School Finance
May 21, 2021

Fact Sheet 21-10: 99.3% Passage Rate for School Budgets

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
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Voters across the state approved 99.3% of school budgets—670 passed and just 5 were defeated. This passage rate ties the record passage set back in 2017. Of the five districts that experienced a budget defeat, three were attempting to pierce their Tax Levy Limit and therefore needed a super-majority (60 percent) for approval. All three received more than 50 percent support (ranging from 50.8% to 59.3%) but came up short of the 60% threshold. Eighteen districts were successful in their Tax Levy Limit override attempt.

The five districts that had their budget defeated may choose to have a revote. All revotes will occur on the third Tuesday in June (June 15, 2021). If a district has their budget revote defeated, they must adopt a contingency budget and they may not increase their tax levy above the previous year's levy—a 0 percent cap.

Despite the high passage rate, over one million fewer votes were recorded in 2021, compared to last year. In 2020 because of the pandemic, all school budget voting was conducted by absentee ballot in June 2020 and school districts were required to mail all eligible voters a ballot. The 2021 total turnout of 520,717 is comparable to the total turnout of 524,815 in 2019.

The following chart provides a listing of those districts that had their budget defeated.

2021 Budget Defeats (by County) 

WANTAGH* (50.8%) Nassau
BRIDGEHAMPTON* (59.3%) Suffolk

* District needed a super-majority 60% for approval. The number in parenthesis is the percentage of YES votes

May 2021

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