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Long IslandEducation

Sag Harbor school district


7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Pierson High School.


The district proposes a $38,773,989 budget for 2016-17, a 3.25 percent increase from the current $37,552,566. The tax levy would rise 2.98 percent, from $34,050,000 to $35,065,000.

This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 3.2 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family house would increase 2.9 percent, from $5,072 to $5,219.

The proposed budget includes a 0.75 percent contractual increase and 1.89 percent step increase for teachers. The district said it may reduce programs or use reserves to cover any financial shortfall.

A proposition asks for authorization to issue $10,233,500 in bonds to purchase and repair the former Stella Maris Regional Catholic School at 135 Division St., which the district could use as a prekindergarten and early-intervention facility. The Diocese of Rockville Centre closed the school, which served students in kindergarten through eighth grade, in 2011 because of declining enrollment. Approval of the proposition would have no impact on taxes in 2016-17, the district said.

  • District website:


Incumbents Susan Kinsella and Chris Tice and candidates Roxanne Briggs and Susan Lamontagne are vying for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Roxanne Briggs

BACKGROUND: Briggs, 58, is a real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens of the Hamptons and has lived in the district for 30 years. She formerly owned Punch children’s clothing store, which had locations in Sag Harbor, East Hampton and Shelter Island. Briggs has a high school diploma from Hampton Day School in Bridgehampton, which now is part of The Ross School. She served two years on the board of Hampton Day School. She has three children, including one currently attending Pierson High School.

ISSUES: Briggs said she would bring “years of experience as a business owner of retail stores” to the school board. “I realize that creating a school budget is challenging,” she said, “but the years of running my own business made me familiar with learning how to cut costs and trying to manage a budget.” Briggs said she opposes the use of synthetic turf on the high school playing field because “of health concerns.” “Unlike many other schools, it’s the only playing field we have and would be used for all practices and events,” she said. Briggs supports the current expansion of the International Baccalaureate program from the high school to younger grades.

Susan Kinsella

BACKGROUND: Kinsella, 53, is a homemaker with two children attending a district school. She has lived in the district for 15 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Adelphi University and worked as a certified public accountant and financial statement auditor for Arthur Andersen in Melville and Manhattan before leaving the profession 15 years ago. She was elected to the school board in 2006 but did not seek re-election. She was appointed in 2011 to replace a board member who resigned. Kinsella was elected in 2012 and is the current board president.

ISSUES: Kinsella said she would focus on expanding shared services with other districts. Kinsella could not be reached for further comment.

Susan Lamontagne

BACKGROUND: Lamontagne, 51, is a communications consultant and president of the Public Interest Media Group, a business specializing in health, education and the environment. She has lived in the district for 16 years. Lamontagne has a bachelor’s degree in government and English from Lehigh University. She is a lead coordinator for Start School Later Long Island, a nonprofit organization. Her two children attend district schools.

ISSUES: Lamontagne said she is a proponent of later daily start times for schoolchildren. “Schools that have made the switch [to later start times] have seen improvements in academic performance and attendance, and decreases in depression, teen-related accidents and substance abuse,” she said. Lamontagne advocated for halting the use of synthetic turf on athletic fields in favor of “an organic, healthy option,” saying the synthetic material is “packed with carcinogens and neurotoxins.” She said, “I want to be an advocate for creative solutions,” such as shared programming with other school districts.

Chris Tice

BACKGROUND: Tice, 55, is senior managing director of the Corcoran Group’s Sag Harbor and Montauk offices. She has lived part-time in Sag Harbor since the 1960s and has been a full-time resident for the past 11 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University at Albany. Tice is a former senior vice president of marketing and revenue for Sony Online Entertainment in Manhattan. She has three children, two of whom currently attend district schools and one who is a recent graduate. She was elected to the school board in 2010 and is its current vice president.

ISSUES: Tice said the school board’s biggest challenge “is to continue to raise the bar in academic excellence and prepare students for college and career readiness while under the increasing pressures of the tax cap and unfunded mandates.” During the past year, she said, the district expanded its focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by adding computer-science-related classes and clubs in all district schools. The district’s fiscal health has “greatly improved” during her board tenure, she said, adding, “I will continue to advocate for collaboration with surrounding districts to leverage savings and increase student opportunities through shared services.”

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