Amanda M. Fairbanks previously worked in the editorial department of The New York Times and covered higher education for The Huffington Post. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The Hechinger Report, and Education Week. A graduate of Smith College, she spent two years at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Sag Harbor with her husband and two young children.
The East Hampton Star
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Though many local school board races have only incumbents running unopposed, Bridgehampton is an exception, with three residents vying for two slots.
Michael Gomberg, Jeffrey Mansfield, and Kathleen McCleland are in the running after Elizabeth Kotz and Gabriela Braia, two incumbents, decided against pursuing additional three-year terms.
A pair of drug-sniffing dogs from the Suffolk County Police Department’s K-9 Unit paid a surprise visit to East Hampton Middle School last Thursday. During the unexpected sweep, students remained in their classrooms as the dogs roamed the hallways and adjoining lockers, searching for illegal substances.
Ultimately, a small bag of marijuana was seized from a locker in the girls’ locker room and turned over to the East Hampton Village Police Department. According to Capt. Chris Anderson, the matter is now being handled internally by the school.
Before adjourning into the rain-soaked night, Tuesday night’s East Hampton School Board meeting took on a deeply personal tone, with recently terminated employees vociferously airing their grievances.
All told, the district sliced more than $1 million from the $65 million 2014-15 school budget. Among the cuts, the district eliminated seven paraprofessional positions and reduced an elementary guidance position to part time.
Tuesday’s meeting was heavily attended, with audience members spilling out into the adjoining hallway.
After weeks of review, the Springs School Board presented a final 2014-15 budget of $26.6 million last Thursday. Since last month’s meeting, the proposed budget has gone up more than $300,000, mainly due to an increase in enrollment and the consequent need for more personnel.
According to Eric Casale, the principal, enrollment now stands at 733 students in grades pre-K to 8. A year ago at this time, Springs had 701 students. Already, said Mr. Casale, 30 children have registered for pre-K in the fall and 62 for kindergarten.
On Tuesday night, following months of intense debate, the East Hampton School Board convened its last line-by-line budget workshop of the 2014-15 school year. Isabel Madison, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, led the presentation of the final budget numbers.
At East Hampton High School, for the second year in a row, two girls have been named valedictorian and salutatorian. Georgia Bennett is valedictorian and Cameron DiGate is salutatorian. They are cousins. Georgia will play the lead in next month's production of "Grease" and was also the valedictorian of her eighth-grade class at the East Hampton Middle School. Cameron is a student council representative and a varsity field hockey player. Come September, Georgia is headed to Northwestern University, while Cameron is undecided.