Approval ratings for school bond and tax issues soar in first half of 2012

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June 22, 2012

By Johanna Herman

Of the approximately 1,758 local ballot questions that have appeared on ballots in the 11 states which are followed on Ballotpedia so far this year, 607 have dealt with school bonds and tax issues. A study released by Ballotpedia collected the information which was available from these states, with the addition of New York and Texas which both have databases with school information. The total amount of measures collected in the study was 1,337 and the overall approval of these measures stands at 87.5%. There were a total of 258 school bond measures voted on in the first half of 2012 and the amount of money which was voted on totaled $6,275,330,000. Of that total sum which was voted on, $4,119,930,000 was approved (65.7%).

The states which are covered in detail on Ballotpedia and had school issues on their ballots in the first half of 2012 are California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. The states of New York and Texas, which are not covered in detail on the website but have government databases which list election results for some school issues following the public votes, were also added to the study. The states of Arizona and Colorado did not to have any school measures on their local ballots in the first half of 2012 (January - June, 2012) but are still covered on Ballotpedia in detail.

The overall approval rate, including both school bond and tax votes was 87.5%.

The average approval rating for school property tax votes was 84.9% in the nine states which had issues on their ballots. The average approval rating for school bond elections was lower with an approval rating set at 61.6% in a total of 10 states (California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin).

The table below collects the amount of measures approved and defeated for the first half of the year. As a comparison, the number of measures in the same category from 2011 are also shown. The 2011 numbers represent the measures voted on during the same time period, January to July of 2011.

Type of school finance measure # of measures approved 2012 (2011) # of measures defeated 2012 (2011)  % approved 2012 (2011)
Bonds 159 (66) 99 (83) 61.6% (44.3%)
Taxes, tax levies 348 (227) 62 (82) 84.9% (73.4%)
Totals: 507 (293) 161 (165) 75.9% (30.0%)

Click here for the full breakdown!

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