The East Hampton School Board announced last week that it is likely to seek voter approval to exceed the state cap on tax increases for 2014-15. The move is not entirely unexpected, and appears justified, at least for the coming year. But this should not be the end of the discussion about taxpayer support of public education.
Perhaps the single most important story in any recent Star was the one that appeared on the front page of last Thursday’s edition about the desperate need for adequate mental health services for school-age children.
Think about what that means for a moment. What pediatricians, teachers, school nurses, administrators, and others are saying is that there are more kids at risk here than there are practitioners able to help them. This must change — and fast.
The East Hampton Town Trustees’ concern about a possible alcohol ban at some ocean beaches should not be allowed to derail it. They own most of the beaches and should have been included in the discussions so far, but there is still time to join the conversation.
With a wink and a nod, East Hampton Town officials went out of their way to lavish praise and give quick approval for a project that radically altered a portion of the Montauk oceanfront landscape. Now, the suspiciously anonymous owner of the former East Deck Motel at Ditch Plain is dangling an expensive thank-you in the form of tons of fill that would be used at his or her cost to build a protective berm at a public parking lot nearby. Officials should think twice.
A Manhattan man’s nightmare that began after the apartment he rented out using an online service has implications for would-be landlords and policymakers on the South Fork. Ari Teman is now faced with eviction and living in a hotel room after someone who rented his Seventh Avenue pad via Airbnb used it to host a for-profit orgy.
New York’s swans may have been unaware that their goose was nearly cooked when the state announced a plan to eliminate them in a decade. But abandoning the swan population’s reduction raises a basic question about public pressure and legislative interference in science-based policy.
A pending public purchase of a roughly 16-acre parcel in Springs and allowing the site to be subdivided and developed, with an eight-acre, private reserved area, are not the same thing at all. Yet that is what some in the hamlet and a committee that advises the East Hampton Town Board appear to believe.
By now local school boards are deep into the annual budget-writing season, and once again we hear that tax increases must be kept below the 2-percent cap. We believe the time has come, however, for boards to deal head-on with the state-imposed curb by bringing spending plans that would result in exceeding the cap to voters, if necessary, or by taking serious steps toward reducing costs by consolidating districts.