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Yorktown Schools Won't Ask Taxpayers to Override Tax Cap

Officials said they continue to search for additional means of revenue, including un/underfunded mandate relief, rent revenue from French Hill School, corporate sponsorships, advertising, user fees, grant applications and entrance fees.

In the fourth part of the preliminary budget for the 2012-2013 school year,the Yorktown school district administration discussed transportation, revenue and the New York tax cap calculation.

The following was submitted by the :

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Tom Cole , revenue and tax cap calculation for the upcoming year. Budgeted transportation costs will decrease 3.1 percent. This year, the multi-year contract with Baumann Bus Company will rebid to transports over 4,000 students daily to Yorktown’s five schools and to over a dozen others. 

The tax levy is nearly 82 percent of total revenue, and continues to grow as state aid remains flat or shrinks, with 15.7 percent projected for 2012-2013. The growing tax levy and shrinking state aid together with unparalleled unfunded mandates and tax certiorari requirements make the present model of education finance prohibitively expensive.

The search for additional means of revenue was discussed, with topics including the possibility of un/underfunded mandate relief, rent revenue from French Hill School, corporate sponsorships, advertising, user fees, grant applications and entrance fees. 

The New York tax cap was enacted in June 2011 and starts with the 2012-2013 school year; it will expire in June 2016 unless rent control is extended. It states that the tax levy may not exceed the prior year’s levy by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation – whichever is less. In the upcoming school year, the Yorktown Central School District will stay within the 2-percent tax cap limit. 

Taxes can also be impacted by large tax certioraris, which shift taxes away from businesses to individual homeowners. A business tax certiorari permits local businesses to challenge their current and past tax assessments. If a challenge is upheld, each business is legally allowed to collect up to ten years of claims within only 30 days from Yorktown Schools.

Midway through this school year, the Yorktown school district has paid tax certiorari judgments of close to $1,000,000, to twenty local businesses, nearly 20 times greater than two years ago. Over the past four years, the district has been required to repay certiorari totaling nearly $2,000,000. 

All school districts must calculate their levy limits and report to the Office of the State Comptroller by March 1. The formula is incomplete; the formula used for municipalities provides some guidance but much remains unknown specific to school districts. The formal guidance document may not be issued before the March 1 deadline; therefore districts are estimating levy caps based on what they think will be in the final formula. The Yorktown Central School District will report information to the best of its ability based on what is currently known. 

This is an important year of transition and all are asked to work together to write legislators to support mandate relief and to legislate certiorari reform. Public support is needed to help identify new funding sources, to back the local organizations that support Yorktown schools and to stay informed. 

The district serves approximately 3,600 pupils in six schools: Brookside and Mohansic Elementary Schools, Crompond Intermediate School, Mildred E. Strang Middle School and the Yorktown High and Alternative High Schools. Please visit the Yorktown Central School District website regularly at www.yorktown.org for updated information, including a calendar of Board of Education budget work sessions and business meetings, informative documents and links.

The next budget work session will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 5 at the cafeteria. Topics discussed will include curriculum and instruction, pupil personnel services and technology. 

Videos of Board of Education meetings are archived and can be viewed on the district website at www.yorktown.org. Meetings are usually available within 48 hours at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on FIOS Channel 27 and at the same times on Cablevision Channel 18 daily. 

walter March 06, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The school board should cut administrative postitions and increase the amount that schoold district employees contribute to their health plans and retirement.

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