ALBANY, N.Y. May 22, 2019 — Voters across New York displayed their pride in their public schools Tuesday by approving 98 percent of school budgets, according to a preliminary estimate by the New York State United Teachers. Voters also elected 29 NYSUT members to school board seats in districts around the state.
“Parents and community members showed their commitment to strong public education by resoundingly approving school budgets statewide in near-unanimous fashion yet again and electing to school boards educators dedicated to serving their area’s students,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “At a time when resources have been limited, it has never been more important for voters to stay engaged in and support our public school students and their dedicated teachers.”
NYSUT’s review of 576 school budget votes showed that 566 budgets passed, while just 10 were defeated.
This year’s 98 percent approval rate follows a trend of strong support for public schools, with 98 percent of budgets passing from 2013 to 2018. Voters approved 98 percent of budgets last year, 99 percent each year from 2017 to 2015, 98.2 percent in 2014 and 95.3 percent in 2013.
Eighteen school districts sought to override their tax cap in 2019 after the state property tax cap was made permanent earlier this year. Eight of the 10 budgets defeated on Tuesday attempted to override the tax cap.
“While we were disappointed the tax cap was made permanent earlier this year, NYSUT will not stop fighting for changes to this law to ensure schools are receiving the resources they need to thrive,” Pallotta said.
NYSUT’s local affiliates also were involved in 229 school board races statewide, with 90 percent of candidates supported by local unions winning election. Volunteers made roughly 52,000 phone calls this election season in support of candidates and school budget votes, in addition to their email, mail and door-to-door canvassing efforts.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.