Comptroller releases school tax cap for 2020-2021 school year said schools need to ‘control expenses’

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- School districts already facing heavy cuts in state financial aid have another hurdle to overcome. Calculations for the 2021-2022 school tax cap have put it lower than last year, said the New York State Comptroller’s Office.

The 2020-2021 school budget tax cap last year was 1.81%. For this year’s upcoming 2021-2022 budget it was lowered to 1.23%.

“School district and municipal officials must remain fiscally cautious to stay under the cap as they prepare their budgets. The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with a levy growth rate of 1.23% and below 2% for the second year in a row, means they must examine their budgets more closely to control expenses,” said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Last year, with the exception of the Greater Johnstown School District, Queensbury Union Free School District, and the Rensselaer City School District, all school districts proposed 2020-2021 school budgets under their perspective tax caps.

A formula is used to calculate school tax levy rates that take into consideration inflation, total taxes levied from the previous year, and tax base growth. The 2% tax cap first started applying to school districts and local governments in 2012 and be overridden with at least a 60% approval from voters.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, school budget votes took place mostly by mail-in ballot. It led to a widespread increase in voter participation throughout New York. In the Capital District, voter participation increased by 172.9%. Voter participation in the Rensselaer City School District increased more than 500%, according to a report released from the Comptroller in November 2020.

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