School bond election

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A school bond election is a bond issue used by a public school district, typically to finance a building project or other capital project. These measures are placed on the ballot by district school boards to be approved or defeated by the voting public.

School bond issues on the ballot are different from other areas of the election ballot as state laws require ballot measures to be worded as specific to the point.

School bond measures generally do not receive as much attention as candidate elections or state-wide ballot measures, but they are an important way in which citizens can guide school policy.

40 states require voter approval of bond issues as a matter of course, and in seven more, voters can petition to have bond issues placed on the ballot. Of the remaining three states, one of them, Indiana, uses what is known as the remonstrance-petition process.

Purposes of school bond elections

  • Capital needs: Building new facilities and or new schools. Improving existing facilities. This includes for improvements to school security and classrooms, building new schools, administration buildings, athletic fields, etc.
  • Issuing new debt: This is used for voter approval to issue bonding to fund for capital projects. This is done by form of property taxes which repay debt. School bonds are considered to be a form of a promissory note.
  • Exceeding debt limits: Some states have debt limits that control how much revenue school districts can take in which is used as a way to curb property tax increases. Whenever a school wants to exceed the limits state by specific state law, this is another type of school bond election. This is noted by a Taxpayer Bill of Rights or revenue caps.
  • Teacher salary increases: Some states if few may require voter approval for teachers salaries to be increased.

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