Gansett Pierces 2-Percent Cap

    It’s the tuition increase to the East Hampton schools of over $266,600 that is largely responsible for the Amagansett School District having to pierce the 2-percent cap on tax levy increases by over $323,000, Eleanor Tritt, the school’s superintendent, explained last Thursday.
    “Everyone’s really been working together to hold the line as much as we can,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the increase in tuitioned students, we’d be under the cap.”
    The Amagansett teachers have accepted a freeze on salary increases and steps in order to assist the district keeping costs down, Mrs. Tritt said.
     The 2011-12 budget is $9.19 million, the proposed 2012-13 budget is $9.66 million, a 5.21 percent increase, which translates roughly as a $64 difference over last year’s budget for the average home assessed at $6,000. If the district stayed within the cap, the yearly difference between this year and last would be a 3.69 percent increase, reflected as an additional $36 a year.
    As Mrs. Tritt explained, three Amagansett students are graduating as seniors from the high school this year. However, 19 students are entering seventh grade at the East Hampton Middle School. “That’s a big difference,” Mrs. Tritt said.
    In order to succeed, the budget will have to pass with a supermajority of the voters, or 60 percent. Mrs. Tritt and the district are counting on continued voter support.
    “We’re hoping that the community will understand that we’re obligated to provide the best education for our children,” she said. “The impact will be very moderate for the value of the programs.”
    The public hearing on the budget will be held at the school on Tuesday at a school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. The vote and candidate elections will be held on May 15 from 2 to 8 p.m.