Weekly Feature

2017-08-10 / Education

Cleveland Hill board approves new tax rates for 2017-18

by ALAN RIZZO
Reporter

With final assessments values known, property tax rates for residents in the Cleveland Hill School District will be lower than what officials estimated in April.

The Board of Education approved the rates during a meeting on Aug. 2.

District Business Administrator Thomas Murphy said the final rate will be $26.55 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is $1.74 lower than the rate of $28.29 per $1,000 estimated by the district, and 66 cents lower than last year’s approved rate of $27.21 per $1,000.

Murphy said the reason for the reduction is due to an approximately $20 million increase in total assessments for the Town of Cheektowaga, which came in at approximately $463.2 million for 2017-18.

Also during the meeting, Murphy updated board members on the new state Paid Family Leave Act, different from the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides eligible public- and private sector employees with up to 12 weeks of annual unpaid, job-protected leave per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Murphy said while for-profit companies are required to comply with the new law, which provides paid leave to eligible employees, it is optional for government entities and nonprofits such as school districts.

But he said the new law, which is currently funded through employee payroll contributions, could come up in future negotiations with union organizations, which might ask the district to fund it.

“It is optional, but it is something we can look at, something that can be negotiated if the unions come to us and say they want to negotiate,” he said.

Murphy said the law covers paid leave for eight weeks to start, and will go up to 12 weeks of paid leave in 2021.

Like FMLA, the new law provides eligible employees with job protection and continuation of health benefits.

Some criteria that would make an employee eligible for the act include bonding with a child after a pregnancy, adoption or foster placement, development of a serious health condition requiring hospitalization, military deployment or military ceremonies.

Murphy said that while unions might push for district participation in the new law, so far he has not seen any evidence of such action by local boards of education.

“At this point I’ve heard of zero districts who have chosen to opt in,” he said. “I think they said they might have one or two questions from unions to start to bubble up, but nothing concrete.”

The board will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, in the community room of the district offices, 105 Mapleview Road.

email: arizzo@beenews.com

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