Nearly 80 Percent of NJ School Districts Get Budgets Approved

New Jersey voters approved nearly 80 percent of school district budgets in referendums throughout the state, according to a tally by the state school boards association.

The group said that's the highest percentage since 1976.

The state's 538 school districts were under a new state mandate to keep budget increases under 2 percent compared to last year--although they could go higher in certain instances.

"School boards were sensitive to the impact of the current economy on members of their communities," Raymond Wiss, the president of the New Jersey School Boards Association, said in a statement.

Turnout appeared to lower than last year's 26.7 percent, the association said. The state Department of Education hasn't returned a request for information.

The roughly 100 district budgets that did not pass now go to local town councils, which can make cuts before eventually approving them.

Fourteen municipalities also had referendums on their general budgets because local officials wanted to raise property taxes by more than 2 percent. 12 of those budgets failed. The measures passed in only two places, Brick Township and Lambertville.