State of Education: School budgets
The news is out on school budgets: Over 96 percent of the districts across the state passed, but there's a little bit of both worlds. It's good news, but it's been a rough ride. Vince Gallagher reports.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
"This is a mixed blessing...a lot of those budgets that passed contained cuts to AP courses, to art, to music, to inter-scholastic sports, layoffs in teachers and staff," said Carl Korn, NYSUT Communications.
The average passing for the last five years in New York State has been holding at 94 percent. However, there's another variable within these numbers: the property tax cap. If school districts exceed this, they have to have 60 percent of the vote to pass, also known as a "supermajority."
"Well, the tax cap is undemocratic in the sense that it allows 40 percent of the community to dictate how much is spent in educating that community's children," said Korn.
"Those who challenge the tax cap, who attempted to do something beyond their allowable limit, are the ones unfortunately who were not as successful," said Tim Kremer, NYSSBA Executive Director.
So even if districts score a majority, it's still not enough
"Those districts were trying to override the cap and ironically, at least the districts I looked at, most of them had over 50 percent of the vote but not the majority of 60 percent," said Korn.
But what about the smaller number? The 24 districts where the budgets didn't pass - is it due to some anger and frustration? After all, there are still cuts happening across the state.
"Electives, summer school, enrichment programs, teachers’ aides, guidance counselors, those kinds of things are being cut down," said Kremer.
"Despite the state aid this year, there have been billions of dollars in cuts to public schools and those cuts have been passed on to local property tax payers or have resulted in decreased opportunities for children," said Korn.
Despite all this, when it comes to education, New York State is still making the grade.
"Education Week ranked us third in the nation, AP courses, Intel Science scholars, New York is always among the nation leaders,” said Korn.