Under State Cap, WCS Can Add $243 To Levy

With 99 percent of the state tax cap formula figured out, the Waterville Central School District has learned it can raise its tax levy less than half a percent.


That comes to $243.


At last week’s WCS Board of Education meeting, Business Administrator Tracy Leone outlined an early, but accurate, look at the district’s 2021-22 budget picture. Unless the district makes significant reductions in expenses, a super majority of 60 percent of voters will need to approve the budget in May.


The board met via Facebook Live for three hours in public session. People could send questions to the board at BOE@watervillecsd.org


In the last five years Waterville’s tax cap has dropped from 3.27 percent in 2016-17 to less than half a percent for next year. The cap sets the maximum amount raised by taxes - the levy - can increase on a simple majority. Going over requires approval of 60 percent of voters.


Last year the levy could go up $124,850.


“How do we do this,’’ Board member Russell Stewart said. “Where do you get the money for public education? Boards of Education have lost the power on how to support public education.’’


Compounding the challenge to balance expenses and revenues is a proposal by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to collapse 11 state aid reimbursement accounts into one. WCS Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Spring said that includes big expenses such as BOCES, Transportation and textbooks costs.


Districts use the reimbursement as revenue for the next year. If it’s all under one account, Leone said, “it will increase by a percentage rather than by what the district is spending.’’


The governor’s state aid for schools also shows WCS receiving $2.8 million, but Leone said the district spent $2.3 million. That means Waterville is not getting back $500,000 that shows up on the…



The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper.