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In N.Y. More Schools Seek To Break Tax Cap In Budget Votes

School Bus
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School budget votes and school board elections are being held across New York on Tuesday, and the New York State School Boards Association says more schools are seeking to convince voters to override the state’s tax cap.

The School Boards Association says twice as many schools this year are seeking to override a state property tax cap that will limit many schools to a one percent, or lower, tax increase. It’s still not a large number: 36 districts among the state’s approximately 700 school districts, compared to 18 last year. David Albert, director of communications, research and marketing for the School Boards Association, says schools are reluctant to break the cap because they need approval from a super majority, 60 percent of voters.

“It’s much more difficult to pass a budget that seeks to override the cap,” Albert says. “For that reason, many districts don’t even try.”

The cap is two percent a year, or the rate of inflation, which is at near zero percent currently. But Albert says school’s cost for employees, health care and pensions are above the average rate of inflation. He says a true two percent cap would be better for schools. 

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.