Voters in New Suffolk approved a proposal to tuition out all of the district’s students to a neighboring school district in an 83-14 vote on Tuesday, after parents of the seven students currently attending the three-room schoolhouse spent the past year telling the district their students needed more than this tiny school can offer.

“The New Suffolk Community passed a resolution on March 5th, 2024 to move to a non instructional school district,” said the district in a March 6 announcement on its website. “The vote represented a record turn out and resulted in a 83-14 margin in favor. After months of working with the community and neighboring schools districts the support was overwhelmingly in favor of the plan.”

The New Suffolk Common School District Board of Education is expected to approve a resolution sending those students to the Southold School District, where older students in the district already attend classes, at its next regularly scheduled meeting March 12.

Parents of the seven students currently attending grades pre-K through sixth grade in the three-room schoolhouse began bringing concerns about the lack of opportunities to socialize or learn from peers at the same grade level, as well as the lack of extracurricular activities to the school board last year, asking for an alternative for their children to attend larger schools. The district has also held discussions with the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District over the past several months about potentially sending students there.

Becoming a “non-instructional school district” would enable the district to function administratively on behalf of the seven elementary and 15 high school students who live in the district, preserving the low taxes New Suffolk has long been able to maintain due to the small school. The district would still have a superintendent and board of education and would maintain the school building and ball field, but would not have teaching staff, board members have told the community over the past several months.

School officials have had preliminary discussions with Just Kids, a private provider of Pre-K services that runs the Pre-K program in the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District, about leasing the school building out as a Pre-K.

Board members said in a mid-February letter to parents that they are working with Southold to provide parents with dates and times when they can tour the school, and are asking parents to confirm their students’ expected enrollment for next year by April 1 to provide Southold with definitive enrollment numbers. That information can be emailed to Superintendent Joe Vasile-Cozzo at jvas@newsuffolkschool.com.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you're human: