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Report: Number of voters in school board elections on 5-year decline as more budgets pass on first try

NYSASBO: Voter Turnout
A New York State Association of School Business Officials analysis found voter turnout had decreased by 52 percent since 2010. (


Statewide voter turnout in school board elections has been steadily decreasing since 2010, while budget approval rates have increased, according to a new analysis.

The New York State Association of School Business Officials found that the number of people voting in the school elections has declined by 52 percent over the last five years. In that same time period, the number of budgets approved on the first try increased from 92 to 98 percent.

"Approval rates are somewhat higher since the passage of New York’s Tax Cap, first implemented in 2012, showing broad voter approval of school district efforts to contain spending and taxes," the report states.

School districts five years ago were also dealing with losses of state aid that forced cuts to programs and layoffs.

This year, a record 98 percent of budgets passed on the first try in May, with residents in only 12 school districts voting down spending proposals, according to the association's analysis.

More districts also went to their tax limits this year compared to last. The association found that 46 percent of school districts proposed tax levies that were up to or close to their levy limits, compared to 21 percent last year.

The association attributed the increase to lower tax caps many districts face for the 2014-15 school year because of the low level of inflation. Many school districts had a slightly higher tax cap for the 2013-14 school year because of a spike in required teacher pension contributions.

Read the full report here: "NYSASBO Releases Analysis of School District Budget Vote Results."

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |