CONTACT: David Albert
New York State voters approved 98.4% of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 21, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association.
"Yesterday, communities across the state reaffirmed their support for public education by approving the vast majority of school district budgets," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "This is not surprising, given that school boards proposed budgets that largely updated and strengthened educational programming, all while proposing very modest tax levy increases."
Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 663 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 11. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for 1 district (Raquette Lake).
Schools statewide proposed an average tax levy increase of 2.39% for 2019-20.
In the eighth year of the state's property tax cap, 657 districts proposed budgets with tax levies that were within their caps and required only a simple majority to pass. Of those districts, 99.5% saw their budgets pass.
Eighteen districts had budgets with tax levies that exceeded the cap and required a 60% "supermajority" to pass. Of those districts, 55.6% saw their budgets pass, which is slightly above the 50% passage rate for override attempts last year, but below the seven-year average under the tax cap of 59.1%.
The average budget passage rate since 1969 is 86%. Since the introduction of the tax cap in 2012, the average passage rate for school district budgets is 98%.
The average proposed year-over-year spending increase for the 2019-20 school year is 2.57%. That compares with an average increase over the previous five years of 2.26%.
In school districts where the budget failed to pass, a second vote may be held on June 18. If the budget fails a second time, the board must 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 nearly 1,688 vacancies on local school boards.