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Jun 9, 2012 10:51 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe And Southampton School Officials Discuss Exclusive Tuition Deal

Jun 13, 2012 12:03 PM

Officials of the Tuckahoe and Southampton school districts are discussing the possibility of an exclusive relationship when it comes to high school tuition students, meaning that Tuckahoe School would send its ninth-graders solely to Southampton High School in exchange for a lower tuition rate.

At a joint meeting of school boards on June 6, board members and administrators sat together facing members of the public as they discussed shared services and tuition rates.

Currently, Tuckahoe educates students from prekindergarten to eighth grade and sends its rising ninth-graders to Southampton High School or Westhampton Beach High School, depending on the student’s preference.

This year alone, Tuckahoe is paying tuition for 32 students attending Westhampton Beach High School and 108 students at Southampton High School. Seven of the students attending Southampton High School are special needs students; three special needs students attend Westhampton Beach.

Tuckahoe currently spends approximately $22,000 for each student who attends Southampton High School, and $76,000 for a special needs student. In contrast, tuition for a single student at Westhampton Beach High School is approximately $19,000, and $61,000 for a special needs student.

Tuckahoe School Superintendent Chris Dyer said the district is planning to send 12 freshmen to Westhampton Beach and 15 students to Southampton at the start of the next school year. The following year, district officials project that a total of approximately 40 eighth-graders will move up by the end of the 2012-13 school year.

Seeing the large size of the upcoming eighth grade class, Tuckahoe officials are now looking to cut costs where they can. According to Mr. Dyer, a quarter of Tuckahoe’s budget is paid to other school districts in the form of tuition.

The difference between the tuition rates of the two high schools, especially for special needs students, has Tuckahoe School officials concerned they aren’t getting the best deal from Southampton.

“I will speak about the elephant in the room—it’s tuition, that’s the bottom line,” Tuckahoe School Board member Sharon Grindle said at the meeting. “We had a tremendous amount of our debt in tuition. That is where we need to come together.”

Tuckahoe School officials said the district can no longer sustain itself if it continues to pay the current Southampton rate per child. “We cannot destroy the inside of Tuckahoe and the wonderful programs we have, and the phenomenal teachers and administration that we have, just to support high school tuition … we won’t do it,” Ms. Grindle said.

Tuckahoe has been facing tough spending cuts after the district’s initial budget was voted down by taxpayers last month. As the district’s re-vote on Tuesday approaches, school officials are hoping that $157,227 in cuts to staffing and non-instructional costs will persuade voters to accept their pared down $17.7 million budget.

“We’re looking for the best number we can get, and right now we don’t have that number,” Tuckahoe School Board President Robert Grisnik said about finding an affordable tuition rate. He said the district has been in contact with surrounding districts to get their rates.

According to Mr. Dyer, the only way the district has been able to deal with the Southampton tuition expense is by offering parents and their children the option to choose to attend Westhampton Beach High School, which ultimately saves the district money. “Our ability to manage the tuition cost is by selecting to attend specified districts,” Mr. Dyer said.

Westhampton Beach has become a popular choice among Tuckahoe students, not because of the cost of tuition but because of the programs offered there. According to Westhampton Beach School Superintendent Michael Radday, there are 23 Advanced Placement course offerings.

“I think students are drawn here because of the scope of academic programs and our nationally renowned technology program,” he said this week.

Tuckahoe School students constitute the smallest number of non-resident students in the district, however, and so while the tuition rate is lower at Westhampton Beach, the district does not rely on Tuckahoe School for revenue as much as the Southampton School District does. Students from Quogue, East Quogue, Remsenburg-Speonk and East Moriches also attend Westhampton Beach, which has a total enrollment of 1,004.

According to Southampton officials, the programs offered at the school—in which 587 students are enrolled—are heavily dependent upon tuition from Tuckahoe School.

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It is amazing how they plan to spread out the tax burden within the Town of
Southampton! It is apparent that costs are increasing and the size of classes
are increasing. It is also apparent that there is a FOR SALE sign on many
homes within the Town. Are we going to have a town of a high-end school educational system and a Ghost Town when you drive around the Hamptons!??
By East Ender (64), Southampton on Jun 9, 12 12:12 PM
Why should we strike an exclusive deal with a school that has been overcharging Tuckahoe for years? Westhampton is already giving Tuckahoe students a much better deal, yet Southampton wants an exclusivity, but will not guarantee a discounted rate, rather they assert they would like to help "within our constraints"? Ridiculous.

This year a majority of 8th graders have chosen Westhampton High School which is already saving the school tens of thousands of dollars. Give the exclusivity ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jun 9, 12 12:56 PM
Sounds like a set-up to me, stay tuned voters.
By Truth Warrior (11), Southampton on Jun 9, 12 7:52 PM
Hopefully WHB can keep these students in their school. It would be a tremendous tax burden on WHB residents if they lost these students. WHB are you listening? You just recommended and were given another tax increase. Can the school board and teachers kick some cash ????
By realistic (472), westhampton on Jun 9, 12 10:35 PM
F Y I Tuckahoe students went to SHS exclusivly until 1970 or thereabouts. The families of professors at the college changed that practice. One must look to the under lying reasons for the disparity in costs to each school.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 10, 12 7:28 AM
And FYI, the families of these professors changed that practice primarily because as educators, they were quite aware of the poor academics at Southampton compared to alternatives. These knowledgeable academic families were responsible for the once good reputation of Tuckahoeey served as a good check on the Management and pedagogical quality of Tuckahoe.

