School Boards Association reports that 98.6 percent of school budgets pass
99.7 percent passage rate for school districts within tax cap; 61.1 percent for districts exceeding cap
New York State voters approved an overwhelming 98.6 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 19, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association.
“Today is a good day for public education. School districts put forth budgets that will provide students in their communities with high-quality educational opportunities next year,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. “The combination of sound budgeting by school boards and a healthy state aid increase allowed many school districts to restore programs and positions while having a negligible impact on their local tax levies.”
Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 654 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was nine. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for 13 districts.
In the fourth year of the state’s property tax cap, 658 districts proposed budgets with tax levies that were within their caps and required only a simple majority to pass. Of those districts, 99.7 percent saw their budgets pass.
Eighteen districts had budgets with tax levies that exceeded the cap and required a 60 percent “supermajority” to pass. Of those districts, 61.1 percent saw their budgets pass, which is on par with the 62.5 percent passage rate for override attempts last year.
The average budget passage rate since 1969 is 85 percent. More recently, the average passage rate for the last five years is 96 percent. Since the introduction of the tax cap in 2012, the average passage rate for school district budgets is 97 percent.
Schools statewide proposed an average tax levy increase of 1.6 percent for 2014-15.
The average proposed spending increase for the 2015-16 school year is 1.9 percent. That compares with average increases of 2.6 percent in 2014-15, 2.9 percent in 2013-14, 1.5 percent in 2012-13, 0.8 percent in 2011-12, and 1.1 percent in 2010-11.
In school districts where the budget failed to pass, a second vote may be held on June 16. 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 all of the many newly elected school board members. With all of the pressing issues facing public education, from adequate funding to teacher evaluations and testing opt-outs, this is a crucial time to serve on a school board,” said Kremer.