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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