Public schools are among the most significant investments that any community makes collectively. District leaders work to make the most effective use of resources to benefit students, to develop and manage the budget in a responsible and transparent manner, and to be accountable to taxpayers. Each spring the Board of Education adopts a budget for the coming school year for a community vote, which is typically held on the third Tuesday in May.
On June 16, Cohoes City School District voters approved (1,215 to 516) by absentee ballot a $43.9 million budget for the 2020-21 school year. It will keep spending and its current level and carry a tax levy increase of 2.32 percent, an amount within the district’s tax cap. For a home valued at $150,000, this will result in an estimated annual tax increase of about $60.
Under the state budget, which was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, school foundation aid did not increase. State aid comprises about 55 percent of the district’s annual revenue. The introduction of three periodic reviews of state revenue could result in additional mid-year school aid cuts. With no increase in aid, district leaders created a spending plan equal to the 2019-20 budget, requiring spending cuts and efficiencies to close a $1.6 million gap.
2020-21 Budget Documents
To print an absentee ballot application, review voter qualifications and find your polling place visit our voter information page.
To look up you tax bill, pay online and more visit our tax collection page.
Understanding New York’s Tax Levy Cap
When Cohoes voters head to the polls to vote on the school budget each year, they cast votes for a budget plan shaped in part by a law known to many as the Property Tax Cap. Approved by the State Legislature in 2011, this complex law is intended to provide property tax relief. The law does not create a cap, but a threshold that determines the level of voter support needed to pass the budget every year. That threshold is different for every school district in the state.
Tax levy v. tax rate
The tax levy is the total amount of money the school district raises in property taxes. Actual tax rates are dependent on several factors including assessment practices and equalization rates.
Tax rates are not set until July — after the state certifies assessment rolls for the properties in the city of Cohoes. Tax bills are sent out in September after this process has concluded. The school district has no control over assessment practices — and does not collect more in taxes than the amount it levies.
Smart Schools Investment Plan
The Cohoes City School District’s Smart Schools Investment Plan was produced in accordance with the New York State Smart Schools Bond Act, approved by voters in November 2014.