With the closure of Southampton College, we lost these academic treasures, replaced by many families with the most mediocre concepts ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 10, 12 9:35 PM
What really needs to happen is these smaller feeder schools need to be closed and absorbed into the larger districts. The tax burden is great in Tuckahoe as few residents pay for the school whereby South & Westhampton is spread out over a larger areas. School taxes are the largest portion ofthe tax bills and this needs to be addressed.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jun 10, 12 7:33 AM
By coxie1 (37), southampton on Jun 10, 12 8:45 AM
At least we don't have an Adderall abuse epideimic.

By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 10, 12 11:48 AM

For decades, the Southampton school district knew that that they were overcharging Tuckahoe but relied on the proximity to the neighborhood and convenience of parents to carry the day. They neither provided competitive tuition nor superior academics, having the worst academic credentials and record among Westhampton and especially Sag Harbor (Pierson), an option that should seriously be considered, especially now that they have adopted the vaunted IB curriculum.

Tuckahoe and Southampton ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 10, 12 7:14 PM
1 member liked this comment
For once I agree with you, SG
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Jun 10, 12 8:12 PM
Observant brings up some excellent points, the most important of which is this: "I believe academic excellence and cost needs to be the main criteria for an exclusive contract and in these, Southampton simply fails miserably, which is why Westhampton is becoming more popular. Mediocrity and high cost should never be rewarded."

I hope the Tuckahoe school board feels the same.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jun 11, 12 10:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
But in SHSD they teach tolerance and acceptance instead of academics. Now that they are discussing eliminating class rank they can then fall into total mediocraty and not have to be accountable to anyone. Again please explain why it costs twice the long island average to provide a poorer standard of education. SHSD is not and has not been doing it's job for a long time. its about education ,education and education.
By maxwell (169), speonk on Jun 11, 12 2:11 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am so sorry to read the above posts. Back in the day OMG it is really so long ago, BUT Southampton students were well prepared for college. Many had multiple acceptances to their colleges of choice. Now you tell me my grandchildren are not weel educated? Eliminating class rank? Wow how dumb can that be? Sorry news.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 11, 12 2:43 PM
1 member liked this comment
Did anyone see the article in Newsday yesterday about graduation rates, regents diplomas and percentage of students attending college. Westhampton charges less than SHSD and always scores higher in all these areas. Why would you want to send your kids to a school district that charges 33 percent more tuition but consistently delivered less results? What a waste of money. SHSD and EHSD spend more than anybody but always deliver lower scores and graduation rates. Where oh where is all that money going? ...more
By maxwell (169), speonk on Jun 13, 12 1:13 PM
Every year, the Tuckahoe taxpayers vote yes to keeping WHB as an option. We just voted yes again last month. Why is the Tuckahoe School Board going directly against the results of the vote??? And can they do that?
By lauraj80ft (3), southampton on Jun 13, 12 1:34 PM
For years Southampton SD has been balancing its budget on the backs of Tuckahoe residents. We've been ripped off for years. This year is the rude awakening when half the 8th grade parents have decided to take the WHB option. Why? It's obvious. It's a better school. And no beatings. And no shotguns in the back seats of cars. Why would you expect anything different?

In terms of the Tuckahoe board Grindle's out. Say what you want but she actually gave a damn. Grisnik and Steude are ...more
By tuckahoebob (4), Southampton on Jun 14, 12 6:16 AM
1 member liked this comment
Tuckahoe Bob, it is actually more than half of the students. My son is in 8th grade he and 13 others have chose WHB out of a class of 24
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Jun 14, 12 9:49 AM

Some parents will always give more value to convenience and familiarity. But those who really look to their kids' academic futures and want to give their kids the maximum academic advantages will mostly go to WHB, and hopefully Pierson as well .

Negotiating with SHSD on an exclusive contract is a fool's errand that will go nowhere and will be rejected by the more enlightened sectors of Tuckahoe. Only the yahoos will support it!
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Jun 14, 12 12:51 PM
Check out the Mercy seniors who received MILLIONS in scholarship monies. These kids come from the East End and as far as western Suffolk. Their parents has suffered greatly over the years going to events NOT in their back yards but many miles away and have supported the school very well. Tuckahoe students should be given the chance to go to WHB if they choose since a quality of education is so much better that the the taxpayers will give the support regardless of cost(which is cheaper). Southampton ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 17, 12 5:32 PM
Check out the Mercy seniors who received MILLIONS in scholarship monies. These kids come from the East End and as far as western Suffolk. Their parents has suffered greatly over the years going to events NOT in their back yards but many miles away and have supported the school very well. Tuckahoe students should be given the chance to go to WHB if they choose since a quality of education is so much better that the the taxpayers will give the support regardless of cost(which is cheaper). Southampton ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 17, 12 5:48 PM
sorry hit submit twice
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 17, 12 5:48 PM