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Letter: School merger would benefit kids

Residents who want Southampton and Tuckahoe schools to

Residents who want Southampton and Tuckahoe schools to merge made emotional appeals for the districts to unite during a meeting of about 75 residents. Pictured is the exterior of Tuckahoe Common School on Magee Street in Southampton on Sept. 19, 2013. Credit: Randee Daddona

I believe we should vote yes on the Southampton-Tuckahoe school merger on Nov. 18 ["Districts to vote on merger," News, Sept. 24].

We all live in one community together and it should be one school. Many of usshop in the same local stores, work locally, and go to the same social events and kids' birthday parties. Our kids play on the same sporting teams and attend summer camps together. This is about our children and what is best for them.

Tuckahoe's tax rate is much higher than Southampton's, meaning a merger would cause taxes in Tuckahoe to drop and taxes in Southampton to rise. Southampton voters said they feared a sudden tax hike and last year the merger was voted down.

However, $9 million in capital reserves now set aside for a new Southampton administration building would be used instead to maintain the school district's estimated tax rate and avoid a significant increase in property taxes for Southampton. Increases would gradually be phased in over 10 years.

Scott Farina, the Southampton school superintendent, said the merger would result in enhanced learning opportunities and help maintain extracurricular activities. Students could be grouped in developmentally appropriate ways.

Officials also say the merger could save taxpayers in the new district $4 million a year through the elimination of about a half-dozen administrative positions.

Claudia Kosciusko, Southampton