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For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Richard Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: April 20, 2005

Voters Approve More Than 70 Percent of School Budgets in Annual School Elections

New Jersey voters yesterday approved 70.6 percent of local school budgets in the annual school elections. The results compare with 69.8 percent of school budgets approved in 2004. Voter participation, at 13.2 percent, was down from last year, when 15.8 percent of the registered voters cast ballots.

The results reported today reflect preliminary figures. Final tallies will be available in May.

"It's encouraging that seven out of ten New Jersey communities passed their school budgets yesterday," said Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "More than simply an approval for spending, this is an endorsement of the work a school district does by the people who live there."

However, the Commissioner also expressed concern about this year's 2.6 percent decline in voter participation.

"There is plenty of room for improvement here," he said. "Support for local schools makes up the biggest portion of the local tax dollar. Such matters demand greater attention by the voting public."

In addition to the base budgets, voters approved 38 of 76 second ballot questions. The questions asked voters to approve appropriations for specific items whose costs exceed the current spending growth limitations, or caps, of the school district.