Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced that the newly passed state budget includes a provision to create a uniform school budget re-vote date throughout New York State. This reform will allow all New York residents to be certain about the date if a re-vote is taken and will better enable their voice to be heard.
The budget approved by the state legislature requires that if an original school budget proposal is voted down and a re-vote is called for, this re-vote must now be held on the third Tuesday in June for all boards throughout the state. This mirrors the state law regarding the original school budget vote, which is uniformly held on the third Tuesday in May.
Currently, a school board has three options when their original proposal is not approved by the voters. If a school’s budget is voted down by the taxpayers, the school board may call for a re-vote on the original budget, propose a modified budget for approval or they can choose to adopt a contingency budget. If the second budget is not approved, the school board must automatically adopt a contingency budget.
Under current state law, the date for the re-vote is chosen arbitrarily by each individual school board. This system of varying dates may inadvertently lead to voter confusion and to reduced voter turnout. The new uniform date would eliminate some of this confusion and allow for greater clarity in the voting process.
"If voters are certain of the date, they are more able to fully participate in the budget vote. By setting a uniform date, you streamline the voting process and allow for clearer choices by the residents," stated Senator Fuschillo. "School boards will have a greater knowledge of what the taxpayers are thinking and will be able to move forward for the benefit of the entire community."
This legislation does not require a re-vote and any decision regarding a re-vote is still the authority of the local school board. If approved by Governor George Pataki, this uniform date would take effect beginning with the school budget votes of 2006.
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