Over half of the 668 school districts seeking voter approval for budgets on Tuesday, May 21 are presenting spending plans to increase property taxes as high as the 2011 property tax cap law allows, according to an analysis released today by the Empire Center for Public Policy.
A total of 346 school districts have proposed budgets setting property tax levies as high as the cap will allow—indicating that property taxes would have increased significantly more had the cap not been in place to deter them. The Center’s analysis, the School Budget Spotlight, uses newly released data from the annual Property Tax Report Card compiled by the state Department of Education, and uniquely presents school budgets on a per-pupil basis.
The districts, which do not include the Big 5 city school districts, together expect to increase school property taxes by $539 million, or 2.5 percent, even while forecasting total enrollment to dip by 7,827, or 0.5 percent.
More than half the districts (362) expect to educate fewer students in 2019-20 than during the current school year, with 30 districts forecasting an enrollment drop of more than 5 percent. On a regional basis, excluding the Big 5, every region of the state is projecting to next year have fewer students, with the largest year-over-year drops in the Central New York (0.9 percent) and Long Island (0.8 percent).