school district the appropriate tuition costs to enroll all school-age children living on the Shinnecock territory.

The current five-year contract authorized an estimated $26 million in state funding, reimbursed in increments and varied depending on student enrollment changes.

The Nation is not a party in the official agreement, but it is a key player in the contract’s designation, because tribe members choose where they want to enroll their children. If they are unsatisfied with the existing arrangement, they are allowed to look at other options.

Lately, Nation members have expressed frustration with Southampton’s treatment of their children, particularly at the intermediate school. Several members have pointed out that their children at the intermediate school, when compared to other students, are getting lower test scores, are unfairly disciplined, and are not receiving enough support.

“Our biggest concern is the middle school. If we are able to rectify that situation, then we stand a better chance of having our students actually be able to complete high school instead of giving up,” Tribal Council Vice Chairman Lance A. Gumbs said this week. “By the time they get to high school, they’re so beaten down that they just have no desire.”

Mr. Gumbs said that the tribe is requesting that the district place a community liaison in each school to directly support Shinnecock students. Presently, the district has one liaison at the high school for Shinnecock students, as mandated under the contract.

“What we’re interested in is to have our children have the same education that every other student is having in the school district, and not to be classified when it’s unnecessary, not to be treated differently when it comes to the disciplinary area,” Mr. Gumbs said. “We’ve identified a great disparity, and it’s unacceptable.”

Although there are fewer than two weeks left in the contract term, negotiations may be allowed to continue long after the term expires. The current contract, for the period of July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2019, was not approved until May 2016.

The State Education Department and the Southampton School District have not returned requests for comment.

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Why don't they post a liaison at each of the homes of the children that do not do well in school? Personally, I think they should pay the school costs since they don't pay taxes.
By tim2011 (18), southampton on Jun 19, 19 12:28 AM
Agreed. They claim to be a Sovereign Nation. Sovereign Nations should pay to educate their own children. Or perhaps they only want to be a sovereign nation when they want to break the rules we all live by?
By Bayman (56), Hampton Bays on Jun 19, 19 3:46 PM
Why don’t you look into why they don’t pay property taxes and the state pays for school. You might want to have a few facts before you make these wacky comments.
By Fred s (3206), Southampton on Jun 19, 19 5:12 PM
2 members liked this comment
Some of the most talented and smartest classmates I had in school were from the Shinnecock Reservation! Stop with the nasty already, especially if your not a true local and have no business putting in your half a cent. These people are legal US citizens and their ancestors have been here far longer than most of us. How dare any of you complain when the illegal immigrants get everything for free an the red carpet laid out for drivers license etc. talk about bass ackwards!
By toes in the water (884), southampton on Jun 20, 19 6:49 AM
Talking about leaving is what you do when you’re not leaving.
By even flow (996), East Hampton on Jun 20, 19 7:51 AM
Why is the state paying the tuition?
Since the Shinnecocks have become a Federally recognized tribe, shouldn't the Bureau of Indian Affairs be paying it out of the trust fund they manage?
By bird (824), Sag Harbor on Jun 20, 19 11:44 AM
Why don’t you go to a tribal meeting and ask all these questions? The state pays for the education of ALL tribes in ny. It was part of a deal, I didn’t get the date of the deal, that took place many years ago. I called a former tribe trustee to verify. I also asked if they could get loans for housing as someone stated on here they could. That’s false also. It never ceases to amaze how people just make stuff up.
By Fred s (3206), Southampton on Jun 20, 19 4:14 PM
Take the money and hire private tutors on the res and get a tribal sponsored education??? Probably save the State money in the long run...
I wish youe people the best education...
By knitter (1907), Southampton on Jun 21, 19 7:27 PM
"...Lately, Nation members have expressed frustration with Southampton’s treatment of their children, particularly at the intermediate school. Several members have pointed out that their children at the intermediate school, when compared to other students, are getting lower test scores, are unfairly disciplined, and are not receiving enough support."

Lately, and for quite some time, MANY PARENTS THAT ARE NOT SHINNECOCK, have expressed frustration with Southampton’s treatment ...more
By JayGee (5), North Sea on Jun 26, 19 2:22 PM