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Southampton School District to hold meeting on possible Tuckahoe merger
The Southampton School District will hold another community meeting Wednesday night to discuss the proposed merger with the Tuckahoe School District amid concerns by town residents over an increase in taxes.
The meeting will take place at the Rogers Memorial Library on Windmill Lane at 7 p.m. Another community meeting was scheduled Oct. 21.
“There is certainly some vocal opposition,” said Scott Farina, Southampton’s school superintendent. “From what I can tell, it’s based on the tax impact.”
He said the district is working with state representatives, Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) and Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) on easing the tax increase that Southampton residents would face.
While Tuckahoe school taxes would decrease by an estimated 65 percent, taxes in the wealthier Southampton School District would increase in the first year by 8.67 percent, according to a study this year commissioned by both districts.
The proposal would combine Tuckahoe and Southampton school districts starting next school year. Voters in both districts will have to vote on Oct. 29. If successful, there will be another vote on Dec. 5.
The plan would save, overall, millions of dollars in school costs between the two districts.
Tuckahoe’s school tax rate is currently three times higher than Southampton’s. Its property tax base includes many high-value oceanfront second homes without any students in them.
The Southampton Association, a nonprofit based in Southampton Village that advocates on local policy issues, took out an advertisement this week in the local weekly urging a no vote on the merger.