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Stillwater schools eye levy increase of no more than 5 percent

Stillwater schools eye levy increase of no more than 5 percent

Capital project is reason for higher tax cap at district

Stillwater Central School District plans to ask voters to approve a tax levy increase of 5 percent or less, though the district has the authority to raise the levy by more than 7 percent, Superintendent Patricia Morris said on Tuesday.

The district had reported to the comptroller's office earlier this month that it was considering a boost closer to the 7 percent limit but has subsequently revised that to just under 5 percent, Morris said. She said the district is planning to increase operational costs by less than 1 percent, with the rest of the cost growth driven primarily by capital expenses -- which are expected to increase by around $130,000 over the current year -- and transportation.

"As we are developing the budget, it (the tax levy) could fluctuate lower than that," Morris said of the 5 percent figure. The tax levy is the total amount the district collects in local property taxes.  

The district will have one of the higher allowable tax levy increases under the state tax cap law, according to data submitted to the comptroller's office.

The district's higher tax cap is due, in part, to rising capital costs associated with a capital project already approved by voters. That project is focused on upgrades to the auditorium wing at the district middle/high school, as well as creating a choral space, improving a sound and lighting system and paving the middle and high school campus parking lots.

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