NYS School Budget Rules

  • Statewide voting day
    All school districts in New York State vote on the third Tuesday of May. 


    Public hearing
    A public hearing must be held 7-14 days before the vote to explain the proposed budget. 


    Budget format
    The public votes on one single budget figure; however, the budget itself must be divided into three categories: program, administrative and capital. In the printed materials provided by the district, voters must be able to see what proportion of spending goes to each of the three categories. 


    Budget vote limit
    School boards cannot submit a budget more than twice to voters. If the first vote is defeated, a school board has three options: resubmit the defeated budget, submit a revised budget, or opt for a contingency budget. After a second defeat, a board must adopt a contingency budget. 


    Contingency budget
    A contingency budget must carry a cap on new spending of 120% of the Consumer Price Index or 4%, whichever is less. In a contingency budget, school boards must still honor employee contracts and follow state mandates. All cuts would come from non-mandated items. 


    Exceptions to the budget cap
    Contingency budgets may exceed the cost of living cap on some items including costs associated with enrollment growth; capital projects; emergency repairs; gifts and grants; tax certiorari costs; court-ordered costs; and expenditures of insurance proceeds.