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New Civic Cites Homeless Families as Tax Burden in School District

According to the Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays, homeless families are one source of rising taxes in the district, accounting for 2.8 percent of the student population.

The newly-formed group, Concerned Citizens of Hampton Bays have released data that shows 2.8 percent of the Hampton Bays School District's student body is made up of kids that make their home at a hotel, motel or homeless shelter.

According to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the group, of the district's 2,031 students, 43 reside at a motel or hotel and 13 at the controversial Suffolk County homeless shelter at the Hidden Cove Motel.

The numbers speak for themselves, said Michael Dunn, president of the citizens' group. "Basically, these families are stealing $22,000 per child from the taxpayers of Hampton Bays."

"It is just not fair," said Dunn, whose group has made it a mission to rid the area of homeless shelters and overcrowded homes.

Dunn said the numbers don't even include all of the areas motels and hotels or the area homes that are have two, three and four families living in them.

But, Dunn said, those numbers are ones he intends get by having his members canvass Hampton Bays to count students at bus stops that come from houses that they believe are overcrowded. The numbers, he said, will help in his effort to keep the community informed. 

On Monday, Dunn says he has a meeting scheduled at town hall to talk about actions the town can take to reduce the density in the hamlet, as well as to stop the use of motels and hotels for transient residents and as homeless shelters.

Superintendent of Hampton Bays Schools Lars Clemensen said he knows all too well the toll on the district. Class size is just one issue, he said, pointing out that the average class size across the Town of Southampton, based on last year's NYS School Report Card, was 18 students, compared to Hampton Bays where that number stands at 23.

"We, as a community, continue to face issues of density, and the use of motels and cottages as apartments and a homeless shelter are two very quick ways to ensure our community remains dense, which is a challenge for us," said Clemensen, noting that the district is in constant communication with the state, the town and the county regarding the issue.

When it comes to homeless students, Clemensen said, the district is able to, in some cases, obtain reimbursement from the state through a system called,“STAC."

Clemensen explained that the Federal McKinney-Vento Act allows students that are considered homeless to either attend the school district they attended prior to going homeless or the school district in which they receive temporary housing.

"If a student chooses to come to Hampton Bays, for example, because the Suffolk County Department of Social Services placed them at the Hidden Cove Homeless Shelter, my staff will initiate a STAC process for that student," said Clemensen. "When we receive our state aid from the Albany, it will include an amount roughly equal to our non-resident tuition rate, approximately $14,000, which is pro-rated for the duration of time that the student attends Hampton Bays schools."

That said, if a homeless student comes from another state, no reimbursement can be obtained.

"NYS has no authority to recoup funds from another state’s agencies," said Clemensen, who said he could not disclose any specifics as to how many students the district obtains money for due to Federal privacy laws.

Patch wants to know: What do you think the town can do to reduce density in Hampton Bays? Comment below. 

Related Reading:

  • Residents Decry Hampton Bays Homeless Shelter
  • Patch Poll: Do you Agree With Placing a Homeless Shelter at the Hidden Cove Motel?
  • Town Won't Commence Legal Action Against Hidden Cove Motel
  • Motels Versus Apartments in Hampton Bays
  • New Community Group Aims to Clean Up Hampton Bays
  • Hampton Bays School Budget Approved
  • Student Enrollment up in Hampton Bays
Stacey Reister September 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
It's about time that something is being done about this! My daughters class in HBES 3rd grade is 24. Kudos Mike!
maria September 27, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Its not fair to homeowners who pay taxes.
jks September 27, 2012 at 03:05 PM
It is unfair to everyone paying these high taxes. Most families have to work 2 jobs just to support their families, their babies are not delivered free and they don't get free medical care,etc. This just contributes to the problem of overcrowding in our schools. Thank you Mike for working to do something about it.
Bojames September 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM
To say that homeless children's families are "stealing" from taxpayers is a bit harsh. Should we not educate them and thereby produce an uneducated underclass like say in India, or what existed in western civilization before free universal education? A democracy cannot exist that way..it is the path to civil unrest. The real issue is why the authorities that place a family in a shelter in a school district do not reimburse the district for the cost of educating that child. All children should be educated ..even the homeless ones.
CCHB September 28, 2012 at 03:00 PM
The 43 students that are coming from the motels that should not be used as year round residences and that are overcrowded as per Town and NY State laws are costing the taxpayers $ 22,000 each and that is not fair. I agree that all children have the right to an education and you are correct, in regard to the shelter, the tuition should be paid for to the Hampton Bays School District. But as it was stated in the article, if the student comes from another state, there is no reimbursement, and that is extremely unfair to the Hampton Bays taxpayer.
tom morro September 28, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Show some compassion and be grateful you are blessed with your own roof over your head...whatsoever you do for the least, you do for Me....Tom
Richard I September 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM
So i guess the solution would be to kick them out of the shelter they are in, make them homeless on the street which would bring other issues to the front like a public health concern, and let the kids go without an education which would possibly lead to higher crime statistics. Just kick them out of the neighborhood and make them someone else's problem Love the compassion coming from he east end. There is a reason they are homelss....possibly the un-employment rate? 8.2%.....yea right!How about like 20%. Lets fcus on getting them on their feet, a job, etc so that they can get into an apartment; etc.
Virginia Tran September 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM
A very logical point you make Richard
Diane Sadowski September 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Give them a home in Sagaponak. They only have about 20 students in that wealthy school district.
Hazel Wilkonson the First September 29, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Perhaps instead of attacking homeless people you heartless ignoramuses could spend your time trying to help them. What a disgusting story of human cruelty.
knowitall September 29, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Schools are funded by property taxes. The hotels/motel owners pay property taxes. What cruel people. I hope you never need a kind hand. You don;t deserve it.
b September 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
The property taxes paid by a hotel/motel are not the same tax base as those for a private home. They are NOT supposed to be housing children and sending them to school. They are supposed to be "temporary". All these cries of people being cruel are ridiculous. Everyone needs to pull their own weight. Why should HB carry the burden? Who exactly was "attacking homeless people"? I am never sure why people think that name calling is at all helpful to a debate. Certainly doesn't rectify the situation.
jks October 01, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Good idea Diane
john langan October 03, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Get rid of the illegals if you enforce the laws on housing and if you stop the illegal loitering it will make it harder for them to live here and they must move on to another location. I have rented in Hampton Bays and i just got the largest rent increase in my whole life from 1759.00 to 1875-00. I may have to move and i love my house and the landlord blames it all on tax increases

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