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Update: Sag Harbor School Budget, Tax Rate Would Increase

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 07:33

Update, May 28: The Sag Harbor School District on Tuesday released a corrected version of its budget impact statement.

If the school budget is approved on June 9 there would be an increase in school taxes, not a decrease, as reported here on May 14. An East Hampton Town homeowner whose house has a fair market value of $1,000,000 would see an approximately $52 increase for the year, and in Southampton Town a house with the same value would see an increase of about $51.

The $44.33 million budget itself has not changed since the district adopted it on May 11.

Originally, May 14: The Sag Harbor School District is projecting a small decrease in school taxes for the 2020-21 school year, even though a 2.71-percent increase to the tax levy itself is proposed. Voters will weigh in on the $44.33 million spending plan by June 9 via absentee ballot, which they will receive in the mail along with a postage-paid return envelope.

“The adopted budget supports an educational program that meets the needs of all students,” District Superintendent Jeff Nichols said by email on Tuesday. “It includes additional resources for mathematics and English language-learner instruction, while continuing to provide enriching experiences through artistic, cultural, and athletic programs.”

For the East Hampton Town side of Sag Harbor, a resident with a house at a fair market value of about $1.1 million will pay about $80 less in taxes. For a Sag Harbor homeowner on the Southampton side of the village, in a house at a fair market value of $1 million, taxes will be about $70 less.

Notable in the budget proposal is a $370,789 drop in the payments the district makes on the capital debt it has accrued over the years. Laurie Baum, the district’s business administrator, credited the drop to the fact that the district’s 2016 bond issue was recently paid off. New bonds now being issued for the Sag Harbor Learning Center will be approximately “half the cost of the prior debt,” she said. “The district planned the transition of debt in this manner to mitigate the effect on the tax levy.”

A second ballot proposition requests permission to buy a new school bus at a cost of $56,068 from a reserve fund dedicated to transportation needs. School officials have said this will not increase taxes because they have the money already set aside.     

Five people have submitted petitions to run for three seats on the school board. They are Sandi Kruel, a former longtime board member, Helen Roussel and Ronald Reed, who would be newcomers to the board, and Brian DeSesa and Alex Kriegsman, both of whom are incumbents. Diana Kolhoff, a six-year member whose term is up on June 30, has chosen not to seek re-election.

Sag Harbor will have an online budget hearing on June 1 at 6:30 p.m. Details will be online at

This story has been updated to reflect new tax rate information, based on corrections made by the Sag Harbor School District on May 26.


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