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School Budget Voting Tuesday

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Record levels of state aid for New York schools should translate into lots of yes votes on school district budgets Tuesday. But there are some potential negatives that could effect voting as well.

Last year, was a banner year for schools across the state. 95 percent of all school district budgets were approved. School officials hope that record state aid increases this year, helping to keep costs down, will make budgets palatable to voters once again this year.

Timothy Kremer is Executive Director for the New York state School Boards Association. Kremer said the extra state money can be a double edged sword, with some residents perhaps believing the schools have enough money from the state alone.

Kremer said that in addition to rising pension and health care costs, this year gas prices are a big factor. And he said that also presents a double whammy at the polls. First, schools have to pass along the higher cost of busing children. But Kremer said voters coming into the polls also are faced with soaring gas prices and their own economic woes.

Kremer said school districts are especially vulnerable during tough economic times.

Still, Kremer said that vulnerability is diminished if parents are happy with the education their children are receiving. But he said much of it is perception. And he said that means even the problems of neighboring districts, such as the Buffalo schools controversies, can have a negative impact.

Historically, Kremer said voters overwhelmingly support their school budgets. And he is optimistic there will be record support again this year.

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