Dear Parents and Members of the Lowville Academy School Community,
As we enter the middle of March, we begin to anticipate warmer temperatures and the many outdoor activities to be enjoyed with the onset of spring
weather. April is a busy month that includes spring vacation, NYS testing and a new sports season. The English Language Arts assessments will be
administered March 28-30 to our grades 3-8 students, and the Math tests will follow on May 2-4. Teachers, students and administrators have all been
working hard and are prepared for the tests and ready to meet these high standards and expectations.
April also brings to an end the school budget development process for the Board of Education. The school community is invited to attend the budget
hearing on May 8th with the district vote on the budget and school board election to follow on Tuesday, May 16th. Look for next month’s newsletter for a
detailed analysis of the proposed 2017-18 school budget.
BOE Budget Adoption Scheduled for April
The Board of Education is on track to adopt the 2017-18 budget at the April 11th meeting. While Governor Cuomo has proposed a modest increase in
school aid for the upcoming year, this increase is contingent upon legislative approval. In the executive budget, the governor’s proposal provides for a
small increase in Foundation Aid and Community Schools funding. As a result of this increase and additional cost saving measures, the Board of
Education is projecting no increase in taxes for the upcoming school year.
Empire Zone/Pilot Update
During the first years of the Pilot, the Board of Education carefully planned for the use of these dollars through a strategic plan. This plan was focused
on four major concepts: tax stability, instructional improvements, debt reductions and a long term plan for the improvement and maintenance of the
facility. The district continues to rely heavily on this revenue source, as indicated in the past, the district retains a substantial reserve to assist in
stabilizing taxes and maintaining instructional programs.
Tax Stabilization Reserve
The Board of Education has persistently sought approval from the NYS Legislature since 2008 to establish a reserve fund for future tax stabilization. We
were happily rewarded for our efforts with a new law signed by the Governor on September 30, 2016 allowing a reserve specifically designed for this
purpose. During the annual vote in May, the Board of Education will seek your approval to establish an Energy System Tax Stabilization Reserve. This
will make it possible for the District to reallocate funds that have been intentionally set aside throughout the last several years into the newly authorized
reserve meeting guidelines established by the NYS Comptroller’s Office. These funds are to be used to offset future tax increases that may result from
the end of the Maple Ridge PILOT. As a district we have been most fortunate to be a recipient of this revenue source. As a result of the PILOT, the
district has been able to maintain and grow exceptional academic programs and opportunities for students, move forward with two capital projects that
have focused on improving and maintaining the facilities with little to no cost to local taxpayers, and stabilize taxes for ten years. While this has been an
exceptional opportunity for the district and local community, the end of the PILOT is drawing to a close in 2021. The Board will continue to make
decisions that are fiscally conservative and focus on ensuring financial stability for the future.
During the days leading to the budget adoption meeting, the Board will make important decisions in providing the school district with the necessary
financial means to continue its long record of academic success and fiscal responsibility. Please know that we will work hard to make certain that the
final school tax bill in September will be first and foremost an investment in a high quality education for our children.
The success LACS has achieved begins with strong community support. Your commitment to the young people of our school is greatly appreciated and
makes an important difference in the opportunities students will have in the years ahead. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have a
question or need information. Thank you for your support and consideration in this important matter.
Cheryl R. Steckly
Superintendent of Schools
Commissioner Elia Visits LACS
Lowville Academy was honored to host New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia on Monday, April 10th as part of her tour of the North
Country. During her visit to our school, Commissioner Elia was welcomed in a special program that featured speeches given by Student Council Presidents
from each building, Taci Smith-Elementary, Hugo Zabielowicz-Middle School, and Chelsea Munger-High School. In addition, the High School Select Chorus
performed the National Anthem and Alma Mater. Following the program, Mrs. Elia toured the building, visited classrooms and spoke with students and
It was truly a privilege to have Commissioner Elia visit our school. We were very proud to showcase all of the wonderful things that are happening at LACS.
It was a memorable day for our entire school.
