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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The stresses of budget season came to the fore this week as East Hampton School Board members, facing the need to make cuts for the third year in a row, discussed a host of possibilities, including the elimination of fall cheerleading and seventh and eighth-grade boys and girls tennis.
“It’s a difficult task,” said Richard Burns, the superintendent. The board has met at least once a week since the start of the year, doing line-by-line dissections in sessions that can last between four and five hours.
A line-by-line dissection of the East Hampton School District’s 2014-15 budget continued on Tuesday night, as school board members pored over items related to technology and special education.
Chuck Westergard, who manages the district’s information systems, presented a proposed technology budget of $537,015, an $8,000 decrease from last year.
On Monday night, for the first time, the Springs School Board pinned a specific number on the budget it is considering for the 2014-15 school year —$26.24 million — and discussed how it would impact taxpayers.
That number represents a $921,221, or 3.62-percent, increase over this year’s $25.4 million budget. The tax rate would increase by just over 4.4 percent, and the tax levy would increase by 3.18 percent.
It was death by a thousand cuts during the East Hampton School Board’s Tuesday evening budget workshop, as members of the board pored over items related to English as a second language, East Hampton Middle School, and the John M. Marshall Elementary School during a three-hour dissection of the budget.
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.