Group calls for school cuts, consolidations to drive down tax bills

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JERICHO -

The Republican tax reform plan passed by the Senate last week could lead to higher tax bills for many Long Island homeowners, and there is a new call to offset any increases by consolidating school districts.

As News 12 has reported, the tax plan passed by the Senate would cap property tax write-offs at $10,000.

The Association for a Better Long Island is calling for cuts in spending at school districts across the Island, including places like Jericho, to bring property taxes down.

"We need to reign in what is being irresponsibly spent," says Don Leistman, with the Association. "Whether they do it by consolidation of districts, whether they share services, they've got to do something here."

Jericho School District Superintendent Henry Grishman says he doesn't understand where that thinking comes from. "School districts have been living under a 2 percent tax levy cap for the last six or seven years," he says.

With high cost often comes high quality -- in fact, the Jericho School District repeatedly ranks as one of the nation's best, according to Niche.com.

At this point, it's unclear if any districts would attempt to consolidate, and some fear the move could do more damage than good.

"Consolidating has its own drawbacks because they've got to start from scratch, and who knows what the quality will be after that will happen," says Jeff Kent, a Jericho resident.

The watchdog group says that home values across Long Island could drop dramatically if the Senate tax bill becomes law.

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