By Eliza Shapiro, Keshia Clukey and Conor Skelding | 05/18/2017 10:00 AM EDT
BUDGET VOTE ROUNDUP: MAJORITY OF SCHOOL BUDGETS PASS — POLITICO New York's Keshia Clukey: The majority of school districts statewide had their 2017-18 budgets approved by voters Tuesday, according to the New York State School Boards Association. Of the 663 districts that proposed budgets within the state tax cap, 99.8 percent saw their budgets pass, according to a NYSSBA release with initial numbers. The approval rate is consistent with the past two years following the implementation of the state tax cap. The cap on allowed property tax increases is 1.26 percent for the 2017-18 school year, dipping below the normal 2 percent figure because of the minimal rate of inflation.
A dozen districts were attempting to get 60 percent of voter approval, a super-majority, to override the state tax cap. Three of those districts — DeRuyter, Pittsford and East Ramapo — had their budgets defeated, according to reports from various education groups. The three districts that were defeated will have a second chance with a budget re-vote on June 20. If the budget is defeated at that time, the district must enact a contingency budget with no tax increase. Districts also may chose to forgo a second vote and adopt a contingency budget. It could be a long road for Rockland County's troubled East Ramapo school district, which must present its revised budget to state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia for approval before going back to voters. Read more here.
— Senator David Carlucci and Assemblymembers Ellen Jaffee and Ken Zebrowski, whose districts include East Ramapo, wrote to Elia concerned about losing ground. "The budget's failure places the strides that have been made in the past year at risk," the lawmakers wrote. "An austerity budget would be detrimental to the students and would erase the restorations made to previously cut programs." Read the letter here.
— View an initial analysis on the override attempts via the New York State Association of School Business Officials, here, and an analysis on the tax cap, via the Empire Center for Public Policy, here.
— "School budget approvals across Long Island hit a history-making high Tuesday, as voters in the region's 124 districts endorsed a combined spending total of $12.4 billion." — Newsday's John Hildebrand and Scott Eidler. Read more here.
— "Voters approved every school district budget in Erie and Niagara counties Tuesday in an election that saw the power of teacher union endorsements continue to be strong across the region. Three budgets needing the supermajority to pass got over the 60 percent mark: In East Aurora, Maryvale and Niagara Falls." — Buffalo News' Barbara O'Brien. Read more here.
— "The Blind Brook-Rye school district passed its budget after needing a recount Wednesday afternoon." — Journal News' Colleen Wilson. Read more here.
— View the Capital Region results via the Times Union, here.
— "One of the two women 'endorsed' in a racist flyer mailed to residents won election Tuesday to the Lewiston-Porter School Board. Both candidates for School Board vehemently disavowed the flyer, and the school district also condemned the campaign mailer urging voters to 'Keep Lew-Port white.' All the candidates in the race are white." — Buffalo News' Barbara O'Brien. Read more here.
GOOD THURSDAY MORNING. MaryEllen Elia will speak at the New York State Council of School Superintendents Supporting Women in Educational Leadership Summit in Saratoga Springs. Carmen Fariña and Betty Rosa did not release public schedules.
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STAT OF THE DAY: There are nearly 48,000 students on charter school waitlists in New York City, according to data released Wednesday by the New York City Charter School Center. According to the data, 73,000 students applied to at least one city charter this year, and there were 25,200 seats available across the sector.
PROTESTING PALADINO — POLITICO New York's Nick Niedzwiadek: Feeling their calls for Carl Paladino's ouster from the Buffalo School Board have not been properly heeded, about a dozen protesters traveled to the State Education Department's headquarters to voice their frustrations. Paladino, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, sparked national outrage after he was quoted making incendiary comments about former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. He later apologized to "the minority community" for his comments, but they prompted State education commissioner MaryEllen Elia to set a June 22 hearing in Albany on a petition to remove Paladino from the board. The activists, which included Buffalo parents and members of the local chapter of the Showing Up for Racial Justice, feel that Paladino's comment warranted swifter action, and said the hearing's location in Albany does not allow the voices of local parents to be heard. Read more here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We were confused, legitimately." — Bill de Blasio responding to questions about why the city didn't immediately clarify that DHS agents, not ICE agents, visited PS 58 last week.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: Grad students organized by the United Auto Workers disrupted Columbia University's commencement ceremony yesterday, dropping a banner on stage declaring "we are workers." Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW is demanding that the administration drop objection to their union election and begin bargaining a first contract. Watch here.
GAMBLING FOR SCHOOLS: "Total lottery payments to the school aid fund for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2017: $3.27 billion. Total school aid from 1967 to 2017: $61.29 billion." — Post Standard's Michelle Breidenbach. Read more here.
AROUND NEW YORK:
— About that PROSE program: Pro-charter group StudentsFirstNY released a report Wednesday comparing performance at the city's PROSE schools to the city's charters. Among the findings: "Elementary and middle schools in the PROSE program had lower ELA and math proficiency scores when compared to other city elementary and middle schools that were not in the PROSE program." Read the full report here.
— "The Rochester City School District is proposing moving high-achieving Early College International High School from its cramped space on Genesee Street to the roomy but remote Charlotte High School campus, it announced Wednesday." — Democrat and Chronicle's Justin Murphy. Read more here.
AROUND THE NATION:
— The House Education and Workforce Committee today advanced bipartisan legislation that would update the law governing how the federal government spends roughly $1 billion each year on career and technical education programs. Lawmakers approved, on a voice vote, a reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, sending it to the full House for a vote. — POLITICO's Michael Stratford
— Florida's school voucher system — held up as a model by Trump and DeVos — leaves special education students with more choices, but some end up right back in the public school system. — NPR's Anya Kamenetz. Read more here.
STUDY UP: "In Georgia, taxpayers who want to help low-income students afford private school tuition are enticed by more than just an appeal to their good will. On its website, Whitefield Academy, a 'Christ-centered' preparatory school in the suburbs west of Atlanta, tells donors, 'You actually stand to make money on this program.' ...AASA, the association of the nation's public school superintendents, released an exhaustive report Wednesday on tax credit scholarship programs like Georgia's, which allow donors to piggyback on state and federal tax breaks — often to turn a profit." — New York Times' Erica Green. Read more here.
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