Southold held a budget forum and joint board meeting with neighbor district Greenport Wednesday night where board members discussed the intermunicipal agreement that’s expected to expire June 2019 unless renewed by both districts.
Dual Superintendent David Gamberg said preparing the 2019-2020 budget has been an “ongoing process.” Southold administrators are developing budgets based on staff, programs and classes. He expects the board will see the first draft of the budget over February break.
“Hopefully, in a couple of months, before April 1, they will pass a budget and we will know our state-aid situation,” he said.
Mr. Gamberg then invited members of the Southold community to express their concerns regarding the upcoming budget. Angela Tondo of Southold was the only person to approach the microphone.
“Thank you so much for everything you guys do,” Ms. Tondo said. “All I want to say is just keep doing what we’re doing, keep giving the kids these programs, the teacher support — it’s all money well spent.”
Following the brief forum, the superintendent presented an updated list of the shared services between the districts that exists through the intermunicipal agreement established in 2013. Mr. Gamberg said the agreement has saved an average of $200,000 annually in each district.
“It’s fair to say that we share more administrative staff between Southold and Greenport than any two districts on Long Island,” he said.
Southold and Greenport have shared student programs, including theater, robotics, television broadcasting, athletics, agriculture, ROTC, professional development, parent information nights and special education.
The districts also have four separate administrative functions that are shared: superintendent, director of educational technology, plants and facilities administrator and the business official.
In the future, Mr. Gamberg said the districts could receive additional state funding, but nothing has been finalized.
He also suggested Greenport and Southold form subcommittees to explore the shared services more frequently than board members. Greenport board president, Babette Cornine, said the district would discuss forming a subcommittee at next week’s board meeting.
After the presentation, members discussed future plans regarding the agreement.
“We owe it to future boards to determine what it could look like in 2 or 3 years from now,” Judi Fouchet said.
Southold board president Paulette Ofrias said she and other board members fully support renewing the agreement for another two years, but a final decision was not made at the joint board meeting.
Photo caption: Paulette Ofrias (left) and Dr. David Gamberg at Wednesday’s meeting. (Kate Nalepinski photo)