Budget Questions & Answers (2019-20)

Is the proposed budget within the tax cap?
Yes. The estimated tax levy increase is 2.65 percent, which is below the District’s maximum allowable increase, or “tax cap,” of 3.20 percent (as calculated under the state’s tax cap guidelines).

The New York State (NYS) property tax cap law requires schools to use an eight-step formula to determine how much they can increase their tax levy each year. Although it is often described as a “2% tax cap,” the calculation does not always work out to be an even 2 percent. In fact, very few school districts actually have a 2% tax cap because the formula causes the cap to vary from district to district. The maximum tax levy increase calculated for Cairo-Durham is 3.20 percent, meaning a 2.65% increase is within the tax cap. 

The bar graph below illustrates the 2019-20 proposed tax levy increases for many regional school districts. As you can see, the figures range from about 1 percent to more than 4 percent:

local tax levies 2019

Is there a property tax rebate this year?
Yes, the NYS Property Tax Rebate applies for 2019. To qualify, homeowners must receive the STAR exemption, make less than $275,000 a year and live in school districts that pass budgets at or below the tax cap. Historically, Cairo-Durham’s budgets have stayed within the calculated tax cap and will do so again for 2019-20 (see graph below). Therefore, taxpayers who meet the eligibility requirements should receive a rebate check from the state. To learn more, visit the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance’s website

tax levy history 2013 to 2019

What happens if the budget is defeated?
If the budget is not approved on May 21, the District may submit the original budget or submit a revised budget to the voters on June 18. If the resubmitted/revised budget proposal is not approved by the required margin, the Board of Education must adopt a contingency budget with a 0% increase in tax levy. Under a contingent budget, the District is only allowed to expend funds for specific mandates. Each program and department would be reviewed to eliminate non-mandated expenses for the 2019-20 school year. Non-mandated programs include: athletic programs, extracurricular activities and field trips.

Voter Information

What am I voting on?
Voters will decide on the following items: A $31,806,451 budget for the 2019-20 school year, a proposition to purchase six school buses, and four candidates for the Board of Education.

When and where is the vote?
Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 1-9 p.m. in the Cairo-Durham Middle School cafeteria.

Who is eligible to vote?
Anyone who is a U.S. citizen, age 18 or older, and is a registered voter who resides within the Cairo-Durham Central School District for at least 30 days prior to the vote.

How can I vote by absentee ballot?
Qualified district residents who are unable to vote in person can vote by absentee ballot. For an application, call the district office at 518-622-8534, ext. 25010. The application deadline is May 7, 2019, if the ballot is to be mailed to the voter or the day before the vote if the ballot is to be personally delivered. All completed absentee ballots must be received by the Board Clerk no later than 5 p.m. on May 21, 2019.

What if I have questions?
For further information, please call the District Office at 518-622-8534 (ext. 25010) or visit our Budget & Tax Information webpage


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