Fire Island News- School Budget Passes

Fire Island School Budget Passes, as Student Population Struggles with Low Score

By Shoshanna McCollum

The 2012-2013 proposed budget passed effortlessly at Fire Island School Union Free District Election on Tuesday night, May 15th by a margin of 71 to 6 votes. Three incumbent Board of Education members were also reelected to their offices including Kathy Skelly-Kurka of Fair Harbor with 71 votes, Lisa Kaufman of Seaview with 68 votes and Amy Wood of Kismet with 73 votes. All BOE members ran for their chairs unopposed.

Fire Island School’s budget for next year rounds-up to $5,910,837 representing a tax levy increase of 1.49%. This figure is within the New York mandated “tax cap” limit which municipalities across the State have taken great pains to circumvent, including, Saltaire and Ocean Beach, the two Incorporated Villages located on Fire Island.

In February of 2012 Fire Island School adopted a policy of accepting out-of-district student enrollments on a tuition basis to address the concern of a diminishing population of year-round resident children. Traditional boundaries of the District have included all the Fire Island communities between Davis Park and Kismet, and the families assigned to the barracks of Fire Island’s U.S. Coast Guard Station as well as park rangers posted at the Sunken Forrest as needed.

“We feel strongly that our school is an integral part of the history and ongoing life of Fire Island,” reads last winter’s FIUFSD newsletter. “Our hope is that Woodhull School will continue to instill in the generations to come a thirst for knowledge, respect for one another, and love for this special island we call home.”

There are presently less then twenty students enrolled in Fire Island’s PreK-6 Woodhull Elementary School, a population drop of nearly half of what it was five years ago. Grades 5 and 6 have been vacant for most of the school year. Approximately 25 secondary grade resident students attend schools in Bay Shore and Islip, with tuition and transportation costs shouldered by Fire Island School District and reflected in the budget accordingly.

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Woodhull School Ocean Beach Fire Island