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Monday, May 23, 2011

Why can the BOE raise taxes?

Question: I just want to know how the schooil board can raise taxes on older pople who are on fixed incomes? These pople have no way to make more money. They will have to give up their homes, meds, or food.

Answer: Taxes are charged to all property owners in a district. There is no way to differentiate who gets taxed what amount other than the value of the property. The financial circumstances of particular individuals within a school district have always been and will continue to be different and this is out of the control of the district. We produce a budget that attempts to fulfill the mission of the school and remain fiscally responsible.

Some number of people will be financially stressed no matter how much the total tax levy. This is certainly regrettable and B-P has, for many years, made great efforts to keep the tax levy as low as possible. It is worth noting that the tax levy (per $1,000 of home value) is lower in the Broadalbin-Perth district than 85% of districts in the state. This means that if you could move your house anywhere in NY, you'd likely pay more in taxes than you currently do.

There are ways to make schools cost less. In order to make meaningful change and reduce some of the greatest costs of schools in NY state we need to let our representatives know that we demand reform of education laws. We need mandate relief, a change in the way schools are funded, and reform of the laws governing collective bargaining.

If you would like to help make this change possible please click on this link, take a few minutes to fill in the appropriate information, and mail the letter to your representatives.
Assemblyman Marc Butler
District Office: 33-41 E. Main Street, Johnstown, NY 12095
Phone: 518-762-6486

Senator Hugh T. Farley
District Office: 2430 Riverfront Center, Amsterdam, NY 12010
Phone: (518) 843-2188

-answered by Ed Szumowski, Board of Education Vice President


  1. The BOE can also decide to decline a $10,000 raise to one of their highest paid employees during financially difficult times for everyone. ie: significantly reduced state aid, no raises for those in the private sector for years, no raises for those on SS, many unemployed - not to mention hitting the taxpayers with a double digit increase two years in a row. This budget was declined for a reason -You guys are not listening to the taxpayers! Well, can you hear us now!

  2. Ed Szumowski, Board of Education Vice President2:45 PM, May 23, 2011

    According to the data available from the New York state department of education and SeeThroughNY, Broadalbin-Perth is one of the lowest cost and most efficient districts of its size in the state. You can look it up yourself (here:
    and here: or I'd be willing to show you the data. (Email the board at

    It is false to claim that the district isn't listening. We've had round-table discussions, forums, a tax bill work shop, started this web page, employed BOCES services for better communication, and we've rejected no suggestion related to better communication with the public. We've put all details of the budget online for you to view and ask questions. We've been pleading for input from the community.

    The reasons for double-digit increases in previous years have been given in excruciating detail and they have to do with several big themes including (but not limited to):
    State funding of schools being tied to stock market success/failure
    Increasing mandates with concurrent reductions in aid
    Rising costs of health benefits and pensions
    Taylor Law limitations on the negotiating powers of boards of education
    B-P spent down too much of its fund balance following the merger in order to keep the tax rate artificially low
    The Hudson River/Black River regulating district not paying their taxes (We sued to get this money.)

    The purpose of the school is to educate students to the highest level possible while in compliance with NY state law and within the means of the taxpayers.

    The current proposed budget was prepared with all of those factors in mind. We tried to produce a budget that would get a 'yes' and failed. There are a number of reasons for this and the board will be considering the best course of action in the coming days.