New York State School Boards Association

School budget voter turnout drops by 50,000 voters

Lowest since inception of the tax cap

by Paul Heiser

On Board Online • May 28, 2018

Paul Heiser
Senior Research Analyst

Voter turnout for last week's school budget votes plummeted by more than 50,000 from a year ago - the lowest total since the inception of the tax cap in 2012, according to a NYSSBA analysis of State Education Department data.

The total number of votes cast was 505,075, compared with 561,833 in 2017 - a drop of 56,758. The number of votes cast in 2018 was nearly 300,000 fewer than in 2012 - a 37 percent decline.

"Some of the drop may be blamed on the weather," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer. "But it still represents a disturbing trend, since the outcomes of school budgets - and school board races - are being decided by fewer and fewer people."

All but 15 school districts (the Big 5 city school districts and Special Act districts) across the state hold annual school budget votes and school board elections on the third Tuesday in May. Severe weather halted or curtailed school voting in a number of districts, especially in the mid-Hudson Valley.

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