School administrators are pointing to the controversial nature of this year's budget vote as the reason why voter turnout nearly matched the district's highest total in the past decade.
Ever since the school boardthat would have raised the tax levy by 4.48 percent, around the effects of the tax cap legislation on both the students' educational programs and the taxpayers' wallets.
"People just had a perception that we'd be at the cap, and may not have become fully informed as to the consquences of a failed budget," interm superintendent Neil Lederer said Tuesday.
The 7,016 voters who cast ballots on Tuesday represented the highest turnout since 2006 – which was one year after the community voted down the original 2005-2006 proposal, a $139.3 million budget that would have raised the tax levy 9.84 percent. Voters later approved a $135.6 million 2005-2006 budget that increased the tax levy 6.9 percent.
"When I saw a larger voter turnout than last year, I was encouraged. I thought we'd be OK," Lederer said.
According to school district data, this year's 7,016 voters represent approximately 21 percent of registered voters within the school district borders. There are about 33,000 registered voters in the community.
History has shown patterns in the ways the various election districts have voted within the Three Village Central School District. Lederer said he was aware voters in the Setauket Elementary district tend to vote more conservatively. For instance, last year narrowly approved the budget by a margin of 18 votes. , while voters in the Arrowhead Elementary district overwhelmingly voted in favor of the budget by more than 300 votes, voters at Setauket rejected it by a margin of 58 votes.
Voter Turnout and Passed/Failed Budgets, 2002-2012Year Turnout Pass/Fail Margin 2012 7,016 Failed 56.74% yes / 43.26% no* 2011 6,140 Passed 59% yes / 51% no 2010 5,756 Passed 60.3% yes / 39.7% no 2009 4,242 Passed 60.6% yes / 39.4% no 2008 5,072 Passed 55.1% yes / 44.9% no 2007 5,441 Passed 56.4% yes / 43.6% no 2006 7,104 Passed 53.4% yes / 56.6% no 2005 (revote) 5,914 Passed 66.3% yes / 33.7% no 2005 6,710 Failed 39.1% yes / 60.9% no 2004 6,387 Passed 53.5% yes / 46.5% no 2003 4,644 Passed 61.8% yes / 38.2% no 2002 (revote) 3,511 Passed 57.7% yes / 52.3% no 2002 5,295 Failed 51.7% yes / 58.3% no
* represents first time vote needed a supermajority (60% or more) to pass.
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