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Long IslandSuffolk

Southampton school district


10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Southampton Intermediate School music room.


The district proposes a $65,103,073 budget for 2015-16, a 4.62 percent increase from the current $62,228,698. The local tax levy would increase 3.69 percent, from $50,737,842 to $52,608,247.

The increase equals the state's tax-cap limit of 3.69 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on a home with an assessed value of $500,000 would increase 1.83 percent, from $1,200 to $1,222.

The budget includes 7.5 new teaching positions and proposes smaller elementary and secondary class sizes. Teachers are without a contract and no estimated salary increase was available, the district said.

Residents also will vote on a proposition for $1.14 million in building improvements, including ceiling work and locker room renovations at the intermediate school and installation of a classroom bathroom and ceiling soundproofing at the elementary school. The proposition would not cause the district to pierce the state's tax cap.

District website:


Incumbents Roberta O. Hunter and Donald King, as well as Robert Fischette and Natalie Sisco are vying for two at-large seats. Terms are four years. None of the candidates is running with another.

Roberta O. Hunter

BACKGROUND: Hunter, 63, is a lawyer. She has lived on the Shinnecock Reservation for 37 years and was a founder of the Shinnecock Tribal Council. She has also been active at the Watermill Center, Parish Art Museum and Southampton Historical Society, where she served as a trustee and head of the collection committee. She graduated with a bachelor's from Bennington College in Vermont in 1974, from LIU Post with a master's in 1981 and from CUNY Law School in 1987. Her youngest child is in the 11th grade at Southampton High School. Another child graduated from the Ross School in 2000 and another from Southampton in 1999. She is seeking re-election and has served twice on the school board. She also has served on the Southampton Town Board.

ISSUES: Hunter said she wants to focus on closing the achievement gap between high-performing students and others. She called the budget "a strong budget that has really been able to speak to the needs of the school district," including adding more teachers. It also includes meeting the needs of the growing Spanish-speaking population in the district. Hunter would like to add more student voices to school board discussions, and proposed having a nonvoting student representative. While she supported the proposed merger with Tuckahoe school district, she said the proposal is off the table for now as voters twice rejected it. She said the discussion would likely come up again, but would not move forward until there's legislative action to lower the property tax increase Southampton residents would have to take under a merger.

Donald King

BACKGROUND: King, 58, is vice president of the school board. He is a private club manager and has been a resident of the school district his whole life. He graduated from Southampton High School in 1975 and graduated from the SUNY Plattsburg in 1979 with a bachelor's. He has been treasurer of the Southampton Fire Department for the past eight years and has held a variety of leadership positions in the fire department for 34 years. He is a Cub Scout pack leader, Elks Club member and a trustee of the East End Health Plan. He has three children, two of whom have graduated; the third is in the 11th grade at Southampton High School. He has served on the school board from 2005 to the present.

ISSUES: King said the district needs to improve the performance of all students while spending within the state's tax cap and meeting state and federal requirements. The school board has been trying to work together for the benefit of the students, to make them competitive with students from across the globe. He said voters had sent a message on the proposed school district merger with Tuckahoe, which he had supported. He said there would need to be state legislation to address the property tax increase Southampton residents would face before it had a chance of being brought forward again.

Robert Fischette

BACKGROUND: Fischette, 37, has lived in the school district for 21 years, with absences for prep school, college and law school. He graduated from Avon Old Farms School, in Connecticut, in 1995, received a bachelor's degree from Boston College in 1999 and a law degree from New York Law School in 2004. He also is a Little League coach in Southampton. He has three children; a second-grader and pre-K student at Southampton Elementary School, and an 8-month-old. His wife, Nicole Fischette, is a teacher in Tuckahoe Common School District in Southampton. This is his first run for school board.

ISSUES: Fischette said he wants to address frustration of the Common Core standards and high-stakes testing by listening to students, families and teachers. Before coming to any conclusions, he said he wants to learn more about it. "There are a lot of questions and frustrations with the system," he said. He was torn on the consolidation -- his wife's job as a teacher in Tuckahoe could be in jeopardy with the consolidation -- but ultimately had favored it. "Ultimately, if you were starting a school from scratch, you wouldn't design a school district and carve out another small district from it," he said.

Natalie Sisco

BACKGROUND: Sisco, 33, was a teacher at the Peconic Community School in Riverhead before staying home with her 2-year-old son. She also has a stepson in the ninth grade. Her husband is a teacher at Southampton Middle School. She graduated from Long Island University with a bachelor's degree in 2005 and from Walden University, an online school, with a master's degree in 2007. She has lived in the school district for 12 years.

ISSUES: Sisco said being a teacher herself, she feels she can listen to teachers for ideas. "I feel like I can have a close relationship with teachers, can talk to them, go into classrooms and get some ideas of what's working and what needs to be improved," she said.

She would support another attempt at a merger with Tuckahoe school district. "It brings our community closer. I feel those students deserve a chance to be a part of the community."


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