School Districts Propose Statewide Average Tax Increase of 1.69 Percent

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ALBANY, NY (05/03/2017) (readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) has analyzed Property Tax Report Card data for the 2017-18 school year submitted by school districts to the State Education Department. The Property Tax Report Card data details expected changes in tax levies, proposed spending, and student enrollment for the coming school year.

Statewide, school districts expect to have an overall levy increase of 1.69 percent, spending is expected to increase by 2.31 percent, while enrollment is expected to decline by .29 percent. The tax cap for this year was 1.26 percent, and with permissible exclusions (for local capital project expenses, etc.) the statewide maximum allowable levy increase was 2 percent. So once again school districts will be levying less than allowed by the tax cap formula.

In addition, 12 districts will be looking to override the tax cap, the lowest number since the inception of the tax cap in 2011. Last year the number was 36 attempts, when the tax cap was a record low .12 percent and in 2015 the number of override attempts was 19.

The report also analyzes spending, levy and enrollment changes by both region and Need-Resource Capacity categories of school districts. The Western Region was noted for the highest spending increase, the Finger Lakes Region for the highest proposed levy increase, and highest percentage drop in student enrollment. Only two regions of the state saw an increase in student enrollment, the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley. Overall, 48 percent of districts saw flat or increases in enrollment and 52 percent lost population.

High-need urban, suburban and rural districts had the highest spending increase of 2.79 percent, while their levy increases were the lowest at 1.10 percent. Average and low-need districts indicated smaller spending increases and larger levy increases.

"This latest data continues the trend of restrained spending, tax levies less than allowed by the law, and declines in student enrollment. The data also highlights the continued disparity in local resources between high need and low need districts, and the importance of robust state aid increases to address these disparities," stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.