Mrs. Cheryl Steckly
Superintendent of Schools
7668 State Street
Lowville, NY  13367
Letter from the Superintendent

Dear Parents and Members of the Lowville Academy School Community,

September has passed quickly and we now move into October with all of its many school events and activities.  We hope that your child if off to a strong start and is happily settled in for the year. The fall open houses saw many parents join us for the elementary and middle school welcome back events in late September.  The fall open houses are scheduled early in the school year to give you an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher(s) and give you a sense of your child’s daily learning environment.

Parent Conferences
As the next step in the process and with a focus on your child’s academic progress, look for first quarter report card information in November.  Parent Conferences for kindergarten through grade 8 will follow on November 14, 15 and 19. Parent Conferences offer a wonderful opportunity for you to discuss your child’s strengths, learning habits and interests while also hearing the teacher’s perspective on the first 10 weeks of school.  It is important to us that we provide an opportunity for each of you to be involved in this important process, so be sure to let us know the best day/time for your conference when you receive this information.

Safety Measures
We continue to review and address issues related to safety at Lowville Academy and as a result have made changes related to our morning procedures.  All entrances to the school building are now locked until 8:00 a.m. with the exception of the doors on Trinity Avenue which are open beginning at 5:45 a.m.  Anyone who wishes to enter the building for adult education, morning practices, etc. may enter through that door which will be monitored by a staff member.  This change in procedure will allow us to continue to provide access to the facility but provide a much higher level of security. Students should not arrive before 7:45 a.m. unless they are participating in a planned activity such as a sport practice or meeting.  As always, the safety and security of our students and staff is our highest priority and we thank you for your assistance as we continue to make changes that ensure the safest environment possible.

Veteran’s Day Observance-November 12
In the midst of the fall season there are many holidays to celebrate in addition to significant events that will occur in our community and country.  On Sunday, November 11, the citizens of this nation will observe Veterans Day to honor the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.  As a country we will pause to recognize these individuals who have sacrificed so that we may live in peace.  As a school district with close ties to the military families of the 10th Mountain Division, we particularly want to recognize the military members of our school community. The dedication of our troops is something that every citizen should remember on November 11.  In honor of this important day of recognition, school will not be in session on Monday, November 12.  Classes will resume on Tuesday, November 13.

School Board Recognition
In addition, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to the members of our Board of Education during NYS School Boards Recognition Month.  These dedicated citizens work exceptionally hard on behalf of the children of LACS and are deeply committed to our school community.

President Thomas Schneeberger - 14 years
Michael Young - 33 years
Paul Kelly - 18 years
Steven Lyndaker - 10 years
Rebecca Kelly - 8 years
Jeffery Hellinger - 7 years
Michael Judd - 5 years
James Farquhar
- 4 years
Stephanie Houser Fouse
- 3 years

Property Tax Relief Programs

STAR Credit
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  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 2016 tax year Federal Adjusted Gross Income of $275,000 or less
This year, the property tax relief credit will be a percentage of a homeowners STAR benefit, with lower incomes receiving a higher percentage benefit.
You must have paid property taxes in 2018. 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 $4,005,428 which is an increase of $78,153 from 2017-18 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 $4,105,428. 

Superintendent of Schools, Cheryl R. Steckly, indicated that most of the eleven towns will see a small increase in the tax rate per thousand of approximately 5?.
In the Town of Lowville, the tax percentage of the entire warrant remained at approximately 50% of the $4.105 million.  This means the Town of Lowville will raise $2,057,667 of the total levy.  The next largest amount by town was Watson at $590,560, followed by Martinsburg at $451,801.  The smallest dollar amount paid by any town was West Turin at $2,471.

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 2018-19 tax warrant.  

2018-19 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 propertys assessed value. 
How Much is the 2018-19 Warrant?  The Board of Education will levy $4,105,428 in taxes across the eleven towns of the district.  This figure represents just 14.48% of the total budget of $27.7 million.  Prior to this year, the district tax warrant has only increased two times since the 2005-06 school 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 $7.22 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 49% that is directly linked to the Wind Turbine Pilot.

What are the tax rates for 2018-19 for each of the 11 towns in LACS?  The tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2018-19 follows below.  The tax rates for the 11 towns are related to each towns 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 towns 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.
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 4 through October 1, 2018.  Bills paid on and after October 2 will have a two percent penalty added through October 31, 2018.
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, 2018.  
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.
Enter to Learn... Go Forth To Serve
Lowville Academy
and Central School