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 held on the third Tuesday in May.
Budget Vote Delayed
New York state school budget votes and board of education elections will be delayed until at least June 1, 2020, according to an executive order released by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, March 30.
The order specifically says, “Any school board, library board, or village election scheduled to take place in April or May of 2020 is hereby postponed until at least June 1, 2020, and subject to further directive as to the timing, location or manner of voting for such elections.”
This change will also impact our regular notification practices and timelines for sharing information about the vote and election.
Once a new vote date has been determined we will share an updated budget timeline.
On May 21, Cohoes City School District voters approved (392 to 149) a $43.9 million budget for the 2019-20 school year that will increase spending by 2.2 percent and carry a tax levy increase of 1.75 percent, an amount below the district’s tax cap. The budget for the coming school year was adopted unanimously by the Board of Education at its April 3 meeting.
In addition to the budget, voters elected three members of the Board of Education and approved a proposition that will allow the district to expend funds from its capital reserve. The funds, not to exceed $1,000,000, will be used to reconstruct and renovate the Cohoes Middle School roof and replace the boiler at Harmony Hill School.
The 2019-20 budget totals $43,867,736, a $945,563 increase over the current budget. The budget will allow the district to maintain current teacher staffing levels, educational programs, and special education services with a continued focus on social and emotional support for students.
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.