In a reversal, members of the public are now invited to attend a planned meeting between the Southampton and Tuckahoe school boards.
Monday night, at the Tuckahoe School Board's first meeting since voters rejected a proposed $17.8 million budget, Chairman Robert Grisnik announced that Tuckahoe board members and administrators and their counterparts at Southampton School District would be meeting June 6 — privately.
But having the meeting behind closed doors did not sit well with some, and the boards have now reversed the decision to exclude the public.
Southampton School District Superintendent J. Richard Boyes, Ed.D, said Thursday that the boards were originally planning an informal meeting at the Southampton Publick House, simply to have the opportunity to get to know each other, having never all met face-to-face before.
Boyes said no effort was made to have a meeting in private that legally should have been public.
Nevertheless, the meeting has now been moved to the . It will take place at 7 p.m. on June 6, and members of the public will be welcome.
Grisnik said Monday that topping the meeting's agenda is "strengthening the future relationship of Southampton and Tuckahoe."
Tuckahoe does not have a high school of its own, and instead gives parents the choice between sending their ninth- through 12th-graders to or Westhampton Beach High School. Tuckahoe must pay out-of-district tuition costs to the high schools. Because Southampton has a higher cost-per-student, Westhampton Beach is the cheaper of the two.
“Everything’s on the table," Grisnik said. "We have to talk about tuition. We know that other districts will charge us less if we went there.”
The tuition rate Southampton currently charges Tuckahoe is based on the Seneca Falls formula, a New York State method designed to set a fair rate. But opposition to the formula has been stirring lately in Tuckahoe, where a reduced rate could significantly reduce the tax levy as well.
While it is too late to affect the 2012-13 budget, if the Southampton School Board agrees to slash tuition costs for Tuckahoe in the future, it could avert a fallout between the districts.
Tuckahoe will on June 19. If the budget fails again, the district will not be able to raise the tax levy and more than $300,000 will have to be stripped out of the original proposal that voters defeated May 15.