Dear Parents and Residents of the Lowville Academy and Central School District,
Outstanding Student Achievement
As a school district, we are very proud of the work we do each day and the opportunities we are able to provide
the children of our community. The Board of Education’s commitment to providing all of our students with the
very best education possible is unwavering. Over the years, LACS students have consistently performed at high
levels when compared to other NYS rural school districts. The large college-going population, low dropout rate
and extensive programming opportunities provided by the Board of Education and school community are
significant factors impacting student success. The district’s outstanding facilities, exceptional instructional and
support staff and wonderful backing of the school community combine to make Lowville Academy a rural school
district whose students leave here well prepared to meet the challenges of college or career.
Budget and State Aid Information
Beyond the district’s success in meeting high standards of academic performance, LACS has placed a priority on
operating in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner. We believe the 2017-18 proposed budget of
$27,154,444 supports high quality programming for students while also demonstrating sensitivity to the
challenging economic times that confront our community. This budget reflects an increase of $1,015,234 or
3.88% above the current year. However, $745,000 of the increase is for new debt payments on the capital project
that are offset by a similar increase in state building aid revenues. Without the new debt service, the increase in
the budget for 2017-18 would be just 1.03%. Total state aid for the district is up budget to budget approximately
$1,267,234. The Board of Education’s long term strategic planning and conservative budgeting has been
beneficial in keeping programs and opportunities intact for our students. The Board continues to be sensitive to
the needs of the community and to evaluate each and every area of the budget to minimize growth and make
reductions wherever possible.
District Tax Levy
The Board of Education is projecting no increase in the tax levy for 2017-18. Since 2005, the true tax key has
decreased more than 50% from a high of $14.82/1000 in 2005-06 to $7.29/1000 in 2016-17. In 2017-18, we
anticipate the true tax key to decrease slightly due to the increase in total assessed value of properties in the
district. Final equalization rates and assessed values will determine each town’s share of taxes and the amount of
individual property tax bills in August 2017.
The information enclosed will provide you with a detailed look at the specifics of the proposed spending plan and
the accompanying funding priorities of the Board of Education. We hope the strong tradition of community
support for academic excellence will continue in the 210th year of Lowville Academy’s existence. We remain
committed to fulfilling the promise of a bright educational future for every child. We urge you to join us at the
budget hearing on Monday, May 8, 2017 and to vote on
Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
Lowville Academy and Central School Board of Education
Superintendent of Schools, Cheryl R. Steckly
School Board Election News
The LACS Board of Education includes nine individuals serving three-year terms. The current Board of Education consists of: Thomas Schneeberger
President, Rebecca Kelly Vice President, James Farquhar, Jeffery Hellinger, Stephanie Houser Fouse, Michael Judd, Paul Kelly, Dr. Steven Lyndaker,
and Michael Young.
Any resident of the Lowville Academy school district who meets state qualifications is eligible to run for the Board of Education. The Board member seats
of Mr. Thomas Schneeberger, Mrs. Rebecca Kelly and Mr. Michael Young will be up for election in the May 16 budget vote. Individuals interested in
becoming a candidate for election to the Board of Education may obtain a nominating petition in the district’s central administrative office during normal
business hours. Completed petitions must be returned to the district office by 4:30 p.m., April 17, 2017. Petitions must be signed by a minimum of 25
qualified voters of the district with the specific seat identified upon submittal.
Absentee Ballots Available
Absentee ballots for the annual budget vote and school board election will be available for any qualified voter who otherwise is unable to vote in person
on May 16, 2017.
A qualified voter is eligible for an absentee ballot when he or she is:
Absent from district when polls are open due to business, occupation or studies;
Confined in hospital or jail;
Chronically ill or has a physical disability;
Absent due to vacation - whether actively working or retired
Qualified voters desiring an absentee ballot will need to complete an application. Applications will be available beginning on April 18, and may be
obtained by contacting the school district clerk at 315-376-9100.
Applications must be returned to the district clerk as follows:
By 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 9 if absentee ballot is to be mailed to applicant
By 5:00 p.m. Monday, May 15 if absentee ballot is to be picked up at school by the applicant.
All absentee ballots must be returned to the district clerk by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 for the ballot to be counted.
Qualified voters with disabilities who are named on the county list will automatically be sent an absentee ballot. Please contact the School District Clerk,
Sandra M. Rivers, if you have questions or would like additional information regarding the absentee ballot procedure. She can be reached at 315-376-
SCHOOL DISTRICT TAX CODE
The New York State personal income tax form calls for a school district tax code.
The code for those living in the Lowville Central School District is #355