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2012's school bond measures exceed 2011 records in bond dollars and approval ratings

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August 1, 2012

By Johanna Herman

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Already in the first six months of the year, school bond and tax measures are on the rise and approval ratings have broken 2011's records.

A grand total of $6 billion in school bonds have appeared on ballots in 13 states from January through July 2012. Of that total, $4 billion was approved.

In contrast, of the thousands of local school issues observed in 2011, a grand total of 993 were school bond and tax issues. School bond questions carried $7.79 billion in bonds. Roughly 38% or $2.95 billion was approved. This represents stats for a twelve month period.

Thus far, roughly 668 school bond and property tax measures appeared before voters. Of those, 507 were approved and 161 were defeated. In 2011, a total of 458 school bond and property tax measures were voted on.

Specifically, for school property taxes, an estimated 100 additional measures appeared on the ballot in 2012 than in 2011. The approval rating also surged upward to 85% for property tax measures alone.

A total of 13 states were analyzed by Ballotpedia staff from January through July 2012. Those states included: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Both Arizona and Colorado featured no school bond or tax measures on local ballots in the first half of the year.

For all school-related measures - including bonds, property taxes and budget measures - the overall approval rate was 87.5% for the first 6 months of 2012. Compared to 2011, the overall approval rating was 63.9%. Roughly 23.6% lower than the approval rating in 2012.

2012 quick stats:

  • 668 school bond and property tax measures on the ballot
  • 507 measures approved
  • 2012 overall approval rating was 87.5%
  • Looking at 2011-2012, the number of bond measures increased by 109 measures.
  • Like 2011, the approval ratings for tax-related measures stayed above 50%, with a 23.6% increase in the first half of 2012.
  • $6 billion in school bonds were voted on. $4 billion approved.


Click here to review the total approval ratings for all school-related measures from January-July 2012.

This report is part of a biannual series conducted by Ballotpedia staff. For past reports, click here.

School bond measures

Portal:Local Ballot Measures

For the most part, more than half of the school bond measures up for a vote were approved. In general, some states require a supermajority vote in order to approve the measures.

  • Texas had the most school bond issues on the ballot from January-July, with a total of 53. Of those, 42 were approved. In 2011, Michigan led the states with 35 measures on the ballot in the first six months of the year. 20 of those 35 were approved.
  • Oregon featured the least number of school bond measures, with a total of 6 (5 approved). California featured only 2 bond measures at the local level in 2011.

Approval ratings:

  • Missouri had the highest approval rating at 84%. Compared to 2011, Missouri also had the highest approval with 89%.
  • Illinois had the lowest approval rating at 36%. Compared to 2011, Washington had the lowest approval with 16%.

Bond money:
Roughly $6.2 billion in bond money appeared before voters from January through July 2012. An estimated $4 billion was approved.

  • California had the most money up for grabs in school bonds, a total of $2.3 billion.
  • Oregon had the least with $129 million.

School property measures

School property taxes were very highly accepted and approved by voters in the school districts. Most of the measures requested renewals of taxes.

  • Washington had most school property tax measure with a total of 201, 191 were approved. Compared to 2011 where Ohio had the most with a total of 127, 77 of which were approved.
  • Florida had the least school property tax measures with a total of 1, which was approved. Compared to 2011 where Florida also had the least amount of measures with 1 which was approved.

Approval ratings:

  • Florida had the highest approval rating in 2012 and 2011. However, the Sunshine State only had 1 measure appear on the ballot. In second place for 2012 was Washington State. The northwest state featured an approval rating of 95% with 201 total measures appearing on the ballot.
  • Oregon had the lowest approval rating with 0%, compared to 2011 where Illinois had the lowest with 29%.

Totals by state

The table below summarizes all January-July 2012 school ballot measures. Additionally, it highlights states with approval ratings over 70%. States with no school bond or tax measures are not listed below. That includes both Arizona and Colorado.

Legend


     Winning percentage above 70%     Winning percentage below 50%

State Approved Defeated  % approved
California 35 15 70%
Florida 1 0 100%
Illinois 7 12 37%
Michigan 91 30 75%
Missouri 27 5 84%
New York 653 24 96%
Ohio 85 34 71%
Oregon 5 3 62%
Texas 42 11 79%
Washington 202 17 92%
Wisconsin 23 11 67%
Totals: 1,171 166 87.5%
Click here for the full report!

See also

2012 reports