Friday, March 11, 2011

33 local school districts have joined in calling for mandate relief from New York State

Be it Resolved by the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association that Legislative and Unfunded Mandate Relief Must be Included in any NY State Property Tax Cap Proposal.

WHEREAS, New York State leads the nation in local property taxes, in large part because New York leads the nation in imposing unfunded state mandates upon our local municipalities and school districts; and

WHEREAS, state mandated pension fund contributions are one of the largest components of every school district and municipal budget over which local officials have little control, and are increasing at exorbitant rates annually such that bills from the State Retirement System (ERS) will increase 40% and bills from the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) will increase 33% in the 2011-12 school year; and

WHEREAS, state laws such as the Triborough Amendment, pertaining to the collective bargaining of contracts between school districts and employee unions, impede the ability of local officials to reasonably control the costs that such contracts impose upon local property taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, as a solution to New York’s property tax crisis, the Governor of New York and members of the New York State Legislature have pledged to consider enactment of legislation imposing a cap on the annual growth in local property taxes; and

WHEREAS, any property tax cap must be accompanied simultaneously (1) by ending the practice of pushing State costs onto local school districts and municipalities, and (2) by a repeal of current underfunded or unfunded state mandates that require local municipalities and school districts to significantly increase spending and therefore local property taxes; and

WHEREAS, a property tax cap without repeal of costly underfunded and unfunded state mandates will inescapably lead to drastic cuts in essential local school district programs and services, as well as significant layoffs of school district employees;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association, which represents 54 school districts serving over 165,000 students and their families, that the Governor of the State of New York and the members of the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly must reform the cost drivers that lead to high property taxes in New York – including mandate relief, pension benefits and the collective bargaining process – as the central element of any effort to provide property tax relief to the residents and businesses of New York State.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Governor, Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, Assembly Speaker and Minority Leader, and the members of the State Senate and Assembly representing Westchester and Putnam Counties.

School Districts that have approved the Resolution as of 3/10/2011:
  1. Bedford Central School District
  2. Blind Brook-Rye Union Free School District
  3. Brewster Central School District
  4. Carmel Central School District
  5. Chappaqua Central School District
  6. Croton-Harmon Union Free School District
  7. Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District
  8. Eastchester Union Free School District
  9. Elmsford Union Free School District
  10. Garrison Union Free School District
  11. Greenburgh Eleven Union Free School District
  12. Haldane Central School District
  13. Hendrick Hudson Central School District
  14. Irvington Union Free School District
  15. Katonah-Lewisboro Union Free School District
  16. Mahopac Central School District
  17. Mamaroneck Union Free School District
  18. Mount Pleasant Central School District
  19. New Rochelle City School District
  20. North Salem Central School District
  21. Peekskill City School District
  22. Pleasantville Union Free School District
  23. Port Chester Union Free School District
  24. Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES
  25. Putnam Valley Central School District
  26. Rye City School District
  27. Rye Neck Union Free School District
  28. Scarsdale Union Free School District
  29. Southern Westchester BOCES
  30. Tarrytowns Union Free School District
  31. Valhalla Union Free School District
  32. White Plains City School District
  33. Yorktown Central School District


  1. Unfunded mandates are a very small part of the problem.

    Far-above-inflation annual compensation increases combined with far-above-inflation annual increases in cost of benefits combined with underfunded pensions are the problem.

    I'll email you the list of unfunded mandates my district gives out.

  2. Mandated pension costs account for about 40% of our school's budget increase this year, so I consider them a significant part of the problem.

    But I would agree that most of the other mandates are not a big part of the problem.