Nearly 96 percent of school budgets across the state were adopted yesterday, according to an analysis by the New York State School Boards Association. Districts that were not proposing property tax cap overrides had a 98 percent passage rate, while those that did want to spend above the 2 percent cap on the in the next school year had only a 30 percent success rate.
Initial statewide numbers collected by the association show that voters passed 630 budgets yesterday and defeated 30. The group was still awaiting results from nine school districts as of this morning. The average budget passage rate since 1969 is 84 percent, the School Boards Association said. In the past five years the average rate was 94 percent.
Locally, Arsdley and Irvington received more than the 60 percent margin required to override the cap. Briarcliff Manor, had more “yes” votes than “no” votes, but not enough to get the “supermajority” that was needed. Scarsdale residents voted down the school budget, which would have exceeded the cap.
Other local districts whose budgets failed were East Ramapo, Elmsford and Mount Vernon. Districts where budgets failed can hold a second vote June 18, or they can forgo a second vote and adopt a contingency budget, in which the percent growth in the tax levy has to be zero percent.
The average school tax levy increase proposed for 2013-14 was 2.8 percent, well below the 5.1 percent statewide tax levy limit. This is the second year the property-tax cap is in place. It limits the amount school districts (and local governments) can raise their property-tax levy from year to year. Certain expenses are exempt, such as increases in pension costs, so the actual increase in the levy can be more than 2 percent.
The average proposed spending increase is 2.9 percent, compared to 1.5 percent in 2012-13, 1.3 percent in 2011-12, 1.4 percent in 2010-11, 2.3 percent in 2009-10, and 5.3 percent in 2008-09, the School Boards Association found.
“Residents in communities across this state stood strong once again in support of public education,” Timothy G. Kremer, executive director of the School Boards Association, said in a statement. “The high level of voter support for school budgets speaks to the importance of public education. We appreciate the trust that voters place in our school board members and educators.”
On Tuesday, voters also filled some 1,582 vacancies on their local school boards.
(Journal News photo: Ruth Archange-Louis leaves the Louis Kurtz Civic Center in Spring Valley after voting in the East Ramapo School Board elections yesterday.)