Archive for May, 2011

We are number one. Again. Why?

May 27th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

On Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released Public Education Finances: 2009, reporting on nationwide school district spending and revenues for 2008-09 school fiscal years.

Among the report’s findings:  New York ranks first among the states in per pupil spending.  Again.  Historically, we have typically ranked in the top three each year, and have been first for the past five years.

The New York Times focused on the finding stressed by the Census Bureau:  that increases in school spending had slowed in 2008-09.

The New York Post, on the other hand, contrasted the state’s rankings on spending and outcomes.

I am quoted in the Times’ story.

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The tax cap deal

May 25th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

As promised, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver yesterday unveiled his house’s proposal for a cap on property tax increases by schools and local governments.

In a mid-afternoon news conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We are announcing agreement on a property tax cap that will be enacted this session on the terms that are in the Assembly bill.”

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos issued a statement agreeing that there is an agreement, but with some details to be resolved.

We issued a response which, among other points, observed,

“Tax cap proposals allow state officials to say they are solving a tough problem.  But they leave it to school district leaders and local voters to take all the tough actions actually required to balance what schoolchildren need and what the tax cap will fund.” Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Finance, Legislation | 2 Comments »

93.5% (Updated)

May 19th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

Two weeks ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo said “school districts did a good job of finding economies” this year.

Voters seemed to agree this week.  They approved 93.5 percent of school district budget proposals on Tuesday.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the similarities in the data districts submitted for their property tax report cards between this year and last – districts had to find economies a year ago as well.

For 2010-11, the average proposed spending increase was 1.4 percent; for 2011-12, the average is 1.3 percent.

The average tax proposed increase rose slightly, from 3.2 percent for 2010-11, to 3.4 percent for 2011-12.

The overall budget passage rates were also similar.  A year ago, 92.2percent of budgets won approval in the May votes.

Here is a page with a series of charts and tables showing historical and regional patterns for budget passage and voter turnout.

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