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State by state school bond voter accountability measures

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The following is a table comparing all states that conduct school bond and tax elections on voter accountability measures.

For a detailed explanation on how voter accountability and oversight are applied, please see State-by-state comparison of school bond and tax laws

Explaining table of metrics

  • Supermajority vote-If states require school districts to have super-majority vote to pass a bond referendum.
  • State government approval-If states require school districts to seek approval from the state government before approving a resolution calling for a bond/tax election.
  • Constitutional protection-If states require school districts to follow a debt limit protected by the state constitution.
  • Bond Issue Restrictions-Do states place restrictions on school districts if they do not spend taxpayer money correctly for future bond issues.

State-by-state comparison table

State Supermajority State Gov't Approval Constitutional Protection Bond Issue Restrictions
Alabama Approveda

-3/5ths for special school tax.

Approveda

-Alabama Department of Education approves bond issues.

Approveda


Approveda

-Bonds are contingent on payment of principal and interest.

Arizona Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-Public hearings required to report on project's progress.

Arkansas Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Defeatedd


Colorado Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-No new property taxes levied under TABOR

Connecticut Defeatedd


Approveda

-CT Department of Education approves private academy bonds.

Defeatedd


Approveda

-Withholding of private academy funding if defaulted on bonds.

Delaware Defeatedd


Approveda

-Delaware Attorney General approves bond issues.

Defeatedd


Approveda

-Cannot exceed total debt limitation.

Florida Defeatedd


Defeatedd

-However FL Department of Education can advise a district.

Approveda


Approveda

-Petition for bond measure required if school board does not approve a resolution for a election. Millages cannot exceed 2 or 4 years.

Georgia Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-Special school taxes must expire after 5 years.

Illinois Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Indiana Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Pending Nov. 2010 Referendum Approveda

-Maximum caps for bond issues.

Iowa Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Kansas Defeatedd


Approveda

-State Dep't of Education Approval-Bond Issue

Defeatedd


Approveda

-State Approval needed to exceed 14% bond debt limit

Kentucky Approveda

-2/3rds vote needed for bond issues.

Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-No bond issues for athletic facilities.

Louisiana Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Defeatedd


Maine Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-Bonds cannot exceed 10% of district's total debt and be sold below par value.

Michigan Defeatedd


Approveda

-State Treasurer Approval

Defeatedd


Approveda


Minnesota Defeatedd


Approveda

-State Dep't of Education Approval-60 days prior to election.

Defeatedd


Approveda

-Required separation of school bonds from municipal bonds.

Missouri Approveda

-57.15% for bond issues, 2/3rd vote-debt ceiling

Defeatedd


Approveda


Defeatedd


Nebraska Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Nevada Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-No district can exceed 15 percent of total debt valuation.

New Jersey Approveda

-3/5ths super-majority for exceeding levy limitation.

Approveda

-Must get Department of Education approval to exceed levy without going to a ballot question.

Defeatedd


Approveda

-School districts have mandatory interest payment of bonds that are issued by NJ Government.

New Mexico Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-Bonds can be only issued by school district and only used for school construction.

New York State Approveda

-3/5ths super-majority for debt limit elections.

Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-Cannot exceed percentage of debt depending on population.

North Carolina Approveda


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-NC has a balanced budget requirement

North Dakota Approveda


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Ohio Defeatedd


Approveda

-Through OH School Facilities Commission

Approveda


Defeatedd


Oklahoma Approveda

-3/5 vote for bond issue

Defeatedd


Approveda


Defeatedd


Oregon Approveda

-50% turnout needed for property tax cap regardless if the referendums passes or fails.

Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-Bond Issues cannot exceed 13 percent of a district's debt.

Pennsylvania Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-In the event of a defeated referendum.

South Carolina Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-Bonds must be sold at normal par value.

South Dakota Approveda

-3/5ths super-majority vote needed to approve capital outlays.

Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-Mandatory 5 year spending plan if capital outlay is approved

Texas Defeatedd


Approveda

-All bonds must be approved by Attorney General of Texas.

Defeatedd


Approveda

-Bonds can be used only for construction and financing of property acquisitions.

Utah Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda


Approveda

-Bonds must be issued in a sinking fund mechanism.

Virginia Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Washington State Approveda

-3/5ths supermajority required to pass bond issue.

Approveda

-WA Superintendent of Public Instruction approves bond issues.

Approveda


Approveda

-Bond issues must have full faith and credit of the State of Washington.

West Virginia Approveda

-3/5 vote for bond issue

Approveda

-West Virginia Attorney General approves bond issues.

Defeatedd


Approveda

-Cannot be used for current expenses and exceed 2.5% of total debt.

Wisconsin Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Wyoming Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Defeatedd


Approveda

-2 public hearings required and bonds can be used only for construction purposes

See also