As school districts prepare to craft their budgets for the 2013-14 fiscal year, the New York State School Boards Association is offering guidance based on the first year of New York’s property-tax cap. First and foremost, voters were 1-1/2 times more likely to approve budgets whose tax-levy limits were below the 2 percent cap, the organization found. Ninety-nine percent of budgets at or below the cap were approved, but voters passed 60 percent of budgets that were above the cap and required a supermajority of voters for adoption.
Last year, 623 school districts had budgets that were below the cap and 48 were above it, according to the group.
The cap is 2 percent or the level of inflation, whichever is less. It was 2 percent last year and 2 percent for local governments with 2013 bugets that match the budget year and fiscal years that run from March 1, 2013 to Feb. 28, 2014. The state Comptroller’s Office has not yet set the rate for school districts, whose budget year begins July 1, 2013 and ends June 30, 2014.
“Based on year one of the cap, the old adage that people vote with their pocketbook rings true,” Timothy Kremer, executive director of the School Boards Association, said in a statement. “Whether quality public schools and the tax cap can peacefully coexist on a long-term basis remains to be seen.”
The report noted that schools continue to struggle due to reduced state aid and a sluggish economy.
Read on for more of the group’s lessons:
Report Tax Cap