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Greenburgh Taxpayers Pay The Price Of Education

A look at Greenburgh's 10 schools puts Edgemont at fifth-highest in terms of the tax rate per $1,000 assessed. All school districts have different total assessments.
A look at Greenburgh's 10 schools puts Edgemont at fifth-highest in terms of the tax rate per $1,000 assessed. All school districts have different total assessments. Photo Credit: Information courtesy of Greenburgh Tax Department

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — While some school authorities have spoken against the tax cap on school budgets, some Greenburgh parents say that you can, in fact, put a price on education.

The second half of Greenburgh school district taxes are due Thursday, and many parents — especially those living in Edgemont — are getting ready for another hard hit to their wallets. Edgemont School District will collect the fifth-highest tax rate among the Town of Greenburgh's 10 school districts this week, taxing Edgemont residents $636 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Despite Edgemont, Elmsford and Greenburgh Central 7 school authorities' cuts to staff and materials for the 2012-2013 budget, the tax rate for the three school districts was 2.5 to 3.5 percent higher for district taxpayers. Since school taxes comprise more than 60 percent of Greenburgh residents' tax bills, that's an increase that parents like Seema Sha notice.

"I don't know what kind of measures can be taken, but it's too high," said Sha, who has a son attending Edgemont. "In this economy, it would benefit everyone if it was lowered."

Elmsford schools fall in the middle of the three at $556 per $1,000 of assessed value, while Greenburgh 7 schools come in lowest at $458.

The number of properties in each school district and their average assessed value weigh into the final assessment, said Greenburgh Assessor Edye McCarthy, which explains why unincorporated Greenburgh's tax rate is so low — there are more properties to tax.

Additionally, compared to the average home value of $383,500 in Elmsford, the average value of a home in Greenburgh is at $445,100, according to Zillow.com .

Greenburgh 7 Superintendent Ronald Ross called the state's mandated 2 percent tax cap a " death deal " for public education at the board of education's budget meeting in April, which kept Greenburgh's 2012-2013 budget increase at 2.5 percent. But some parents say more money to schools doesn't always mean a better education.

"You don't have to equate a good education with high taxes," said a parent who has two children in Edgemont High School. "As long as there's good teachers and a good atmosphere, children will learn."