Twenty-six of New Jersey’s 584 school districts are holding elections today, despite a vast majority of them moving to a November vote to avoid the expenses of an additional election in April.
“In some communities they do feel that the voters should still have a say on the school budget,” said New Jersey School Boards Association spokesman Frank Belluscio. “When elections are held in November the proposed budget is not placed before the voters.”
But even in districts that won’t have an up-or-down budget vote in November, taxpayers’ interests are still protected by the state’s two percent tax on property tax increases, according to Belluscio.
“We have the two percent tax levy cap. The budgets undergo a thorough review by the State Department of Education. We do have public hearings on the budget. So all the controls are there, the same ones that are placed on municipal and county budgets.”
Districts that made the change to November have to stay with that for four years before they could switch back to an April election. It’s too early to tell how many might return to the traditional schedule because the soonest that could happen is 2016.