A change in New Jersey law that enabled most school districts to pass budgets without public votes has had a big impact on campaign spending.

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The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission reported Monday that school board candidates and others spent just under $600,000 on elections this year, the lowest level since 2001.

Spending by the New Jersey Education Association, which usually promotes passage of district budgets, fell to less than $25,000 or 4 percent of total school election spending.

In recent years, the teachers union's money has accounted for about half the spending on the elections. Twice, it's been over $700,000.

A state law that took effect this year allowed school districts to move board elections from April to November. About 4 in 5 districts now have November elections.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.