Dear Parents and Members of the Lowville Academy School Community,
As another north country summer comes to an end and the beautiful colors of fall soon upon us, we are busily preparing for the beginning of a new school year and eagerly anticipate the return of students in September. As we prepare classrooms, curriculum and materials, I know that families are excitedly getting ready for the return to school by gathering supplies and enjoying the final warm days of summer. I hope that each of you has had a restful and relaxing summer. It is always wonderful to come back fresh and recharged. September always brings the promise of new expectations, new challenges and new learning. Teachers, parents and students are all given the opportunity to start again with renewed energy and enthusiasm for our common goal: encouraging and sustaining a love of learning.
The 210th year at Lowville Academy will open on Tuesday, September 5 for all Pre-K through grade 12 students and staff. Students should plan to arrive on the 5th no later than 8:30 a.m. Dismissal will be at 3:10 p.m. with the buses departing at 3:20 p.m.
I hope that you enjoy the remaining days of summer before school opens. I look forward to working with you on behalf of the students of our community. Please feel free to contact me at any time to ask questions or share your concerns. Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome.
Cheryl R. Steckly
Superintendent of Schools
Welcome to New Staff
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STAFF
Mrs. Andrea Hanselman will join the elementary school as a fourth grade teacher. Andrea taught in Virginia prior to moving back to New York State. Mrs. Hanselman holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from the State University of New York at Cortland in Childhood Education. She holds an additional Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from George Mason University. She was a very dedicated long-term substitute teacher in both Grades 2 and 5 last year. Mrs. Hanselman is a graduate of LACS and said she is excited about teaching here. She lives in Lowville with her family.
Mrs. Jessica Roggie returns to her alma mater as an elementary teacher after being a teaching assistant last year. She will be teaching third grade. Mrs. Roggie graduated from St. John Fisher College with a Bachelor’s degree and teacher certification in Childhood Education and Special Education. Mrs. Roggie has demonstrated exceptional instructional skill and ability in working well with students of all ages and abilities. Mrs. Roggie and her family live in Lowville.
Mr. Alex Boccio is joining the LACS staff after most recently teaching in the Harrisville School District. He is originally from Guilderland, NY. He and his wife currently live in Lowville. Mr. Boccio has a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master’s Degree in Music Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Instructional Technology from the College of St. Rose. Mr. Boccio is interested in working with the LACS Musical, Marching Band and Jazz Band.
Mr. Joseph Widrick will join the LACS Physical Education Department and coaching staff. He will teach primary physical education. Joe graduated from SUNY Cortland where he was a member of the wrestling team. Joe obtained his Master of Science Degree from Mississippi State in Food Science, Nutrition, and Health Promotion. He most recently taught high school physical education at South Lewis Central School District. Mr. Widrick lives in Lowville with his family.
Mrs. Megan Buell will join the elementary staff as a Teaching Assistant. Her assignment this year will be primarily with fifth grade. Megan is a graduate of South Lewis Central School District. She attended Herkimer Community College as well as SUNY Potsdam. Megan most recently worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation. Megan lives in Croghan with her family.
MIDDLE SCHOOL STAFF
Mrs. Bethany Gingerich joined Lowville Academy in May of 2017 as a teacher’s aide in the middle school. Bethany grew up in Copenhagen and is a graduate of the Practical Nursing program at the Howard G. Sackett Technical Center. She also has an Associate of Science Degree from Jefferson Community College. Bethany lives in the Lowville area with her husband.
HIGH school Staff
Mrs. Kimberly Jock returns to Lowville Academy in a one year math position through the Community Schools Grant. She will be teaching Algebra II and also Math AIS for all grade levels. Mrs. Jock received her B.A. in Mathematics from Colgate University and her Masters in Mathematics from the University of Pittsburg. Kim and her husband live in Lowville with their three children.
Mr. Derek Houppert joined the cleaning staff in April. He is a graduate of Beaver River Central School and worked previously in construction. Derek is a very thorough cleaner and hard worker and is an excellent addition to our team. He lives with his family in Lowville.
Mrs. Jaime Harper will be joining Lowville Academy as a food service worker. Mrs. Harper has previously worked for the ARC and Lewis County Opportunities. Jaime and her husband have two children who attend LACS.
Property Tax Relief Programs
The enacted 2016-17 State budget included a provision to gradually transition the STAR property tax exemption into a STAR credit program.
The eligibility requirements for the STAR credit will remain the same as the STAR exemption.
Homeowners who received the STAR exemption for the 2016-17 school year will continue to receive the exemption as long as they own their current home.
