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