N.J. Voters Approve 90% of School Districts' Budgets

Courtney Williams's picture
Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Jersey voters approved 90 percent of school budgets in districts that held elections yesterday as just three systems sought approval to exceed Governor Chris Christie's 2 percent cap on local levy increases.

Voters passed 63 of the 70 budgets before them, according to results compiled by the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Most districts took advantage of a new state law that let them shift their elections to November to cut costs. Last year, voters approved 80 percent of the 538 school budgets on the April ballot.

"In this current economy, people think that allowing for 2 percent growth is fair, and that allowing for more than that is unfair and you have to prove the fairness of it," Christie told reporters today in Ewing. "When you go beyond 2 percent people are going to start questioning it."

Christie, 49, a first-term Republican, cut aid to districts in his first 18 months in office. He proposed a $213 million increase in funding in his budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

New Jersey's property taxes, the main source of funding for schools and towns, have climbed 70 percent in the past decade and are the highest in the nation. Christie enacted a 2 percent cap on the levies that took effect at the start of 2011.

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