Bill S6874A-2013

Relates to establishing equalization rates for Greenburgh Central School District

Relates to establishing equalization rates for Greenburgh Central School District.

Details

Actions

  • Jun 4, 2014: PRINT NUMBER 6874A
  • Jun 4, 2014: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • Mar 24, 2014: REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S6874A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property tax law, in relation to establishing equalization rates for Greenburgh central school district

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To establish a special equalization rate for the Greenburgh central school district commencing in the 2014-2015 school year.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends real property tax law section 1230 subdivision 3, as amended by section 54 part Al of chapter 58 of the laws of 2006, by adding Greenburgh central school district to the list of school districts for which special equalization rates have been established.

Section 2 provides formulas for calculating aid apportioned to Greenburgh central school district for any project for which aid is first apportioned pursuant to subdivision 6 of section 3602 of the education law on or after July 1, 2014; for calculating the selected building aid ratio equivalent which shall not be less than zero; and for calculating the equivalent pupils of the school district.

This section also provides that shall determine such equivalent and not subject to change on or the office of real property services actual valuation and it shall be final after July first, two thousand fifteen.

Section 3 defines the effective to the 2014-2015 school year.date as immediately and applies this act

JUSTIFICATION: Greenburgh Central School District (the Greenburgh School District) lies within the unincorporated Town of Greenburgh. For purposes of computing Greenburgh School District's state aid to education, the assessing unit is the Town of Greenburgh and includes the unincorporated areas of Greenburgh, including Edgemont, a community with far greater property value and income than the Greenburgh School District. School-aged children residing in Edgemont attend the Edgemont Union Free School District (Edgemont School District).

This legislation amends existing law to establish a special equalization rate for the Greenburgh School District for the purpose of determining actual valuation to calculate its operating and building aid.

Under current law education state aid is determined through the use of equalization rates. A State Equalization Rate is the percentage of full value at which taxable real property in a county, city, town or village is assessed as determined by the State Board of Equalization and Assessment. This determination assumes assessment at a uniform percentage of value. Value is computed by dividing the assessed value of taxable real property within a district by the State Equalization Rate.

Since the equalization rate used in the state aid formula is based on the actual valuation of the entire unincorporated Town of Greenburgh including the much wealthier community of Edgemont, the full value of the property in the Greenburgh School District is overstated thereby reducing the amount of education aid received by the district.

This legislation is intended to correct this inequitable situation by calculating the equalization rate based on the total assessed value of property in the Greenburgh School District only.

In addition to differing property wealth there are many additional reasons that justify a special equalization rate for the Greenburgh School District. Income wealth and socio/ethnic diversity in the Greenburgh School District also differ greatly from the Edgemont School District.

Based on home property values and income, the Edgemont School District is one of the wealthiest communities in New York State. According to multiple Listing Service statistics, the median residential sale price for the year 2013 was $968,750 in Edgemont compared to $433,000 in the Greenburgh School District. The median home price in Edgemont is more than twice the median home price in the Greenburgh School District. Moreover, the median residential sale price for the year 2013 in Westchester County was $610,000 which is substantially higher than the median sale price of a home in the Greenburgh School District but substantially lower than a home in the Edgemont School District.

Edgemont's median family income ($176,493) is more than twice that of the Greenburgh Central School's median family income ($87,660). Edgemont's per capital income ($71,287) is almost twice that of the Greenburgh School District's ($37,797).

An even greater indicator of the differences between the two communities is reflected in the percentage of students who receive free/reduced lunch. 51% of Greenburgh School District's students receive a free/reduced lunch; Edgemont has 0% students receiving a free/reduced lunch. In addition, Greenburgh School District's black and Hispanic population is 78%; Edgemont School District's black and Hispanic population is 5%.

Utilizing an equalization rate based on the combined assessed value of the Unincorporated Town of Greenburgh is unfair in its treatment of the Greenburgh School District. The Greenburgh School District, the poorer district, is penalized by incorporating the wealthier community of the Edgemont School District's total assessed value into the Unincorporated Town of Greenburgh's calculation. This method makes the Greenburgh School District appear wealthier than is actually the case, thereby lowering its fair share of state aid.

A comparison between The Greenburgh School District and a similar school district, Tarrytown, confirms the current inequity. Tarrytown's building aid ratio was 25% from 1996-2001 and 32% from 2001 to the present whereas the Greenburgh School District's has remained steady at 4.8%.

Moreover, a comparison between the Greenburgh School District and other wealthy school districts in Westchester County further

exemplifies the inequity of the building state aid received by the Greenburgh School District. The Scarsdale Union Free School District's building aid is 9.5%; Bronxville Union Free School District's building aid is 10.1%; and Chappaqua Central School District's building aid is 23.6%

Precedent for the establishment of special equalization rates for school districts in similar circumstances as the Greenburgh School District is firmly established in the law.

In 1983, the then Governor signed into law legislation to require the State Board of Equalization and Assessment to establish special equalization rates for the Hempstead and Freeport Union Free School Districts. The rationale for these special laws was that a "special" rate should be established for education aid purposes because the areas encompassed by these school districts were assessed at a higher ratio of assessed value to market value than the Town of Hempstead as a whole causing a hardship to these school districts (identical to the Greenburgh School District situation).

In 1984, Governor Mario Cuomo vetoed special equalization rate bills for four school districts (Lindenhurst, Amityville, Patchogue-Medford and Babylon) based upon his objection to a "case-by-case" approach to this issue and directed the State Board to develop recommendations to address this issue in a "comprehensive, statewide manner that will make similar local bills unnecessary."

