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Creating Budget Under Tax Cap is a Challenge, Says Yorktown Superintendent

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- As budget season for school districts begins, the Yorktown School District said it having a hard time meeting the constraints of the 2 percent tax cap, a cap on how much the school can increase the tax levy.

The tax levy is the part of the revenue that pays for the budget, and is the part provided by taxpayers. According to Yorktown School Superintendent Ralph Napolitano , it won't be easy to make a budget meeting the constraints.

To date, the administration and board have provided a balanced budget keeping both students and taxpayers in mind.

“We always took into account, when budgeting, that the 2 percent cap could become a reality and now that it has, the essential question for all districts is ‘how do we sustain a high-quality education when the operational budget increase cannot exceed 2 percent?” Napolitano said in a letter to parents posted on the district website. “The answer is, ‘not easily.’"

Napolitano explained that in order to meet the 2 percent cap, the district's operational costs cannot not exceed $1.4 million dollars. Due to unknowns and uncontrollable factors like cost increases in heating, lighting, transportation, health insurance, pension plans, unfunded mandates, contractual obligations and reductions in aid, "the task is almost impossible."

"Clearly, the face of education as we have known it will begin to change: resources will have to be maximized, costs will have to be reduced and alternative funding resources will have to be identified and tapped,” Napolitano wrote.

Napolitano added that the cap was put into place without any plans to give schools alternative funding to offset the costs that are either mandated by the same government that made the cap, or costs uncontrollable by the district.

"To provide a total educational experience that meets the academic, social, emotional, physical, aesthetic and moral needs of children in a safe and comfortable environment is something we all desire to maintain and support,” Napolitano wrote. “How we do this during the state’s financial crisis will be a challenge.”

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