Archive for May, 2013

A new low

May 30th, 2013 by Robert Lowry

Last week’s 95.3 percent passage rate for school budgets was achieved with a record low voter turnout.

The State Education Department began compiling district-by-district vote counts in 2003.  Both the yes and no vote totals this year set new lows for that time span. Read the rest of this entry »

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95% (UPDATED)

May 23rd, 2013 by Robert Lowry

The State Education Department has yet to release its compilation of budget voting results, but from scouring news accounts, we and other groups conclude that approximately 95 percent of school districts passed in Tuesday’s first round of votes.

This year’s pass rate is down from last year’s 96.5 percent, but still a bit higher than the 92.2 percent average for the period since 1998, the inception of statewide voting on the third Tuesday in May.

I’ll write more when we have complete data from the State Education Department, including the actual vote counts by district.

But one pattern is already clear.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Some observations on school district property tax report cards…

May 20th, 2013 by Robert Lowry

In tomorrow’s school district budget votes, only 27 districts are proposing tax increases above their levy limit – the threshold requiring 60 percent of voters to approve.  This is down from 51 a year ago.

Under proposed school district budgets, spending would rise by an average of 3.1 percent, up from 1.7 percent a year ago. [i]

Proposed tax levy increases also averaged 3.1 percent, compared to 2.2 percent a year ago.

Higher need districts under the State Education Department’s “Need/Resource” categorizations do report higher spending increases, on average than other districts, but generally there do not appear to be distinct patterns in proposed spending and tax increases.

Statewide, districts plan to reduce combined reserves by a total of $370 million.  Poorer, higher need districts are generally drawing down unrestricted reserves at a faster rate than their counterparts and relying more on fund balances to support their budgets.

More detailed observations about the property tax report cards follow. Read the rest of this entry »

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