During Tuesday night's budget hearing, Larry Luce, business administrator of the Hampton Bays School District, made his pitch to a small portion of the public for their support for the 2011-2012 .
Focusing on what the public is getting for their money, or return on investment, Luce listed the improvement in the school’s graduation rate, which now stands at 92 percent, the 85 percent of students graduating with a regents diploma and the amount of community work the students perform as a result of the character education that’s a part of the school’s curriculum.
Academically, Luce pointed to the rebirth of the Future Business Leader of America Club, the second place spots the took in its inaugural competition and the district’s participation in the Al Kalfus Long Island Mathematics Fair.
He also pointed out that enrollment at the middle school spiked with the completion of the new building; many of the new students were moving from parochial or private schools “because they liked what they saw, and we have a nice product he said.”
One man congratulated Luce on a job well done, but said his retired mother would have a hard time coming up with the $286 Luce estimates a household with a home worth $450,000 would see as an increase. He also asked if the district was planning ahead.
Luce replied they had a three-year plan, but a spike in enrollment, or the passage of a tax cap in Albany or continued loss of state funding would set the budget back.
"What’s the solution?," the man asked. "Teachers salaries aren’t going up are they? It can’t go on forever."
" I wish I had an answer," said Luce. "I've got to give you reality, too."
The vote is Tuesday May 17 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium.
To LED or not to LED
As a part of finishing the new middle school, Tom McElrath gave the board the numbers to help them choose whether to put an computerized sign on the front lawn, or an exchangeable letter sign like the one in front of the high school. McElrath showed a number of quotes, but basically, an LED sign costs twice as much. Members of the board said they’d support the exchangeable letter sign, for the obvious cost savings and to maintain the character of the hamlet.
The board recognized three students of the month and the valedictorian of the 2011 class, Pawel Golyski. The senior has chosen to attend Brown University in the fall to study engineering. He will leave Hampton Bays with a 107 GPA and hopefully (the score on his Spanish test has yet to come in) an unbroken streak of the highest score possible, a 5, on all his Advanced Placement tests. He also had a starring role in the school’s latest production, Grease.
Katerina Reich was honored as student of the month for the elementary school; Elvis Rojas for the middle school and Kala Lindtvit for the high school.
Luck had something to do with it
A the end of the hour and one half meeting teachers pulled from a spinning bin and announced the 36 four-year-olds who won a place in the school’s program for next fall. Eighteen students will attend the morning session, and 18 will go in the afternoon.
All 59 names in the basket were pulled and ranked in the event one of the first 36 did not work out.
The seats on one half of the room were nearly full with hopeful parents and patient children. If their child’s name was read, many of the parents quietly celebrated by clapping, smiling and hugging their child.