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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The four school budgets up for vote on Tuesday in East Niagara all got the approval of local voters — as did 99 percent of school budgets across the state.

Eighteen school districts attempted an override this year, compared to 23 last year. For one the results are not yet available. Of the remaining 17 that attempted an override, 10 passed or 59 percent. The voters also rejected Addison School District's budget even though the district did not seek an override.

Starting in 2012, New York State implemented a tax levy limit, commonly referred to as the real property Tax Cap, which affects all local governments and most school districts. According to the law, property taxes are capped at an increase of 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. For 2015-16 the limit is 1.62 percent. Districts that propose to override their tax caps, meaning they proposed budgets that require a levy greater than their maximum property tax levy limit, require a supermajority voter approval of at least 60 percent to pass their budgets. In addition, according to the laws of 2014, any district that overrode their Tax Cap lost eligibility for their taxpayers to receive Tax Freeze credit checks this year.

When a budget is defeated, the district may choose to go to a contingency budget or hold a revote the third Tuesday in June. At the revote, a district may either submit the same budget proposal, or a revised one. If the proposed budget is defeated again, the district must operate on a contingency budget. A contingency budget is limited to the same property tax levy as the previous year.

"School districts are to be commended on their hard work in developing budgets that both support student academic success and are responsive to taxpayers," said Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO's Executive Director. "School leaders, particularly school business officials, have become increasingly adept at managing available resources so students receive the quality education they deserve and parents expect from their public schools," Borges continued.

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