Due to high special education costs, is out the question for New Suffolk secondary students during the 2011-12 school year. At a January meeting, members of the Board of Education decided to maintain as the primary receiving district for their high school students based on significant cost differences.
For the past two months, New Suffolk Superintendent Bob Feger has been weighing the costs of the elementary school students attending secondary school in the Mattituck district, rather than Southold’s district. During a November board meeting, parents asked that Feger attempt to re-open a dialogue with Mattituck High School.
Primary reasons for this request included New Suffolk’s closer distance to Mattituck-Cutchogue in addition to potential differences in extra help programs. At the November Board of Education meeting, New Suffolk parents speculated that Mattituck High School offers more extra help after school per week. However, after comparing teacher contracts between Southold and Mattituck, Feger discerned that both districts offer similar extra help programs.
Since November, Feger conducted meetings with Mattituck-Cutchogue Superintendent, James McKenna. And although Mattituck-Cutchogue’s Board of Education indicated an agreement to absorb the costs for tuition students to enroll in Eastern Suffolk BOCES’s various educational programs, other special education costs would still come out-of-pocket for New Suffolk tax payers. Tuition for both districts run about $17,000.00 per student each year, but Southold does not add a charge for special education needs that can be met within the district.
New Suffolk parents have mixed opinions about Southold as the only receiving district for the 2011-2012 school year. But most parents are grateful that McKenna and Feger agreed to keep the dialogue open.
“We will support and trust that New Suffolk School will do what is best for the children as far as this decision goes,” Jeanette Cooper, a New Suffolk parent, said. A mother to three students at New Suffolk Elementary School, Cooper said she realizes that New Suffolk’s close proximity to Mattituck High School is certainly a benefit. However, Cooper stated that both Southold and Mattituck offer a similar education to New Suffolk students.
“From my perspective,” Feger said, “in terms of the financial obligation we have to the community, it kind of takes them out of the mix.”