Overall, 98.3 percent of school budgets pass

99.5 percent passage rate for school districts within tax cap; 65 percent for districts exceeding cap


FOR RELEASE:  May 21, 2014

CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards

New York State voters approved 98.3 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 20, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association.

“School districts received a much-deserved pat-on-the-back from voters for their efforts to trim budgets and still maintain momentum on raising academic standards for students,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “Low tax levy increases buoyed by a healthy state aid increase in many districts helped drive success at the polls.”

Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 652 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 11. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for 13 districts.

In the third year of the state’s property tax cap, 645 districts (97 percent) proposed budgets with tax levies that were within their caps and required only a simple majority to pass. Of those districts, 99.5 percent saw their budgets pass.

Twenty-four districts (3 percent) had budgets with tax levies that exceeded the cap and required a 60 percent “supermajority” to pass. Of those districts, 65 percent saw their budgets pass, with one district too close to call.

The average budget passage rate since 1969 is 84.5 percent. More recently, the average passage rate for the last five years was 95 percent.
Schools statewide proposed an average tax levy increase of 1.98 percent for 2014-15, equal to the average statewide tax levy limit.

The average proposed spending increase for the 2014 school year is 2.6 percent.  That compares with average increases of to 2.9 percent in 2013-14, 1.5 percent in 2012-13, 0.8 percent in 2011-12, 1.1 percent in 2010-11 and 2.3 percent in 2009-10. This year’s increase was driven in large part by increases in school district pension and health care costs.

In school districts where the budget failed to pass, a second vote may be held on June 17. School boards may forgo a second vote if they adopt a contingency budget. Under state law, a contingency budget requires zero percent growth in the district’s tax levy.

On Tuesday, voters also filled several vacancies on their local school boards.

“Congratulations to those elected to their local school boards,” said Kremer. “The role of elected school board members has never been more meaningful or challenging.”

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About NYSSBA: The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 650 school boards and more than 5,000 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training, and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.


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