Is Enough Being Done To Rein In School Spending?

Is Enough Being Done To Rein In School Spending?

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If your school tax increase is relatively low, the Empire Center for Public Policy says there's a reason.

Its study says many school districts spend right up to their state-imposed property tax caps and go no further.

"The conclusion is that the tax cap is doing its job, restraining the growth of property taxes in New York state," said Ken Girardin, the Empire Center for Public Policy.

But the center also points to record-high levels of state aid and says this:

"School districts are educating fewer students, especially upstate, but we're continually expecting more money from Albany and more money from property taxpayers. This is a trend that isn't sustainable," said Girardin.

Some voters we spoke with are sympathetic to the financial challenges school districts face.

"I think they should spend whatever they need because you've got to educate the children these days," said Nicola Luciani of Watertown.

"I don't know that the school spends too much money but I think we ought to know what it's spent for," said Ron Roberts, Watertown.

A BOCES superintendent says schools have no control over many of their costs, which rise much faster than their tax caps.

"They might see increases in their health insurance costs many times greater than that, or in retirement, contributions many times greater than that," said Steve Todd, Jeff-Lewis BOCES superintendent.

The Empire Center says there's more to be done to set New York on the right track.

Look for details on the voting results on our website and also on the air Tuesday on 7 News at 11.

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