The school district budget is one of the most important votes of the year. The school budget determines how many teachers, aides, and other resources will be available to Westchester children. The budget also serves as a document that can reveal a school district’s priorities. It also shows how NY State education mandates are affecting the bottom line.
Yet, voter participation historically is extremely low. The infographic below shows the voter participation rates in 2013. Note that the districts with the highest participation rates (Ardsley, Irvington, Scarsdale, and Briarcliff Manor) were also the districts that attempted to override the tax cap. Also note that even in these school districts, which required a supermajority vote (60% approval from voters), the voter participation rates for each of those districts were estimated to be under 30%. (If you’re curious, Ardsley and Irvington successfully passed their budgets at the first go-around. Scarsdale’s and Briarcliff Manor’s school budgets needed revisions to meet the state tax-cap limits. These revised budgets were approved in each district after a second election.)
The Elmsford school district also attracted attention last year – the estimated voter participation rate in 2013 was 7%. This wouldn’t have necessarily turned heads, sadly enough, but what was notable was the fact that the budget lost only by 26 votes (236-210). The low turnout was blamed for the budget’s defeat. Elmsford then presented the same budget, with no revisions, at the second election. This time it did win, but we’re certain that the additional expense of holding a second election was not a welcome one.
So go out and VOTE on Tuesday! You MIGHT be able to find your polling place HERE but since some polling places get closed or combined with other polling places it’s best to confirm with your local school district.”
Look at the map below and find your district’s participation in last year’s election.