School districts to face lowest tax cap growth in recent years as they face tough budgets

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The tax caps that constrain school districts’ ability to raise local property taxes will be pegged to a growth rate of 1.23 percent next school year, the lowest tax cap growth rates since the 2016-2017 school year.

The in-the-weeds growth factor is used as a baseline for districts as they go about calculating individual tax caps based on the specifics of each district, but the limited growth factor will further constrain the ability of districts to raise local taxes in the midst of another difficult budget cycle. Those district-level tax caps are based on a growth factor of 2 percent or actual inflation, whichever is lower.

Districts can grow their local tax levies by more than their tax cap but must earn a 60 percent supermajority when district residents vote on the district’s proposed budget in the spring.

In a press release announcing the new tax cap growth factor Wednesday, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that school district officials “must remain fiscally cautious to stay under the cap” as they prepare budgets for next year.

“They must examine their budgets more closely to control expenses,” DiNapoli said in the release.

School districts across the state are already bracing for a difficult budget cycle as they manage the uncertainty of potential aid cuts this year while laying the ground work for next year’s budget.

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