WITH PENSION COSTS DECLINING AND TAX CAP A BIT UNCERTAIN SUPERINTENDENT TO GIVE INITIAL BUDGET PRESENTATION AT THURSDAY NORTH SHORE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING
January 7, 2014 -- North Shore Schools Superintendent Dr. Edward Melnick will be giving his initial budget presentation for the 2015-16 school year at the Thursday, January 15th Board of Education meeting.
The spending plan is being developed at a time of declining teacher pension costs but with some uncertainty concerning the tax levy limit.
In late November, the New York State Teachers Retirement System announced that school district pension obligations as a percentage of payroll will decline by as much as 25% compared to the current year. District officials have said that will save North Shore about $1.4 million.
The tax levy limit for next year is still unknown, with that figure for school districts scheduled to be released later this month. Under New York's property tax cap law, for a school budget to pass with a simple majority vote of the community, the total school tax levy increase must be limited to the cap established by the state comptroller's office. Each individual district's cap is based on a figure known as the "allowable growth factor" which is 2% or the rate of inflation over the previous 12 month period - whichever is lower.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released in December, the 12 month inflation rate from December 2013 through November 2014 was 1.3%. The "allowable growth factor" for school districts, will therefore almost certainly be lower than 2%. However, that figure is really only a starting point for determining each individual school district's allowable tax increase. Because of a complicated formula which exempts certain types of expenditures from the tax cap, such as debt service and the prior year's capital expenditures, tax levy limits for individual districts can vary widely. As a result, last year's cap for North Shore was a half a percentage point higher than the "allowable growth factor."
Next Thursday's meeting will be at 7:30 pm in the high school library and will follow the "town hall meeting format" which moves the first public comment period up in the agenda, before board discussion items rather than after.
The first budget draft will be released and discussed at the following meeting, on January 29.
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