Thanks to the efforts of some parents whose children attend the Sagaponack School, the district’s superintendent and school board are again exploring adding the Bridgehampton School as an option for Sagaponack students in fourth grade and above.
The district has a contract now to send 4th through 12th graders to the East Hampton or Sag Harbor schools.
Alan Van Cott of the Sagaponack School District and Robert Hauser of the Bridgehampton School District will meet in about two weeks for a conversation and a tour of the building. During a Sept. 11 school board meeting, Mr. Van Cott said a list of questions has been prepared for Mr. Hauser and that two more visits to Bridgehampton, another in October and one in November, will be planned.
“In December, the board would get the findings, and make a statement in January,” Mr. Van Cott said.
Sagaponack would pay tuition to send students to Bridgehampton between 4th and 12th grades. Currently, one family pays tuition out-of-pocket to send its children to Bridgehampton.
Diana Payne, a Sagaponack parent, presented the school board with a letter signed by several others who would like to have the option of sending their children to Bridgehampton in the future. She indicated that some fully support the idea already, while others want more information.
“Here’s to the new year,” Ms. Payne said.
Cathy Hatgistavrou, the school board president, replied to Ms. Payne by saying, “We’ve made a pledge to look into it and so we took that seriously. We’ve been formulating questions and things we need to do to resolve any issues or what they have available for us there.”
Mr. Hauser called the possibility “extremely positive for both districts.” The conversation first started in the spring.
“It’s a great conversation and I’m glad it started again,” he said.
Mr. Hauser suggested that Bridgehampton is a great place for Sagaponack children because it is a single school building that houses all grades.
“They are in a very small, one-school-building type of environment,” he said. “For them to come to Bridgehampton, it’s a very similar transition. They’re coming to one school, one of only three left in Suffolk County that have kindergarten through 12th in one building.”
Schools such as Sagaponack and Wainscott are called “sending districts” when they pay tuition to other schools that accommodate students above the third grade. Bridgehampton would charge the Sagaponack School District $13,000 per student in the fourth through sixth grades, and $17,500 for students in the seventh through 12th grades. The parents’ private placement tuition rate, when they choose to send their children on their own to Bridgehampton, is $6,500 for up to sixth grade and $8,000 for seventh and up.