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Voters Approve Amagansett Budget

2012-13 budget passes by more than the 60 percent margin required under new state law; Wainscott, Montauk, East Hampton district budgets pass, as well.

The Amagansett School District's proposed 2012-13 budget that looked to pierce the new state-mandated 2 percent tax levy increase cap passed on Tuesday. Budgets elsewhere in East Hampton Town were easily approved.

With a final tally of 252-to-98, Amagansett voters approved a $9.7 million budget, which amounted to a 5.21 percent increase in spending and 3.99 percent increase in the tax levy.

The Governor's new law required budgets that's tax levies increased by more than 2 percent, with some exemptions, had to pass by a 60 percent super-majority vote. Amagansett's passed by 72 percent. 

Whether the budget had the necessary passage rate came down to the approximately 65 absentee ballots. The machine votes were 212-to-79. 

"We're just very appreciative that the community supports our programming," said Superintendent and principal Eleanor Tritt. 

The tax rate increase is 3.89 percent, or $28.49 per $100 of assessed value over $27.42 per $100 this current year.

The propositions asking voters to approve the district's tuition contract with East Hampton School District passed 264-to-85, and the proposition asking voters to sign off on the Amagansett Library's $886,994 budget passed 281-to-68. Due to the way the new state law related to the tex levy cap is worded, the other propositions on the ballot had to pass by a 60 percent margin, as well.

Meanwhile, incumbent Mary Lownes was re-elected with 252 votes, 33 of which were absentees. Rona Klopman, a retired school teacher, tried to unseat her. She received 81 votes, 23 of which were absentees. 

"I'm pleased with the results. The community came out in force to support our school, our programs, our budget," said Mary Lownes, who said she was more concerned with the budget passing than winning her seat.

"My board has worked really hard over the past 10 years I've been on it to develop and sustain programming for our students. Knowing that our budget passed by 72 percent means that our constituents support us and validate our hard work and efforts," she said.

There were 292 voters in total using the machines and 60 handing in absentee ballots, according to district clerk Cheryl Bloecker.

EAST HAMPTON

In the East Hampton School District, the margin was quite large.

The passed 454-to-109. It is a 2.43 percent decrease over the current year's budget, but the tax rate is increases, though, by 3.18 percent.

"It's exciting. We're very appreciative of the taxpayers here," Interim Superintendent Rich Burns said. "We tried to be open and transparent through the whole budget process." He added, "It's nice to put this to bed."

Liz Pucci was elected with 503 votes and newcomer Christina DeSanti was elected to the board with 484. Pucci is a member of the board currently, having been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Stephen Talmage in July 2011. DeSanti will take the seat of current board president Laura Anker Grossman who did not seek re-election after 20 years on the board.

District clerk Kerri Stevens said there were 44 absentee ballots, with 31 voting for and 13 voting against the budget.

MONTAUK

The $18.5 million budget for the Montauk School District passed 214-to-68.

was re-elected to the board of education with 237 votes.

There were 285 voters in totals with six votes being cast by absentee ballot, according to district clerk Grace Lightcap.

There were six write-in candidates who received a total of 14 votes, Lightcap said. Lee White, who originally put in a nominating petition and then withdrew it, received 9.

WAINSCOTT

The $3.5 million budget in East Hampton's smallest school district easily passed on Tuesday with an average turnout, 40-to-2.

Two ran for two seats on the board of education. received the most votes with 32 and won the full three-year term that was on the ballot. Incumbent received the second highest with 27 and will fill therefore fill the unexpired seat of and be up for re-election in two years.

Two other propositions on the ballot also passed. Voters approved the establishment of a Capital Reserve Fund 37-to-5 and the tuition agreement with East Hampton School District 27-to-15.

District clerk Mary McCaffrey reported there were a total number of 43 voters, with not a single absentee ballots.

Sag Harbor

Springs

Sag Harbor and Springs kept the polls open until 9 p.m. Please check back later for those results.

With reporting by Heather Dubin from the East Hampton School Board meeting.

Correction: Lee White received the write-in votes, not Rick White.

Lady L May 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Voters must love new taxes. While the governor and our town leadership are trying to reduce property taxes, the few voters who manage to show up are eager to increase our taxes every year. We are on the course to bankrupt the community we love. The taxes are unsustainable. Schools should learn to live within their means, just as the rest of us must do.
Loretta Lynch May 16, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Children are our future, a good education is imperative. We may even be able to educate some to be our future politicians who will understand and work at getting the national debt down. Never skimp on education.
amagansett voter May 16, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Spending well over $50,000 per student in Amagansett is a totally waste of money. No more is gained in the education of the children by throwing money out the window. The 298 "yes" votes represent the parents and grandparents of students who would be far better off asking for the $50,000 in cash to choose an education choice for their children. I think most would vote no on this budget if they could use the savings from waste to fund the future educational needs such as college or beyond. While some of the "no" votes don't want tax increase. Some others are just shocked that Amagansett can waste some much money on education. This is not an efficient "real world" school system. The students and taxpayers would be far better off, if we just privatize the school district...jettison the waste...fund long term education. Its time to think about education overall.
Bill Graham May 16, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I hope to have kids that may to school there someday but does anyone know what this means for our prop taxes?
Bill Graham May 16, 2012 at 05:45 PM
sorry, just saw the increases above.. this could amount in a hefty increase for me.. not happy..
Lady L May 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM
How is it that other schools can educate their children for far less than ours? I believe combining schools, getting rid of superintendents and having teachers contribute more to their pensions and insurance will save the tax payers quite a bit of money. My best friend teaches school in Utah and their students are educated for 1/10th the amount budgeted for Amagansett school. If these children were testing highest in the state, or nation, maybe it would be worth the tons of money we're plowing into that school.
Elaine Jones May 22, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I believe it is $64 Dollars a year and well worth the money for our kids. Amagansett is the lowest for taxes than any other town in East Hampton so we shouldn't complain. It was all about the tuition. I agree with Loretta. The children are our future and if we can't give them the best shame on us.
amagansett voter May 22, 2012 at 07:37 AM
The issue is about wasting money. The Amagansett School spents more than three times (thats 300%) more money to educate a child then the state average.

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