Most NY School Budgets Approved
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY – Unfazed by Albany politics, most school budget proposals across the state passed muster with voters... Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Governor David Paterson inaccurately predicted that the state budget crisis would lead to the defeat of many local school spending plans. Appearing on WAMC's VoxPop call-in show Tuesday, New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Tim Kremer said he thought the Governor's remarks were "off the cuff" - New York State voters approved 92 percent of school district budgets - according to an analysis by NYSSBA.
Initial statewide results gathered by NYSSBA early Wednesday indicate voters have passed 621 of 675 school district budgets. The number of budgets defeated was 52, with two districts "too close to call" ... Kremer believes voters were NOT distracted by Albany politics. NYSSBA spokesman Brian Butry says voter turnout statewide typically hovers around 14 per cent, but unofficial estimates have turnout in may districts higher than usual. In line with the state trend, most Capital Region budgets were approved. Schenectady doubled their voter turnout from last year. Schenectady's 161-point-6 million dollar budget went down in defeat, with Board President Maxine Brisport failing to win re-election. Voters in Troy likewise turned thumbs down on a 94-point-6 million dollar spending plan, which failed by 58 votes.
Troy's Board of Education will meet tonight to discuss whether to put a budget vote back out to residents or go straight to a contingency budget. Should the district decide to do a re-vote, it must be done by June 15th. Voters said NO to budgets in Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Cohoes, Berlin and Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk.
A 25 per cent tax hike proposed in the Hadley-Luzerne district, which includes parts of Saratoga and Warren Counties, ending up ith voters shooting a 19-point-9 million dollar budget down.
Up in the North Country, budgets were rejected in Ticonderoga, Schroon Lake and St. Regis Falls: St. Regis' 7-point-6 million dollar spending plan featured a 9-point-53 percent tax increase: School Superintendent Patricia Dovi blames the economy, noting that "north country voters are savvy people." Out in Central New York, Canastota's budget was defeated by a close margin... Worcester voters nixed an 8-point-68 million dollar package that would have raised taxes 18 and a half per cent. Districts where budgets were defeated are scrambling to regroup: boards will meet again to put the same budgets back out and convince the public why the plans are sound OR make cuts and changes OR go straight to contingency budgets.