The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District has cut corners to keep its budget increase to just 1.72 percent this year, but the lone resident who spoke at last Thursday’s budget hearing wondered why one major piece of the school’s operations hasn’t been on the chopping block.
The former Cutchogue West Elementary School, which now serves as district office headquarters, “is a puzzle to me,” Curt Koch told the school board Thursday night. “To me that’s an easy cut to start chipping away at this. It’s a really easy way to go.”
The board has examined the possibility of vacating the Cutchogue West building and moving administrators to the Cutchogue East school, said board president Jerry Diffley.
But if the district rented out or sold the space, the fields where students still practice sports on a regular basis would be lost.
Mr. Diffley pointed to a recent late afternoon thunderstorm during which students practicing on the fields took shelter in the administration building.
He added that despite declining student enrollment at Cutchogue East, it would take a substantial investment to make room there for administration offices.
“Unless it’s reconfigured significantly, we don’t have the space,” he said. “Right now it hasn’t been our top priority.”
The 2012-13 budget going before voters on May 15 is just over $38 million. The district plans to raise $33.6 million of that through taxes, a 2.18 percent increase over the current year.
The tax rate would rise 2.19 percent, to $82.66 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Read more about the budget in Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times.