Since New York state’s property tax levy limit law went into effect in 2012, the district has presented a proposed budget to district taxpayers that stayed at or below its limit.
The fiscal plan for 2017-18 is no different. If the proposed budget is approved by voters, the tax levy—the total amount of money to be raised by the school district after accounting for all other revenues, including state aid—would increase by 2.8 percent, which is below the district’s tax levy limit of 3.7 percent.
The district’s tax levy limit is uniquely calculated according to an eight-part, state-mandated formula. Despite how it’s been described by some politicians and the media, the state law that established the property tax levy limit does not prohibit tax levy increases greater than 2 percent. Two percent (or the rate of inflation, if less) is just one of the factors in this formula.
This fiscal plan meets all state requirements to ensure district residents who are eligible for tax rebate checks receive them.
On average, a school district in New York typically gets about half of its revenue from state aid and half from property taxes. However, because Cooperstown is considered by the state to be a wealthy school district due to real property values and individual income levels, the district only receives roughly 25 percent of its annual revenue in the form of state aid.
The district saw a lower-than-average tax levy limit last year. That, coupled with the restoration of funding lost due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment, resulted in the district getting an 8.3 percent increase in state aid, which allowed the district to stay within its historically lower levy limit that year without cutting programs, extracurricular activities or staff.
For 2017-18, the district will have a 0.3 percent reduction in state aid from the current year. However, the tax levy increase of 2.8 percent and the use of reserves will allow the district to maintain all programming and introduce initiatives and staffing changes that will help guarantee the success of all of our students.