It has been a relatively quiet budgeting season for the Shelter Island School District, settling on a $11.3 million spending plan for the next school year and maintaining all programs while avoiding going above the state-mandated tax levy cap.
Given the reality that cost increases are inevitable, we are confident that administrators and Board of Education members demonstrated a responsible approach to this budget.
We encourage a “yes” vote on the budget tomorrow.
We continue to recommend voters turn down a proposition that would extend from 15 miles to 16.5 miles the distance allowed for the district to pick up the tab for busing students to off-Island schools.
While the difference is slight, the hours of Our Lady of the Hamptons School don’t coordinate with those of the Ross and Hayground schools to which the district buses students. The result is a cost of more than $68,000 for a separate bus to accommodate Our Lady of the Hamptons students.
Expanding publicly funded busing means more off-Island options for students, which may further erode enrollment here.
Every dollar spent on off-Island costs is a dollar taken away from spending to make the Shelter Island School District the best it can be.
As for filling the three Board of Education seats for the next three years, we believe it’s time for a change. We endorse incumbents Linda Eklund and Elizabeth Melichar. But we recommend a vote for Tracy McCarthy to replace Alfred Brigham Sr.
Mr. Brigham is an intelligent and able educator, but his schedule during the past three years demonstrates he too often lacks the time necessary to give to his Board of Education responsibilities, placing a heavier burden on his colleagues.
Ms. McCarthy, despite time spent with her family and business, has been active in the community and demonstrated a knowledge of issues. We believe she would bring a fresh perspective to the Board of Education.
The polls are open from 12 noon to 9 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, May 16.