There were congratulations to go around at an April 3 East Hampton School Board meeting at which it was announced that the district would be able to put its 2012-13 budget to voters while staying within a state-mandated 2-percent cap on the increase in the tax levy. Numerous cuts, especially to personnel, have resulted in a $62.8 million spending plan that stays within the cap. Voters are expected to look favorably on these results when they go to the poll on May 17.
In Springs, however, there was less celebration at last week’s meeting. Popular programs, including some sports, staff, and funding for Project MOST, an after-school program, are on the chopping block as that district’s board struggles to keep the tax increase low. Staying within the 2-percent cap means that the board can ask voters to approve no more than a $24.6 million budget for 2012-13.
For any of the districts, going above the 2-percent ceiling would require winning more than three-fifths of the vote on May 17, an apparently impossible task. Difficult decisions are being made to get to the point where approval is merited. The members of both districts’ boards are to be commended for the difficult work they are doing.