How Unwavering Is Support for the Local Property Tax?: Voting on School District Budgets in New York, 2003-2010

This article examines voting results for school district budgets in New York from 2003-2010. Despite annual local property tax increases, 91.9% of proposed school district budgets were approved by voters during the period examined. Using data from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the American Community Survey (ACS), several socioeconomic variables influencing school district budget voting are examined. The findings indicate that school districts serving larger populations are more likely to vote for local property tax increases. However, these effects are mitigated by the size of minority populations in a district, overall growth in school budgets, and increased voter turnout. In light of these findings, recommendations are made to assist school boards and administrators in planning school finance policy. It is argued that school districts should adopt participatory budget tools and enhance community-based decision-making in order to promote sustainable educational resources.