School Budget Revotes Reduce Proposed Levies by Forty-Six Percent

Related Media

ALBANY, NY (06/15/2012)(readMedia)-- On Tuesday, June 19th 24 school districts whose budgets were defeated or failed to get the 60% supermajority to override the tax cap will go back to the voters for a second try at passage.

School districts have on average reduced their levies by 46% from the initial budgets proposed in May. Districts had to cut staff and programs even further as well as draw down on their already depleted fund balances to reduce their levies.

Twenty-One school districts will go to the voters next week with levies at or below their cap. Nine districts initially proposed a budget over the cap received a simple majority but failed to achieve the supermajority (60%) required by the new tax cap law.

Fifteen or 62% of the school districts that will be going for a revote are small rural or urban school districts with below average wealth ratios.

"The tax cap and especially the super majority requirement will widen the gap between the haves and have-nots. I am hoping the Education Reform Commission and state policymakers will take heed and move forward with mandate relief or provide additional state aid to address this imbalance," stated Michael J. Borges, Executive Director of the New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO).

Those school districts whose budgets fail a second time next Tuesday will be forced to adopt a contingent budget, meaning they cannot increase their levy from the prior year – a zero increase in the tax levy limit. Under the old contingency budget rule, school districts that lost their second budget vote could still increase their spending by 4% or 120% of the rate inflation, whichever was less.