Majority of School Districts Stay Within Tax Cap

ALBANY, NY (04/25/2012)(readMedia)-- According to preliminary filings with the state Education Department, an overwhelming majority of school districts stated in their Property Tax Report Cards that they are proposing to stay within the property tax cap.

The statewide average proposed increase in the property tax levy is 2.37%. Ten districts are proposing decreases in their proposed levy and 22 districts are proposing zero increases in their proposed levy. Only 49 or 7.30% of school districts are proposing a tax levy that exceeds their cap which requires a 60% majority vote to override.

Overall spending compared to last year increased by only 1.70% and spending per pupil increased by 2.40%, while pupil enrollment declined by .71%.

"These preliminary findings show that school districts are complying with the intent of the tax cap law, while still trying to be in compliance with state laws and regulations in providing a sound basic education" , stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.

"However, staying in compliance will become increasingly difficult as school districts deplete their reserve funds and run out of options for cutting expenses in non-mandated services, without real serious mandate relief from the state. If the state fails to take action in the near term, school districts will face both financial and educational bankruptcy", continued Mr. Borges.

Projections show that by 2017, school districts will face a combined $17 billion shortfall based on historic cost increases and current limitations on local revenues and state aid (i.e. tax cap and linking state aid increases to growth in personal income).

On Friday, May 11th in Room 711A of the Legislative Office Building, the NYSASBO will be conducting a workshop for legislative staff (media invited) on the tax cap in advance of school budget votes on May 15th. "We expect there will be a lot of confusion from voters when they go to the polls and we want to help state legislators and their staff explain how the tax cap works and how the school districts arrived at their levies," concluded Mr. Borges.