Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. 05/2005.

Many LIers Still Sour on School Budgets
May 18, 2005

Voter unhappiness with high school spending and property tax hikes in apparently remains stronger in Long Island than in other regions of New York State. Approval rates in Tuesday's budget voting were high in regions where schools seemed more sensitive to taxpayer concerns -- although that rarely meant tax levy increases of less than double the inflation rate.

From Newsday's report:

With all of the Island's 124 districts reporting results, 45 budgets were rejected. The 36-percent rejection rate was nearly even with last year's 37 percent and was the second highest recorded since single-day voting started nine years ago.

School officials said the disappointing results stemmed from resentment over high property taxes and anger over financial scandals in districts including Roslyn and William Floyd.

News media in other regions generally reported school budget approval ratings of 90 percent or more in Tuesday's voting.* The Albany Times Union reported:

Some attributed the high pass rates to efforts at keeping tax increases in check, at least by education standards.

The city of Albany's proposed tax hike of 3.9 percent was atypically low, for example, which no doubt contributed to its approval by local voters. But in one of the region's largest suburban districts, Shenendehowa, a budget calling for a relatively modest 4.3 percent tax hike carried by a narrow 51-49 percent margin.

More complete voting tallies will be required for a fuller analysis of school budget voting patterns.

* Based on initial returns from most districts, the State Education Department estimated the statewide school budget approval rate at 83.4 percent, according to this Associated Press story. That was reportedly in line with the average over the past three decades.