The Hamburg Central School District’s tax cap for next year is below 2 percent.
That means the district could raise the tax levy by about $574,000 with a simple majority vote, and if more money is needed, 60 percent of voters would have to approve a budget with an increase above the tax cap.
Administrators are in the early stages of budget development and have not yet determined a tax levy or tax rates. But calculations of next year’s tax cap show that the levy could rise by 1.8 percent, or about $574,000, and stay within the cap, according to Finance Director Barbara S. Sporyz.
This is the second year that school districts will deal with a cap on the total amount of taxes to be collected. While it was touted as a 2 percent cap, it is based on a formula and varies by district.
If the district rolled over all its programs and staffing from this year to next year, spending would top $61 million and the tax levy would go up by 15.4 percent. Residents at a budget workshop late last year said 15.4 percent was too high, but some said they thought the district should override the cap by a little bit.
Increases in the usual items are affecting Hamburg, where about 70 percent of the budget is related to staff, such as salaries and benefits, Sporyz said. “We have made significant spending reductions over the last three years which have impacted program and staff,” she said at last week’s School Board meeting. The district is losing about $450,000 in state aid this year because the administrators and teachers could not agree on a teacher-evaluation plan. State aid for next year’s budget again will be tied to the teacher-evaluation plan. That means Hamburg could lose another $2 million in state aid for next year if there is no teacher-evaluation plan in effect by Sept. 1.
The district is asking that teachers and administration come to an agreement before the board adopts the budget April 16 so the district will know whether to include the $2 million as revenue.
Sporyz also said there has been very little surplus to built into the budget over the last several years. “Those days of huge fund balances and a lot of money built into the expenditure budget that was not expended are over,” she said.