[Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information.]

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - While still not certain of what state aid the Mahopac School District will receive, school officials have moved forward with finalizing their 2020-21 budget, which calls for a 1.66 percent increase in the tax rate.

School officials were told they would receive their state aid numbers on Friday, May 15, but that did not happen. Instead, they were told to use the numbers provided in the state budget that was rolled out on April 1, though those numbers could still be slashed on four separate occasions in the coming school year.

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The total 2020-21 budget comes in at $125.3 million, a 2.18 percent increase over last year’s spending package.

Homeowners with a house assessed at $100,000 would see an estimated property tax increase of $40 on their bill; a home assessed at $300,000 would go up $116; and a home assessed at $500,000 would increase by about $194.

The tax levy (the amount of taxes collected) increase is also 1.66 percent, which remains under the state-mandated tax cap.

Due to the pandemic, there will be no in-person voting this year; instead, paper ballots will be mailed out at the end of the month and must be returned by June 9. There is only one opportunity to pass the budget this year. Should it fail on the first try, the district will be forced to adopt an austerity budget, which would likely result in the loss of sports programs, afterschool programs and layoffs.

The paper ballots will also provide residents the opportunity to vote on school board candidates—four are vying for three seats—and the public library budget.

If you have any questions about the 2020-21 budget which you would like the Board of Education and administration to address at their meeting on Tuesday, May 19, send them to District Clerk Melody LaRocca at laroccam@mahopac.org or call her at 845-745-3722 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19.

“This budget was prepared to ensure the high level educational and extracurricular activities the Mahopac students and community deserve,” the district said in a prepared statement.  

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