Twenty-four of the 57 small-city school districts in the state place surcharges of up to 3 percent on utility and telephone bills, including Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Peekskill and White Plains. State law allows school districts in cities with fewer than 125,000 people to levy the surcharge.
Due in part to the mild winter, collections for the first six months of 2012 were a lot lower than in 2011. National Weather Service data show the average temperature at White Plains Airport for the first three months of 2011 was 31.5 degrees, compared to 39.9 degrees in 2012.
Mount Vernon schools’ revenues from the surcharge were $1.2 million for the first six months of the year, a drop of 7.4 percent—or $92,612—from January through June 2011, and New Rochelle brought in $1.6 million during that time, 16.3 percent less—or $304,053—than the same period last year.
The White Plains school district’s revenues from the utility surcharge were down nearly 17 percent—$357,202—from the $2.1 million it had received through June 2011. Peekskill brought in $53,620 for the first six months of the year. That was a decline of 13.4 percent compared to the $399,159 the district collected during the first half of 2011.
Rye City schools is the only small-city school district in the region that does not place a surcharge on utility usage. There are no small-city school districts in Putnam and Rockland counties. Roughly 95 percent of school funding comes from property taxes, and federal and state funding.
Read more about the school surcharge on utilities in The Journal News/Lohud.com today.