Thursday, May 19, 2011

Voters approved 'tightly controlled spending' in this year's school budgets School districts are crediting their strong communication efforts, detailed budget breakdowns and, above all else, tightly controlled spending for Tuesday's many one-sided votes for school budgets....
Overall, voters approved 48 out of 53 budget proposals in Westchester , Rockland and Putnam counties — the same number as last year. Budgets were defeated in Mahopac, North Rockland, Greenburgh Central 7 and, by overwhelming numbers, in Mount Vernon and East Ramapo.
Many spending plans for 2012-13 were approved by better than 2-to-1, signaling strong voter satisfaction with most districts' efforts to minimize tax increases during tough economic times.
Local districts proposed an average spending increase of 1.97 percent for next year and an average tax-levy increase of 2.6 percent....
Many districts have tried to make clear at what points spending cuts will require larger class sizes and compromise the quality of education that people have come to expect....
Jeff Diamond, who was elected Tuesday to the Blind Brook school board after offering detailed criticisms of school spending, said voters have little incentive to vote against budgets with small spending increases because school boards can adopt contingency budgets that are not much different.
"Voters need to recognize that the greatest impact they can have on budgets is to elect school board members who will do a good job," he said. 
I generally agree, although I'd like to see stronger communication efforts and more detailed budget breakdowns, as well as more advocacy for fundamental changes.

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