The school budget is the biggest investment the community collectively makes with its tax dollars. District leaders work to make the most effective use of resources to benefit students, to develop and manage the budget in a responsible and transparent manner and to be accountable to taxpayers. Each spring the board of education adopts a budget for the coming school year for a community vote.
2020-21 school budget at-a-glance
Budget increase: $2,423,616; 2.82%
Tax levy increase: $2,112,405; 3.33%
Annual school budget vote and board election to be held by absentee ballot
In an executive order issued on Friday, May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and board of education election will take place exclusively by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The district mailed all qualified voters within the district an absentee ballot with a prepaid return envelope. Qualified voters are defined as U.S. citizens 18 years or older who have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. The absentee ballot mailing list was comprised of registered voters within the district.
If you did not receive an absentee ballot and believe you should have, absentee ballot applications are available online or by calling 315-692-1200.
Applications must be received at the F-M District Office by 4 p.m. June 2 if the ballot is to be mailed, or 4 p.m. June 8 if the ballot is to be picked up. The district clerk will determine address eligibility of those who submit applications before issuing a ballot.
Returning your ballot
To be counted, school budget ballots can be accepted by hand delivery through 5 p.m. June 9 or received by mail through June 16 by the school district.
Ballots may be dropped off at the F-M District Office, 8199 E. Seneca Turnpike, Manlius, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 3, 4 and 5 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 8 and 9. Hand delivered ballots must be received by 5 p.m. June 9, per the state.
On June 7, Gov. Cuomo extended the deadline by which districts can receive ballots in the mail to June 16 (it had been June 9).
At the canvass
Board of education-appointed election inspectors will open the ballot envelopes and count the votes. Envelopes will be recorded as received by name to ensure no duplicate voting has occurred.
The board of education-appointed election inspectors will count the envelopes to ensure that the number at the canvass is the same as the number received. The election inspectors will then open the envelopes, and the actual ballots will be placed in one box and the envelopes with the signed affidavits will be placed in another box.
When this sorting process is completed, the actual ballots will be tabulated by the election inspectors, who will be working in teams of two.
Election inspectors, as they count the envelopes, will ensure eligibility. The eligibility terms are signed off on by the voter and can be grounds for a challenge to the received ballot as determined by the election inspectors.
The list of those individuals who voted is public information. The way a particular individual chose to vote will remain confidential.
Video highlights budget proposal
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the district will not be holding its typical in-person community meetings to share information about the budget proposal. Instead, the district has produced the video below that details the proposal.
What is the difference between the tax levy and tax rate?
The tax levy is the total amount of money a school district raises in taxes each year from all property owners in the district. Tax rates are calculated by dividing the total amount of the levy by the total taxable assessed value in a community. Tax rates are affected by changes in municipal assessments and state equalization rates, which are determined in the summer. The tax rate is used to calculate each individual property tax bill.
What is the tax levy limit, or tax cap?
The tax levy limit is the highest allowable tax levy (before exemptions) that a school district can propose as part of its annual budget for which a simple majority of voters (50 percent + 1) would be required for authorization. Any proposed tax levy amount above this limit would require budget approval by a supermajority (60 percent or more) of voters. The tax levy limit sets a threshold requiring districts to obtain a higher level of community support for a proposed tax levy above a certain amount.
School tax information
Tax rates for each municipality within the district are set each August. They are based on the tax levy for the year and final municipal assessments for each of the towns. Tax rates vary between towns because property in each is assessed at different levels in relation to full market value. The state assigns each town an equalization rate to fairly divide the tax levy between the towns. The district does not control any part of the assessment or equalization process.
2019-20 school tax information
- Cazenovia: tax rate increase of 0.77% and a corresponding tax rate of $25.74 per $1,000 of assessed value;
- DeWitt: tax rate decrease of 0.23% and a corresponding tax rate of $25.49 per $1,000 of assessed value;
- Manlius: tax rate decrease of 0.23% and a corresponding tax rate of $25.49 per $1,000 of assessed value.
- Pompey: tax rate increase of 2.42% and a corresponding tax rate of $27.11 per $1,000 of assessed value; and
- Sullivan: tax rate increase of 6.27% and a corresponding tax rate of $27.70 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Questions about assessments and equalization rates should be directed to the appropriate town assessor’s office.