Winter newsletter story: A difficult 2011-12 budget

Click here to see spending and tax rates at Scotia-Glenville since 2006

 

A difficult 2011-12 state budget...

You’ll hear a lot about tax caps, mandate relief and school aid cuts

Over the next few weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders will consider several ways to close a state budget gap that will impact schools.

One of Cuomo’s proposals is for a property tax cap. In addition, the governor will discuss mandate relief – eliminating many of the state requirements that boost costs on schools – and will likely propose state aid cuts.

A state-imposed tax cap with no flexibility or provisions for reducing fixed costs like salaries, health care and state pensions would lead to deep cuts at S-G, as has happened at schools in states with tax caps.

Scotia-Glenville’s Board of Education, over the past several years, has kept a tight lid on tax rates and spending, essentially imposing its own tax cap.

S-G tax rates up 4.2%, $128 over five years

Since the 2006-07 budget, the Scotia-Glenville school tax rate has risen from $19.21 per $1,000 assessed value that year to the current $20.01 per $1,000 assessed value.

That is a 4.2% increase over five years. Many area school districts have increased their tax rates that much in a single year.

For the typical Scotia-Glenville homeowner with a $160,000 assessment, that means a $128 increase in school taxes since 2006 – $25.60 more per year on average.

During the past five years, the state’s School TAx Reduction (STAR) program reimbursement has also been reduced and adjusted, in an effort to cut state costs. That has led to higher net local tax bills.

Scotia-Glenville’s diligence has come as the state froze or reduced state aid to schools while health care and pension costs for its nearly 500 employees have risen steadily.

Spending up 12.7% over five years

Scotia-Glenville’s overall spending since 2006 has increased from $42.01 million to the current $47.33 million. That is an increase of 12.7 percent over five years - 2.5 percent on average per year.

Over the past two years especially, Scotia-Glenville leaders have tightened spending in the face of rising costs and reduced state aid.

In the 2009-10 school budget, there was no increase in state aid. At Scotia-Glenville, $1.3 million in costs were trimmed, including the elimination of 5.2 full-time positions.

In the current 2010-11 budget, state aid was cut by $2.3 million. The budget cut spending by $2 million, including 19.7 full-time positions.

An eye toward the 2011-12 budget

Superintendent Susan Swartz will present her 2011-12 budget proposal at 7 p.m. on February 28 at the middle school. The Board of Education will review it at 7 p.m. on Mondays, March 7, 14, 21 and 28 at the middle school.
Updated information will be posted on ScotiaGlenvilleSchools.org.

Swartz said that the same tone of recent years – controlled spending with a eye toward low tax rate increases – would be the guiding principle for the 2011-12 budget.

As of late January, the Board of Education had accepted 15 teacher retirements and expected others. There is usually a savings after a retirement because the person who retires is paid more than his or her replacement will be paid.

Scotia-Glenville taxes and spending since 2006

School/fiscal years 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 %change
2006-10
Glenville school tax rate
(per $1,000 assessed value)
$19.21 $19.55 $20.20 $19.87 $20.01 4.2%
School budget total (in millions) $42.01 $44.57 $45.86 $46.65 $47.33 12.7%
             

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