Hampton Bays residents look to secede from Riverhead schools

A group of Southampton Town residents living within the Riverhead School District have recently submitted a petition to secede from the district and be annexed by the neighboring Hampton Bays district, though it appears the movement might not get off the ground.

Residents of Bettina Court, a less than half-mile long street with 14 homes in the Red Creek section of Hampton Bays, recently submitted the petition to the Riverhead school board.

The board is scheduled to reject the petition during Tuesday night’s meeting, according to page 28 of the board’s 32-page agenda.

The agenda states the reason for the rejection is that annexation, according to New York State law, “is not the appropriate procedure to seek to alter boundary lines between two contiguous districts.”

Bettina Court resident John Zuccarelli, who is also a Southampton Town Planning Board member, said the driving force behind the petition was higher taxes in the Riverhead School District.

“It’s strictly a tax factor,” said Mr. Zuccarelli who does not have any children currently enrolled in the district. “I don’t think it’s a factor of having a better education.”

According to New York State Law, a study must be completed before district boundaries are realigned.

“The primary issue facing the community is not whether the concept of reorganization is good or bad, per se, but whether combining available resources with a neighbor will provide a better and more cost effective educational system to serve the future needs of young people and adults within the communities involved,” according to the state’s guide to the reorganization of school districts.

“This can only be determined by careful study, committed leadership and an involved and informed public,” the guide concludes.

Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney did not immediately return calls seeking comment. A copy of the petition was also not immediately made available.

[email protected]

Read more in the June 23 issue of the News-Review

Looking to comment on this article? Send us a letter to the editor instead.