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May 19, 2004

Voters reject higher proportion of school budgets

Roughly one in six proposed school budgets statewide was rejected by voters, the Associated Press reported.

The rejection rate was apparently the highest in nearly a decade, with budgets going down to defeat in at least 100 districts in Tuesday's voting, according to AP.

More than a third of proposed school budgets on Long Island were defeated.

Nickolas Moriates, a voter in Freeport, Nassau County, told Newsday the proposed 8.4 percent increase in taxes per student "is too much of a burden. My salary just goes up 3 percent a year."

In Orchard Park, Erie County, voters defeated a budget proposal that would have raised taxes 7.9 percent per student. It was the only defeat in Erie County, according to The Buffalo News.

"The budget is way too high," Orchard Park resident Ron Tyrpak told the News. "It can't keep going up like that."

Voters in many districts, however, appeared to agree with Steve Dorlin of Vestal, who told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin: "The more money we put towards the schools, the better."

The Public Policy Institute reported earlier this month that proposed school budgets around the state would raise spending by 2.5 times the rate of inflation and increase property taxes an average 8 percent. Those property-tax increases would add nearly $1.2 billion to New York's overall tax burden, already the highest in the nation, according to the Institute.