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Tax Levy Legislation Discussed at Sewanhaka Meeting

The board of education addressed the possible cuts the district can face.

Tax Levy Legislation Discussed at Sewanhaka Meeting

Superintendent of Central High School District, , gave a presentation on the tax levy at the regular board of education meeting Monday night.

Ferrie wanted to inform the public about the budget on a high school level, not just an elementary level, and explain how the tax levy legislation can ultimately impact the school district.

was adopted on June 24 by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Ferrie highlighted that it does not necessarily restrict the proposed tax levy increase to two percent.

“It does not mean that it is a two percent tax cap on ones property taxes — particularly related to schools,” Ferrie said.

The "complicated" formula adjusts a district’s tax levy to reflect growth in the local tax base and the limit becomes a combination of the rate of inflation or two percent — whichever is lower, the growth factor and certain exemptions.

“It’s really not a two percent tax cap,” said Maureen Kenney, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations. “It starts anywhere between one and two percent, but then there are things you are allowed to add to that two percent. If there is any growth within our local communities…you are allowed to exceed two percent by whatever that growth is.”

For example, if the growth is .2 percent, you are allowed to go up to 2.2 percent, but that number has yet to be determined for this budget year.

In order to exceed the tax levy limit, there must be a supermajority approval of 60 percent of the voters.

“Over the past few years we’ve been very close to that number…and last year’s budget — for the first time — hit the 60 percent,” Kenney said.

If the tax levy passes, there are nine potential areas that can be affected. Ferrie stressed the word “potential” because it doesn’t necessarily mean cuts will occur in these areas:

  • Increased class size in all areas and at all grade levels
  • Restructuring the district administration
  • Loss or restructuring of elective offerings
  • Decrease in capital project expenditures
  • Decrease in general supply expenditures
  • Decrease in textbook expenditures
  • Loss of teaching positions
  • Loss of support positions
  • Restructuring seventh and eighth grade athletic offerings

“I asked the administrative team to try to envision being a student coming to school next year in September and not noticing any difference in terms of what types of opportunities are available within the school district, and it’s going to be a major challenge for us to accomplish that,” Ferrie said.

Board budget sessions are scheduled for Jan. 31 and March 14. The next regular school board meeting will be on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. at High School. 

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