School Budget Vote Analysis

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ALBANY, NY (06/04/2014)(readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) released an analysis of the results of school district budget votes on May 20, 2014.

The data submitted by 676 school districts to the State Education Department show several key trends:

• A record 98 percent of budgets passed at this first opportunity.

• Budgets failed at 12 school districts.

• Three percent (23 school districts) sought to override the Tax Cap.

• Voter turnout has declined 52 percent over the past five years.

• The number of overrides has declined since the advent of the Tax Cap.

• Virtually all budgets that stayed within the Tax Cap passed.

• Six out of ten budgets (61%) that sought to override the Tax Cap passed.

• Average voter approval was almost ten percentage points higher in districts that stayed within the Tax Cap than districts that sought an override.

• Since the implementation of the Tax Cap, contingency budgets have virtually ceased to exist

• Attempts to override the Tax Cap were greater for school districts with lower need and greater resources

• 8 out of 9 failed tax cap override attempts had simple majorities of over 50% and would have passed if not for the supermajority requirement of 60%.

"While voters are voicing clear support for school districts to stay within the Tax Cap, some evidence is emerging that voters will support overrides, even if it means giving up Tax Freeze credit checks," said Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO's Executive Director. "School districts are getting better at working with their communities to get budgets passed and avoid contingency budgets," Mr. Borges continued, "but the impact of the Tax Cap is not the same for every type of school district. Lower wealth school districts are less likely to seek an override even as they face educational insolvency and are unable to offer opportunities available to students in more affluent communities."