We wanted to share some information about NYS Ballot Proposition #1 in next week’s election, which raises the debt limit for small city school districts to 10%. This proposition was just added to the ballot last week, but has been in discussion for many years.
A little background on this issue: there are actually 57 “small cities” in New York State, of which Long Beach is one. When the NYS constitution established small cities as a definition in 1951, they set the debt limit (the amount districts can legally borrow) at 5% of the full average valuation of taxable real estate in the area. All other suburban and rural districts have a 10% limit. For Long Beach, we have never even come close to the 5% limit, because the property values in this area are so high. For most other small cities, though, especially those in upstate New York, the 5% limit has made it really difficult for districts to borrow enough for maintenance and construction projects. And it doesn’t make sense today to treat places like Glens Falls, Elmira, and Plattsburgh like NYC!
Again, whether or not this proposition is adopted won’t have a direct impact on Long Beach, but it will make a big difference for many students in small city districts all over the State.
For more info: http://www.smallcityschools.org/
Dr. Jennifer Gallagher
Superintendent of Schools