In New York, spring brings two things: more sunshine and more school taxes.
Local school districts have begun preparing and sharing preliminary budgets with taxpayers. But at least one local school district has said it plans to exceed the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap while others are considering it in their plans.
This week, the Scarsdale Board of Education, as part of a $146.2 million budget plan, signaled its intention to increase the tax levy by 4.8 percent in Scarsdale and 4.9 percent in a smaller portion of the district, well beyond the 3.5 allowed under the tax cap formula. (The allowable figure exceeds 2 percent because districts can include certain expenses, including pension costs). Sixty-percent of voters would have to approve the plan, which the district said would help it avoid cutting programs or draining cash reserves. Meanwhile, a budget presentation in the Elmsford school district earlier this month listed exceeding the tax cap as an option to avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts. Since the cap passed years ago, districts statewide have complained of difficulties staying within the cap while meeting minimum program standards.
What say you taxpayer? If presented with a school budget in your local district that exceeds the tax levy cap, how would you vote?