School board members optimistic on budget vote

FROM THE NYSSBA

An overwhelming majority of school board members are optimistic that their budgets will pass on May 21, according to a recent poll by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

Ninety-three percent of respondents to the poll said they expect their budgets to pass on the first vote. Only 7 percent did not think their budget would pass the first time around.

“School board members and their leadership teams have devoted countless hours listening to their communities and crafting budgets that balance the needs of students and taxpayers,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

The poll also found that a narrow majority of board members believe the state’s tax cap influenced their district’s decision making on the budget. Fifty-four percent of respondents thought the tax cap led their school district to adopt a smaller tax levy than it would otherwise have adopted.  Forty percent said the tax cap did not lead their district to adopt a smaller tax levy, and 6 percent were not sure.

Slightly more than half of respondents – 53 percent – said the amount their district could raise in property taxes this year under the cap was sufficient to meet their budgetary needs. Forty-three percent, however, said their district could not raise enough under the cap to meet their budgetary needs; 4 percent were unsure. Schools are proposing an average statewide tax levy increase of 2.8 percent.

Results are based on an informal NYSSBA Pulse Poll of school board members conducted in early May 2013. The poll drew more than 600 respondents.