Southampton Voters Reject Merger With Tuckahoe

Tuckahoe School
Tuckahoe School. Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

While 94 percent of Tuckahoe School District voters were in favor of merging with Southampton School District in a straw vote Tuesday, the proposal only mustered the support of 39 percent of Southampton voters.

Both districts needed to vote in favor in order for the plan to move forward. Had the measure passed passed Tuesday, a binding vote would have been held before the end of the year.

YES  565 
NO   35
YES  693
NO  1075

Southampton School District has been the receiving district for most of Tuckahoe’s ninth- through 12th-graders for decades, but in recent years Tuckahoe residents have decried how their taxes keep rising to be able to afford Southampton High School tuition. The districts came to an agreement in which Southampton would offer a discounted tuition rate as long as Tuckahoe send 100 percent of its high school-age students to Southampton, rather than sending some to Southampton High School and some to Westhampton Beach High School.

A study commissioned by both districts to analyze a potential merger estimated that if Southampton were to annex Tuckahoe, the tax rate for the 2014-15 school year would be $2.63 across the board. Officials said current Tuckahoe School District residents could see their tax rate dip 65%, while the tax rate could go up 8.7% for current Southampton School District residents.

The Tuckahoe School Board meets next on November 4 in the Tuckahoe School library at 7:30 p.m. In a posting about the vote results on the district website, the the Tuckahoe trustees said they will deliberate over the next few months the district’s 2013-14 budget and plans for Tuckahoe School’s future. “We have time to plan our children’s future well,” the trustees said.

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