Once a home is transferred, the new owners will not be eligible for the exemption. Instead they will register with New York State and receive a STAR credit in the form of a check each year.
The amount of the STAR credit for a property owner will equal the STAR savings they would have received if they had the property tax exemption.
The Tax Department developed a STAR registration Web app that allows new homeowners to easily register for STAR at www.tax.ny.gov. Homeowners also have the option to register over the phone at 518-457-2036.
Eligible homeowners who registered by July 1 and live in school districts that levy on or before September 1 (Lowville CSD does) will receive their checks in the fall.
Property Tax Relief Credit
Additionally, a property tax relief credit in the form of a check may help to directly reduce your property tax burden.
Homeowners who receive a STAR exemption or STAR credit are eligible for a property tax relief credit check this year if they meet the following requirements:
Live in a school district that complied with the property tax cap (Lowville CSD did comply), and
Have a 2015 tax year income of $275,000 or less
This year, the property tax relief credit will be a percentage of a homeowner’s STAR benefit, with lower incomes receiving a higher percentage benefit.
You must have paid property taxes in 2017. The credit amount cannot exceed the school tax due amount for the property.
School District Tax Warrant
The Board of Education unanimously approved the district tax warrant of $3,927,275 which is a decrease of $12,796 from 2016-17 in order to stay compliant with the property tax cap. In addition, this year $100,000 will be raised for the public libraries for a total warrant of $4,027,275.
Superintendent of Schools, Cheryl R. Steckly, indicated that all of the eleven towns will see a decrease in the tax rate per thousand due to the overall increase of taxable assessed value in the district.
In the Town of Lowville, the tax percentage of the entire warrant remained at approximately 50% of the $4.027 million. This means the Town of Lowville will raise $2,022,260 of the total levy. The next largest amount by town was Watson at $575,980, followed by Martinsburg at $442,283. The smallest dollar amount paid by any town was West Turin at $2,455.
The figures are projected averages, indicated Mrs. Steckly, and individual assessment changes will actually alter the final tax bill. Please see the next article for detailed information on the 2017-18 tax warrant.
2017-18 School Tax Levy Fact Sheet
What is the Tax Warrant? The tax warrant is simply the local share of the school budget once all other revenue sources have been applied. Each year, the Board of Education sets the tax warrant, which is then converted to a specific tax rate for each town. School tax bills are then equalized by town to ensure a fair distribution of the tax levy. Within a town, the dollar amount is apportioned according to each property’s assessed value.
How Much is the 2017-18 Warrant? The Board of Education will levy $4,027,275 in taxes across the eleven towns of the district. This figure represents just 14.46% of the total budget of $27.2 million. The district tax warrant has only increased two times since the 2005-06 school year and is decreasing for the current year.
What is the True Tax Key? The True Tax Key is the total tax warrant divided by the full value of the entire district. The True Tax Key does not reflect changes within a given town, but is a precise overall financial measure from year to year. This figure is a very low $7.16 per $1,000 of full property value. The “true tax” key has dropped from a high of $14.82 in 2005-06. This is a drop of nearly 52% that is directly linked to the Wind Turbine Pilot.
What are the tax rates for 2017-18 for each of the 11 towns in LACS? The tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2017-18 follows below. The tax rates for the 11 towns are related to each town’s equalization rate and overall property wealth. The property wealth of each town is linked to the full value of all taxable property that falls within the school district borders. Equalization rates determine the ratio of each specific town’s value to the other for tax distribution purposes. Even though rates per $1,000 may vary widely by town, in essence they are “equal” for school tax purposes.
* SCHOOL Tax rates by town fOR 2017-18
Did the STAR value change? Though the Basic and Enhanced STAR and the STAR Credit programs are still in place, their value changes each year based on a state formula. The school district has no control of this formula which fluctuates up and down each year.
School Tax Payment Information
School tax bills will be mailed during the last week of August. The general tax collection period will be from September 1 through October 2, 2017. Bills paid on and after October 3 will have a two percent penalty added through October 31, 2017.
Paying in Person . . . Taxes will be collected by Mrs. Gayla Roggie, School Tax Collector, at Community Bank, NA, on State Street at the Four Corners in Lowville NY. Collection hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays). Taxes can be paid in person at the bank through October 31, 2017.
Paying by Mail . . . Taxes may be paid by mail by following the directions printed on the tax bill. The tax collector can be reached at 315-376-3148 during the collection times and dates listed above.
Mrs. Cheryl Steckly
Superintendent of Schools
7668 State Street
Lowville, NY 13367
Letter from the Superintendent