Opportunity. For Every City. For Every Student.
This Nov. 7, New Yorkers will have an opportunity to change the state’s constitution with Proposition 1. This change affects small city school districts, increasing their debt limit from the current 5% to the 10% that suburban and rural schools are permitted. This change would allow the 57 small city school districts across New York state equal opportunities as their rural and suburban counterparts.
This is an issue that goes back nearly three decades. Prior to 1997, small city school districts did not need to get voter approval for their annual budgets. Because of this, allowable debt limits were lower than suburban and rural districts. However, since 1997, small city districts have needed voter approval on school budgets and have operated with the same tax levy limitations required by the property tax cap as suburban and rural communities.
Coupled with a debt limit half the size of their counterparts, small city districts also cannot apply a Building Aid offset against their debt limit. That means for capital projects, small city school districts have far less borrowing power than their suburban and rural counterparts, despite having the same approval process from voters.
In every corner of the state, over 200,000 students attend small city school districts. 62% of students who attend small city districts are considered economically disadvantaged. On average, six in ten students in a small city school district are economically disadvantaged. This compares to only 36% in rural and suburban districts. Our students who are most in need across the state are the ones being hurt most by the current rules regarding small city school debt limits.
Voting YES on Proposition 1 is about righting a wrong, it is about supporting students and families, and it is about lifting up communities. NYSUT strongly supports voting YES on Proposition 1.
Use the form below to pledge to vote in support of Prop 1!