Polls open today for 2018 school budget votes, here’s what to look for


Residents in local school districts (except Yonkers) vote on their school district’s budget proposal and pick school board members on May 15. Check with your school district for polling information.
Video by Nancy Cutler/lohud

Polls are open today for residents to cast their vote for school budgets.

To get an idea of your district’s budget, tax increase, where to go and whether there are any additional propositions, check out this database.

Here’s a few highlights from this year’s budget season:

Tax cap overrides

Mamaroneck and New Rochelle are two of the 13 school districts across the state this year asking voters to consider approving increasing taxes over the capped amount, a move that requires at least 60 percent voter approval.

For Mamaroneck, addressing enrollment issues is in large part why the extra tax money is needed, Superintendent Robert Shaps said. In New Rochelle, where signs for and against this year’s budget adorn lawns throughout the city, issues of security, transparency and additional support are at the forefront of the debate.


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New Rochelle residents vote on the controversial school proposal at New Rochelle High School on May 15, 2018. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)

Capital improvements

Three Westchester districts are asking voters to consider bond proposals for school renovations and updates.

In Pelham, the proposals are two-fold: the first bond proposal is $52.9 million, which would largely fund a new Hutchinson Elementary School; the other, $13.9 million, is contingent on the first one passing and would largely go toward athletic field improvements.


The Hendrick Hudson school district is proposing an $18.5 million proposal to improve its school theaters, upgrade science classrooms, make safety improvements, among other projects. Tarrytown’s capital improvement proposal is $8.2 million, of which $6 million would be paid for in bonds and the other $2.2 million from reserves.


Busing in East Ramapo

In East Ramapo’s $272 million budget proposal is a plan that would allow private schools to choose four days to have busing when public schools are out. In return, private schools would have to select four days to forfeit busing when both they and public schools are in session. 

During the upcoming school year, non-public schools are in session 11 fewer days than public schools due to the way holidays fall and private school administrators were looking to help make up time.

The net cost would be zero, however, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has noted that should voters reject the budget at the polls, “then the school district will revert to its current transportation schedule.”


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New Rochelle residents vote on the controversial school proposal at New Rochelle High School on May 15, 2018. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)

Full-day kindergarten

North Rockland’s $232 million budget proposal includes funding to launch a universal, full-day kindergarten program next fall. Officials have allocated $2.4 million for the offering and will be offsetting the cost with $2.3 million in state aid. 

In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved a state budget that included aid to help the remaining five districts in the state with half-day programs to transition into full-time kindergarten. Over the last decade, the district has shuttered schools and laid off teachers due to a $275 million settlement with the Mirant Corporation, an ongoing cost that the district says has prevented them from rolling out all-day kindergarten.


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