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 Hechinger Report, and Education Week. A graduate of Smith College, she spent two years at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in East Hampton with her husband and young son.
The East Hampton Star
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The East Hampton School Board convened a nearly two-hour education forum on Tuesday night, during which it explored the possibility of expanding its technology programs while facing lean financial times.
Richard Burns, the superintendent, explained that the district has cut $5 million in recent years since the imposition of the statewide 2-percent tax cap, while also adding classes in robotics, computer programming, and coding. But he foresees another challenging year ahead, with “probably a $600,000 increase budget to budget.
Following more than eight years of legal back-and-forth, the East Hampton School District’s ongoing battle with Sandpebble Builders will finally get its day in court. During Wednesday night’s school board meeting, Richard Burns, the superintendent, announced that a trial is set to begin on May 4.
“It’s the earliest date available based on courts, witnesses, and attorneys’ schedules,” he said. The board had previously expected the trial to begin later this fall. “It’s out of our control. It is what it is.”
Emotions ran high during a two-hour Springs School Board meeting on Monday night, during which time a recent state comptroller’s audit was discussed at length. Auditors concluded that Springs had accumulated an unrestricted fund balance nearly four times the allowable amount.
By 2012-13, the unrestricted fund balance, or rainy day fund, had ballooned to $3.8 million, or nearly 15 percent of the $25 million budget. State law requires that such funds be limited to 4 percent.
During Tuesday night’s meeting, the East Hampton School Board approved environmental assessments for the construction of new security vestibules at the front entrances of each of the district’s three schools.
“We’re upgrading the entrances to all three buildings,” said Jackie Lowey, a board member. “It’s part of the security audit that was discussed during executive session. This is the result of those conversations.”
Parents and school administrators were on high alert Tuesday afternoon, following news that Southampton Elementary School would shutter its doors for a thorough cleaning yesterday after one of its students had come down with enterovirus.
A letter from Scott Farina, the district’s superintendent, said that the student did not have enterovirus 68, a pernicious strain of an otherwise common virus that causes respiratory distress — and whose rapid and sudden onset is a particular threat to infants, children, and teenagers.
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.