Edgemont school officials today asked Edgemont voters to approve the school budget next Tuesday in strong numbers because a 60% approval rate will be needed this year in order for the school budget to pass.

The Edgemont school budget is projected to increase by only 1.8% next year, but because of tax certioraris which reduced the assessed value of property in Edgemont, the hike in school taxes at around 2% will be slightly above the state mandated tax cap.  As a result, state law requires the budget to pass by a “supermajority” –defined as 60% or more.

Last year’s tax hike of 2.42% involved a budget to budget increase of 2.92%, but because of the way the tax cap algorithm is calculated, the tax hike last year was within the state mandated cap, which meant the budget only required a simple majority of 50% to pass.

Within the past ten years, as Edgemont schools have continued to be ranked among the best in the country, the school budget has usually been approved by the largest margin in Westchester County.

The decision to exceed the tax cap this year is based on projections in future years that suggest that, if the cap is exceeded this year, future tax rate hikes can be managed more predictably and thereby avoid large spikes.

The only other school district in Westchester County that is seeking this year to exceed the tax cap is Rye which, unlike Edgemont, is asking voters to approve a 6% hike for next year.

A letter from Edgemont school superintendent Victoria Kniewel, published today on the school district’s website, states as follows:

Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members,

You should have received a hard copy of the Edgemont Budget Newsletter in the mail. On page 5 of the newsletter is a Tax-Rate Comparison chart. You can see the full Tax-Rate Study here . The numbers in the study are projections and have been used for directional purposes. Watch for a video link to Dr. Edward Kennedy’s discussion of the Tax-Rate Comparison to be posted soon on the school and district websites.

The school budget and Board of Education election is on Tuesday, May 19 at Edgemont High School in the Jim San Marco Gymnasium from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Please vote. The Budget plans for future growth and stability focused by a thorough strategic planning process. While it exceeds the tax cap, the district estimates that the tax-rate increase will be in line with the past six years. Please visit the district website and contact Victoria Kniewel, Susan Shirken or a Board of Education member with questions. This link may also be helpful: Four Reasons to Exceed the Tax Cap.

Victoria Kniewel

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