Record number of school budgets pass in New York


A record 99 percent of school budgets passed in New York on Tuesday, with just eight spending plans rejected — including the Tioga Central School District — the state teachers' union said Wednesday citing preliminary results.

Schools were asking voters to approve austere budgets. New York's nearly 700 school districts on Tuesday proposed an average spending increase of 1.9 percent and a tax levy increase of 1.6 percent. Only 18 districts sought to override the property tax cap.

The New York State United Teachers union said the 99 percent approval rating surpassed a record of just over 98 percent of budgets passed in 2014 and the approximately 95 percent that won passage in 2013.

The union said it had tabulated the results from 566 school districts.

And the rejections were mainly at districts that sought a 60 percent vote to override the tax cap. Twelve districts succeeded in overriding the cap.

"Parents and community members carefully reviewed school budgets and demonstrated the importance of local control by voting on their school budgets," said NYSUT President Karen Magee in a statement.

"In every region of the state, what we see today is a ringing endorsement of the work of teachers and school leaders in public schools on behalf of the state's most important asset — its students."

Schools benefited from a 6 percent state aid increase, or about a $1.3 billion influx of cash, as well as lower pension costs for the first time in five years.

Follow Joseph Spector on Twitter @gannettalbany.