5 school superintendents say districts control tax levy, not change with reassessments

Posted 12 May 2023 at 9:46 pm


This week, many homeowners in Orleans County received new assessments reflecting the unprecedented home value rise over the last several years.

We have received many calls at the local school districts inquiring about what the new assessments will do to the tax rates.

As a local taxing authority, the school district has no control over the tax rate or a house’s assessed value. A school district can control the tax levy, which is the amount of money the school can collect for taxes in a given year. That number does not change with the assessments that many have received.

In practical terms, if the total assessed value of the property in the school district doubled, the school tax rate would be cut in half. Once the assessment rolls are finalized, the county assessor will determine the total assessed value of each school district, divide that total assessed value by the amount of the tax levy, and establish a tax rate for each school district.

However, it is very important to note that not everyone’s assessment changes equally when reassessment happens. One person’s home assessment may have increased by $50,000, while another person’s home assessment may have increased by $150,000. Because of the difference in assessment changes, some people may ultimately find that the total amount of taxes they pay decreases.

There has also been some chatter on social media that states that schools and local governments use the increased assessments to take more in tax money. In Orleans County, that is simply not true.

In some communities, school districts tell voters, “The tax rate is unchanged,” implying that there will be no tax increase while at the same time raising their tax levy by the same percentage their total assessed value has increased. For those districts that do this, they will collect more money with taxes while at the same time claiming that they did not raise the tax rate. We feel doing that is unethical, lacks transparency, and causes taxpayers to lose trust in the schools.

In Orleans County, the school districts will always be honest with taxpayers during the budget process, and will never resort to a tactic that we just described. We will always discuss our tax levy, as that is the only part of a school tax bill where the district has direct control.

We would like to thank everyone for their continued support of our schools. Sincerely,

Mickey Edwards, Superintendent, Albion CSD

Brian Bartalo, Superintendent, Holley CSD

Nicholas Picardo, Superintendent, Kendall CSD

Sharon Smith, Superintendent, Lyndonville CSD

Mark Kruzynski, Superintendent, Medina CSD