School Budgets Pass While Voter Turnout Declines
The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) has released an analysis of 2018 School Budget Vote results. On May 15, New York communities passed 658 out of 674 budgets proposed by their local boards of education, continuing a trend of widespread support in school budget votes, although the overall passage rate of 97.6 percent is below last year’s record of 99.3 percent.
Unfortunately, voter turnout continues to plummet, with turnout dropping 10% from last year and 48% since 2010 to a new low of 505,075 voters in 2018. Despite a high passage rate for school budgets, the overall share of yes votes saw a significant decline.
This report looks at the trends in turnout, tax cap overrides, negative tax caps, and regional variations in turnout and support over time for 669 major school districts and five minor school districts.
Other significant findings from the analysis:
- 16 budgets overall were defeated.
- 14 budgets attempted a tax cap override-- 7 passed and 7 were defeated.
- Voters passed 16 of the 17 budgets with negative tax caps.
- The largest ten-year decline in voter turn- out was 39.3 % in the Hudson Valley.
“Although the budget passage rate remained at historically high levels, the continued decline in voter participation is troubling both for our democracy at large and to public oversight of our educational system,” stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.
“Next year may be more problematic for schools, particularly those that have exhausted fund balances, rely heavily on state aid, and are in communities adversely impacted by the Trump tax changes,” concluded Mr. Borges.