May 21, 2014
Voters in New York went to the polls yesterday to cast ballots on local school budget proposals.
Timothy Kremer of the state school board association says most districts stayed below Governor Cuomo’s two percent property tax cap.
"And the way that they’re keeping their levies down is many of them, 97 percent of them, of the school districts are tapping into what’s called their fund balance, or their savings accounts to the tune of $1.2 billion statewide," says Kremer.
One exception is the Ithaca City School District, which proposed to override the tax cap.Residents voted to pass the increase, raising taxes by 5.5 percent for homeowners.
Ithaca is the only district in Tompkins County overriding the two percent cap.
Kremer says so few tried because residents in districts staying under the cap will get a refund back from the state.
"If you don't, you try to exceed it, they’re not going to be eligible for that rebate check," says Kremer. "So you can imagine the heavy pressure that’s on those local officials to stay at or below the cap."
With the new budget in place, the Ithaca school district will still see a cut in up to 30 positions and an increase in class sizes.