Dear Parents and Community Members,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each of you. This is a busy month in school with many exciting events and activities. Our music department plans special concerts, students enthusiastically participate in holiday activities and the winter athletic calendar is full with games, meets and tournaments. We invite you to celebrate the season and get in the holiday spirit by attending one of the many events that are taking place throughout the month of December. We recognize that this is a busy time with many important and worthwhile activities throughout the community, however we hope that you are able to join us for a holiday school event. Our students, faculty and staff truly appreciate your presence and support.
As we near the end of the calendar year, it is a good time to look back on the past year and reflect on all that has been accomplished. As a school district we are very proud of how well our students perform both in and outside the classroom. Regardless of the success that has been achieved, we always strive to improve and become better. Through the implementation of new instructional methods, we have seen children become stronger readers, writers and math students. The High School was designated by US News & World Report as a Silver Award winner, being named one of America’s Best High Schools. Over $100,000 was awarded to our seniors at graduation as a result of the generosity of alumni and members of this community. Students had an opportunity to participate in one of the 17 varsity sports or several music programs that are offered. The district remains committed to providing instructional supports to students who may need academic intervention or special education services in addition we continue to provide many opportunities for instructional enrichment as well. Our community members continue to be dedicated supporters of Lowville Academy, and for that we are truly grateful. We all desire the same thing for our students: to be successful in the 21st century, to be good citizens and make positive contributions to their community. As we move into 2018, I want to thank each of your for supporting your child and working in partnership with us as we remain focused on our goal of providing the best educational opportunities for each of our students.
From all of us here at Lowville Academy, we want to wish you a very happy holiday season and the best in the new year. Please know how much we value the children of this community and we look forward to working with all of our students and families in 2018. In the midst of the busyness of this holiday season, we hope that you have the opportunity to slow down and enjoy time with your family and friends, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Cheryl R. Steckly
Superintendent of Schools
Property Tax Relief Programs
The enacted 2016-17 State budget included a provision to gradually transition the STAR property tax exemption into a STAR credit program.
The eligibility requirements for the STAR credit will remain the same as the STAR exemption.
Homeowners who received the STAR exemption for the 2016-17 school year will continue to receive the exemption as long as they own their current home.
Once a home is transferred, the new owners will not be eligible for the exemption. Instead they will register with New York State and receive a STAR credit in the form of a check each year.
The amount of the STAR credit for a property owner will equal the STAR savings they would have received if they had the property tax exemption.
The Tax Department developed a STAR registration Web app that allows new homeowners to easily register for STAR at www.tax.ny.gov. Homeowners also have the option to register over the phone at 518-457-2036.
Eligible homeowners who registered by July 1 and live in school districts that levy on or before September 1 (Lowville CSD does) will receive their checks in the fall.
Property Tax Relief Credit
Additionally, a property tax relief credit in the form of a check may help to directly reduce your property tax burden.
Homeowners who receive a STAR exemption or STAR credit are eligible for a property tax relief credit check this year if they meet the following requirements:
Live in a school district that complied with the property tax cap (Lowville CSD did comply), and
Have a 2015 tax year income of $275,000 or less
This year, the property tax relief credit will be a percentage of a homeowner’s STAR benefit, with lower incomes receiving a higher percentage benefit.
You must have paid property taxes in 2017. The credit amount cannot exceed the school tax due amount for the property.
School District Tax Warrant
The Board of Education unanimously approved the district tax warrant of $3,927,275 which is a decrease of $12,796 from 2016-17 in order to stay compliant with the property tax cap. In addition, this year $100,000 will be raised for the public libraries for a total warrant of $4,027,275.
Superintendent of Schools, Cheryl R. Steckly, indicated that all of the eleven towns will see a decrease in the tax rate per thousand due to the overall increase of taxable assessed value in the district.
In the Town of Lowville, the tax percentage of the entire warrant remained at approximately 50% of the $4.027 million. This means the Town of Lowville will raise $2,022,260 of the total levy. The next largest amount by town was Watson at $575,980, followed by Martinsburg at $442,283. The smallest dollar amount paid by any town was West Turin at $2,455.
The figures are projected averages, indicated Mrs. Steckly, and individual assessment changes will actually alter the final tax bill. Please see the next article for detailed information on the 2017-18 tax warrant.
2017-18 School Tax Levy Fact Sheet
What is the Tax Warrant? The tax warrant is simply the local share of the school budget once all other revenue sources have been applied. Each year, the Board of Education sets the tax warrant, which is then converted to a specific tax rate for each town. School tax bills are then equalized by town to ensure a fair distribution of the tax levy. Within a town, the dollar amount is apportioned according to each property’s assessed value.
How Much is the 2017-18 Warrant? The Board of Education will levy $4,027,275 in taxes across the eleven towns of the district. This figure represents just 14.46% of the total budget of $27.2 million. The district tax warrant has only increased two times since the 2005-06 school year and is decreasing for the current year.
What is the True Tax Key? The True Tax Key is the total tax warrant divided by the full value of the entire district. The True Tax Key does not reflect changes within a given town, but is a precise overall financial measure from year to year. This figure is a very low $7.16 per $1,000 of full property value. The “true tax” key has dropped from a high of $14.82 in 2005-06. This is a drop of nearly 52% that is directly linked to the Wind Turbine Pilot.
What are the tax rates for 2017-18 for each of the 11 towns in LACS? The tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2017-18 follows below. The tax rates for the 11 towns are related to each town’s equalization rate and overall property wealth. The property wealth of each town is linked to the full value of all taxable property that falls within the school district borders. Equalization rates determine the ratio of each specific town’s value to the other for tax distribution purposes. Even though rates per $1,000 may vary widely by town, in essence they are “equal” for school tax purposes.
* SCHOOL Tax rates by town fOR 2017-18
Did the STAR value change? Though the Basic and Enhanced STAR and the STAR Credit programs are still in place, their value changes each year based on a state formula. The school district has no control of this formula which fluctuates up and down each year.
Mrs. Cheryl Steckly
Superintendent of Schools
7668 State Street
Lowville, NY 13367
Letter from the Superintendent