There are seven school districts in Cayuga County, and tomorrow, voters in all seven will vote on their respective school budgets for 2012-2013.
And while there will also be school board elections tomorrow, only three of the seven districts, in the county, have competitive races -- Auburn, Moravia and Weedsport. In both Auburn and Moravia, there are three open seats, with seven and six candidates, respectively.
In Auburn, the candidates are incumbents Sam Giangreco and Joe Leogrande, and challengers Kathy Barnard, Michael McCole, Jerry Morgan, Kathleen Rhodes, and Sean Stanyon.
In Moravia, no incumbents are in the running; the six candidates are Cathy Benson, Karin Dillon, Leigh Hess, Jim Mahunik, Michael Sheppard, and Shannon Williams.
Finally, in Weedsport, four-term incumbent Debby Schwarting is being challenged by Susan Minard and Mark Soutar.
There is a new law capping property taxes in New York State.
And while that figure varies from district to district, due to a fairly complex formula -- it can range from a negative amount to close to 3 percent -- if a district wants a tax increase higher than that mandated by Albany, at least 60 percent of voters must approve for it to take effect, a super-majority.
There are a total of 57 schools, in the state, that need a super majority, including two in Cayuga County -- Auburn and Moravia -- but their budget situations are vastly different.
In Auburn, the budget calls for a 3.45 property tax increase, by far the most in the county. In Moravia, however, even though the tax increase is only one percent -- and overall spending is cut by more than three percent -- they still need a super-majority because of a quirk in the state's cap formula.
Sally Jo Widmer, the head of the Auburn Teachers Association, sent out robocalls to her current and former members, today, asking that they vote "yes" on tomorrow's $65.6 million budget -- a budget that raises taxes 3.45 percent.
Strong support by teacher union members at the polls, along with help from their families and friends, will be critical in getting this budget passed, due to the new state property tax cap. In Auburn in 2011, the budget passed easily, 67 to 33 percent, but there was actually a tax decrease of 1.2 percent.