Revise mandates before considering imposing cap

School districts need to do more with less, like every other taxing entity in the state.

Area school districts have struggled to hold the line on spending while offering the same or comparable services to students within their district. Last year, districts took a blow losing millions in state aid, as well as a decrease in sales tax revenue from Onondaga County. This year, administrators are facing a proposed tax cap from the governor, limiting any tax levy (amount raised in property taxes) increase to no more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

While this is good news to property owners - we don't have to worry about being taxed out of our homes - it could mean trouble for programs our school districts offer to students. Rising pensions and health insurance costs coupled with unfunded and underfunded state mandates, none of which leave any wiggle room in expenditures, leave student programming on the chopping block.

While school districts have and should continue to do more with less, as everyone else in the state has, it's unfair to significantly limit options, specifically ones that do not enhance the education of our youngest residents. Before approving this drastic measure, lawmakers need to seriously consider revising and possibly eliminating some outdated mandates passed from the state to local school districts and municipalities before enacting a tax cap.

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