As required by law, each year prior to the school budget vote all districts must submit a Property Tax Report Card to the New York State Education Department (SED). The data contained in the 2017 Property Tax Report Card compares the 2016-17 school budget with the 2017-18 proposed school budget and the 2016-17 tax levy with the 2017-18 projected tax levy. Voters will cast ballots on 2017-18 school budgets on May 16th.
In total, 669 school districts submitted their 2017 Property Tax Report Card. The Big Five City school districts are not covered by this requirement as the residents in these districts do not vote on their school budget.
In addition to the spending and tax levy increases, districts are also required to report three parts of the fund balance on the Property Tax Report Card: (1) the amount and percent of the unrestricted fund balance, (2) the restricted fund balance and (3) the appropriated fund balance. Although the unrestricted fund balance is limited by law to no more than 4%, 150 school districts reported that they estimate that they will have a fund balance over that legal limit for 2017-18. In addition, 311 school districts reported that they will be right at that 4% limit for 2017-18.
School districts also reported information associated with the calculation of their property tax levy cap. Statewide, there are 12 school districts that are proposing a 2017-18 property tax levy that exceeds their maximum tax levy limit, meaning these districts must get at least 60 percent voter approval for their budget to be adopted.1 This is the lowest number of override attempts since the tax cap law took effect in 2012-13.
According to the data, approximately 20 school districts have a calculated allowable tax levy increase that is negative, meaning that these districts are restricted to raising less funds locally than the year before unless they seek an override.
The compilation of this information is available on SED’s website at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/mgtserv/propertytax/CopyofFinalPTRCtoPost5-3-17.xlsx
According to the data contained in the 669 Property Tax Report Cards, school districts on average are proposing budgets for 2017-18 that contain a spending increase of 2.15 percent. Last year the average statewide spending increase that districts presented in their 2016-17 school budgets was 2.08 percent.
The Property Tax Report Cards also reveal that the average tax levy increase contained in the proposed 2017-18 school budgets is 1.47 percent. Last year the average statewide tax levy increase was 0.69 percent.
(1) The 12 districts are: Beaver River, Cheektowaga-Maryvale, DeRuyter, East Aurora, East Ramapo, Ellicottville, Franklin, Mamaroneck, New Paltz, Niagara Falls, Pittsford, and Rhinebeck.