The proposed 2014-15 Amagansett School budget, $10.47 million, represents a spending increase of 2.5 percent over last year, Eleanor Tritt, the district superintendent, told the school board at a budget hearing Tuesday night. The tax levy will increase by 1 percent, slightly under the state-imposed cap. A vote on the budget will be held at the school on Tuesday from 2 to 8 p.m.
The proposed budget, Ms. Tritt told the board, is “a representation of how we can provide our mission and our goals for our students and the community.” Those goals are to maintain “the quality, well-rounded educational program that we have for all students” that will prepare them for success in life by providing “the necessary resources to develop 21st-century skills,” she said. At the same time, she said, the administration strives for efficiency in operations and management.
Benefits and support staff for children with special needs are among the main reasons for the budget increase, Ms. Tritt said. “We really tried to hold the line or cut back in every area we have control over,” she said. “The teachers took a salary freeze, so that was an enormous help to the budget.” State aid, she added, has remained relatively unchanged for several years.
Implementation of new, state-mandated data systems and incorporation of the Common Core curriculum standards are costly, Ms. Tritt said. “Luckily, we have good technical support, but as we keep adding programs and new items that are connected technologically, it requires expanding our bandwidth and servers.”
Costs continue to shift to school districts, she said, while costs related to security systems and health care and retirement programs continue to escalate. “Every new program imposes costs on us in terms of training and materials, people being out of the district to gain that information, and providing the resources to meet those mandates.”
“We feel it’s a reasonable budget,” Ms. Tritt said. “The increase is very slight, and taxpayers should feel a very small increase.”
Along with the budget vote, three candidates — Patrick Bistrian, Phelan Wolf, and Patrick Bistrian III — are running unopposed for the school board.