Tuesday, May 18, 2010

School budget vote day in NYS

Today is the day when voters across New York state get to vote on their local school budgets and for school board members; in most districts, voting is from noon to 9 PM. While some media outlets will tell you to vote solely based on the proposed rate of school tax increase (or decrease), responsible voters should weigh a variety of factors, including the tax levy but also the quality and variety of educational programs.

It's tempting to vote against a school budget to "send a message" about taxes and spending. But in school budgets, you're really only voting on a small percentage of the budget (10% or less typically), the part NOT mandated by the state and federal governments. If defeated, schools will adopt a contingency budget, whose spending and/or taxation levels are often only negligibly less.

So make sure you cast an informed vote and understand the full effects of pulling the yes or no lever.

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