School Boards Association reports that 99.4 percent of school budgets pass; 77 percent of override attempts succeed
99.8 percent passage rate for school districts within tax cap; 77 percent for districts exceeding cap
FOR RELEASE: May 17, 2017
CONTACT: David Albert
New York State voters approved 99.4 percent of school district budgets on Tuesday, May 16, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association.
"This year, many school boards overcame rising costs in order to deliver budgets that stayed within the state's property tax cap," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "Smart budgeting, community input and an increase in state education funding helped districts win strong voter support. Some districts were even able to restore positions lost during leaner budgeting years."
Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA indicate voters passed 671 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was four. NYSSBA was still awaiting results for one district that is too close to call.
Schools statewide proposed an average tax levy increase of 1.48 percent for 2017-18.
In the sixth year of the state's property tax cap, 663 districts proposed budgets with tax levies that were within their caps and required only a simple majority to pass. Of those districts, 99.8 percent saw their budgets pass.
Thirteen districts had budgets with tax levies that exceeded the cap and required a 60 percent "supermajority" to pass. Of those districts, 77 percent saw their budgets pass, almost identical to the passage rate for override attempts last year.
"As a result of the tax cap, school districts are increasingly dependent on state funding," added Kremer. "This year, state education funding increased by 1.1 billion or more than 4 percent."
The average budget passage rate since 1969 is 85 percent. Since the introduction of the tax cap in 2012, the average passage rate for school district budgets is 97 percent.
The average proposed year-over-year spending increase for the 2017-18 school year is 2.2 percent.
In school districts where the budget failed to pass, a second vote may be held on June 20. 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 nearly 1,500 vacancies on local school boards. NYSSBA is studying the results of those elections.
"Congratulations to all newly elected school board members. You have made a decision to get involved, in your schools, accept responsibility for the education of children in your community, and improve the future," said Kremer.
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