In 1986, chapter 660 of the Laws of New York State was enacted establishing a task force to examine the impact of the use of state equalization rates in the distribution of state aid to education. The school districts surveyed included 53 districts in Nassau, all or part of 57 districts in six towns in Suffolk, two districts in Erie and one district in Albany County. Notably, no Westchester County school district was included in this study. This task force recommended that "segment equalization" rates not be established for school districts because most school districts would not be affected. Accordingly, the State could not justify the cost of establishing rates for every district. The only recourse available for school districts that were not properly assessed was to enact legislation that would authorize the State Board to establish a special "segment" equalization rate. Thus, in 1989 the Legislature passed and Governor Mario Cuomo signed a law establishing a Special Equalization Rata for each of six school districts in Nassau and Suffolk Counties: Uniondale, Westbury, Central Islip, Brentwood, Wyandanch and Amityville. Significantly, this legislation established special "segment" equalization rates for Suffolk County districts despite the fact that there was insufficient data regarding actual valuation for these school districts. More recently, in 2006 the Legislature passed and the then Governor signed a law establishing a Special Equalization Rate for the Tuckahoe School District in Westchester County due to the fact that its state aid was unfairly impacted by the wealth of the Village of Bronxville.

The Greenburgh School District is currently iii the same situation as were these Suffolk County districts and the Tuckahoe School District, over-valued and losing critical state aid dollars. The only way for the Greenburgh School District to receive its fair share of state aid is to amend the current law to include the Greenburgh School District

among those districts already provided a special equalization rate. As set forth above, precedent for this legislation is well established.

Receiving its fair share of building aid is a critical issue for the Greenburgh School District at this time. To address growing enrollment, the increase in mandated courses, implementation of the Common Core, and the need to update its aging facilities, Greenburgh is proposing a major construction project that will consolidate all of the Greenburgh School District's educational programs on a single campus.

To accomplish this vision, the District would sell two schools, expand the school already on the 100 acre campus for pre-kindergarten through second grade; construct a new facility to serve children in grades three through eight; and renovate the high school which serves students in ninth through 12th grades.

In 2008, a state audit of the current six buildings in the District showed that it would cost, at that time, approximately fifty million dollars to bring them up to code. The projected cost to consolidate all six locations on one campus is one hundred million dollars. It is estimated that the sale of the two school properties in the District will range between $2.5 and $5 million and that the consolidation of the District on one campus will save money by eliminating some administrative positions and cutting transportation costs. Moreover, the new facilities would be technologically up to date and incorporate the latest energy-saving materials.

The construction of these new and improved facilities is critical to the continued academic success of the Greenburgh School District. An increase in building aid will improve the likelihood of getting voter support for the bond referendum needed for this project.

This legislation will allow the Greenburgh School District to utilize a special equalization rate to calculate its select aid ratio and help rectify a long existing inequity in state aid received by the District.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6874--A IN SENATE March 24, 2014 ___________
Introduced by Sen. STEWART-COUSINS -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Local Government -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the real property tax law, in relation to establishing equalization rates for Greenburgh central school district THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 1230 of the real property tax law, as amended by section 54 of part A1 of chapter 58 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows: 3. Special equalization rates shall be established for the following school districts: Amityville union free school district Brentwood school district Central Islip school district Freeport union free school district GREENBURGH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT Hempstead union free school district Roosevelt union free school district Tuckahoe union free school district Uniondale union free school district Westbury union free school district Wyandanch school district S 2. For calculation of aid apportioned to the Greenburgh central school district for any project for which aid is first apportioned pursuant to subdivision 6 of section 3602 of the education law on or after July 1, 2014, the district shall compute aid under the provisions of such subdivision using the greater of: a. the building aid ratio computed for use in the current year; or b. a building aid ratio equal to the difference of the selected build- ing aid ratio equivalent computed pursuant to this section, less one- tenth.
(1) The selected building aid ratio equivalent shall be the positive difference of: (a) one, less (b) the product, computed to three decimal places without rounding, of (i) the quotient, computed to three decimal places without rounding, of (A) the quotient, computed to the nearest whole number without round- ing, of (I) the actual valuation of the school district, as defined pursuant to subdivision 1 of section 3602 of the education law, divided by (II) the equivalent pupils of the school district (B) divided by the state average actual valuation per pupil computed pursuant to subdivision 3 of section 3602 of the education law, multi- plied by (ii) fifty-one percent. Such aid ratio shall not be less than zero. (2) The equivalent pupils of the school district shall be the quotient, computed to the nearest whole number without rounding, of (a) an equivalent actual valuation equal to the amount that would be computed obtained by taking the assessed valuation of taxable real prop- erty within such district as it appears upon the assessment roll of the town in which such property is located, for the calendar year two years prior to the calendar year in which the base year commenced, after revision as provided by law, and dividing it by the state equalization rate as determined by the state office of real property services, for the assessment roll of such town completed during such preceding calen- dar year, divided by (b) the product, computed to the nearest whole number without round- ing, of (i) the state average actual valuation per pupil computed pursuant to subdivision 3 of section 3602 of the education law, multiplied by (ii) the quotient, computed to three decimals without rounding, of (A) the positive difference of (I) one less (II) the building aid ratio that was used or that would have been used to compute an apportionment pursuant to subdivision 6 of section 3602 of the education law in the 1999--2000 school year, divided by (B) fifty-one one-hundredths. The office of real property services shall determine such equivalent actual valuation and shall report it to the state comptroller and the commissioner of education. Such computations shall be deemed final and not subject to change on or after July 1, 2015. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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