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Say ‘Yes’

Wed, 05/15/2024 - 18:49


In this space two weeks ago, we quoted Adam Fine, the superintendent of East Hampton School District, on the best reason to vote “yes” on the school-budget votes approaching on Tuesday: Draw a straight line between Covid-19 and the tax caps, he said. Covid may be in the rearview window for most adults, but that isn’t so for kids whose daily education and long-term development took blow after blow during, what to them, was an endless pandemic.

This logic applies equally to the Springs School and Amagansett School votes.

Just say “yes” to the kids.

We agree with those who would argue that the taxpayers of Springs already carry an unfair burden in our otherwise largely wealthy town. But the unfairness of the burden on Springs is all the more reason to say “yes.” Springs educators are stewards of a high concentration of school-age kids who are new English learners; many of these kids are coping with early trauma or special needs. Addressing the inequity of the situation — perhaps by revisiting consolidation of school districts — is an argument for another day. Today, there are urgent and unavoidable reasons why the budget should be approved. The mandatory high school tuition that must be paid to East Hampton is on the rise; needs are great in the areas of English as a new language and special education; and the district has wisely planned to transition to a modern reading curriculum, the Science of Reading, to replace a model that has been shown to be ineffective. “Yes” is a necessity for the future well-being of our town.

We also acknowledge that there has been a certain amount of chaos over in the Amagansett School District. But voters should still say “yes” to the proposed $13.44 million — again, for the kids. Turnover in the superintendent and principal roles is concerning, but those issues need to be decoupled from the budget vote and are also topics for another day. All these schools have only two chances to pass their budgets, or austerity plans automatically kick in. That would mean cuts to the tune of $800,000 for Amagansett. What might face the ax: prekindergarten for 3-year-olds, field trips, summer enrichment programs? Despite a bit of drama at board meetings, and in the administrative staffing, Amagansett is a Blue Ribbon school for a reason and it merits taxpayers’ confidence.

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