By Josh Altic
In the first six months of 2013 there have already been 253 bond measures voted on in the 10 states covered by the school bond portion of Ballotpedia's latest school finance measures report. According to last years half-year report there were 258 measures, five more than in this year. But the money requested this year surpasses 2012 figures by over $1 billion dollars. This year in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin $7,505,192,639 of school debt increases were requested compared to the first six months of last year, in which $6,275,330,000 was requested. Moreover 71% of all debt requested was approved this year, amounting to almost $5.4 billion, while last year in the same time period only 66% of requested bond money was approved, totaling about $4.1 billion, nearly $1.3 billion less than was approved this year.
Of the states followed on the site, Michigan had the most school bond issues voted on with a total of 43 measures, 32 of which were approved; this yields an approval rating of 74%. Only Illinois had an approval rating below 50 percent. Overall approval of bonds for January-June 2013 was 72%. Of all the states included in the table, Texas had the most bond measures voted on in January-June 2013 with a total of 98 measures, 84 of those being approved by voters, yielding an approval rating of 87%.
Below is a table from the report showing the bond money amounts for each state covered:
Winning percentage above 70% Winning percentage below 50%
Illinois mandates school districts to hold elections issuing bonding for new construction and capital improvements, exceeding the property tax cap, or create a working cash fund. Since 2006, Illinois has had referendums over the property tax cap which is governed under the Illinois Property Tax Cap Act of 2006 which requires voter approval if a school district wants to exceed their property tax cap for up to four years. The other type of referendum is a Chapter 20 referendum. Under Chapter 20, a school district must have voter approval if the voters petition a school district to create a working cash fund to pay liabilities. Only school districts that serve a city, town, or village less than 500,000 in population can hold a Chapter 20 referendum.
In multiple areas in Illinois, local ballots have an advisory question about Pension reforms at the state level for public employees. Though the State General Assembly sees it as a much larger issue that cannot be easily fixed by a simple ballot question, especially one which has no power. The pension fund has suffered greatly due tot he recession and has become expensive to maintain. Lawmakers have proposed the idea of a bill to reform the system already, but outsiders feel that it still would not address the many flaws of the system. Similar measures to change how municipal pensions are funded was passed, but one addressing fire and police officers was not able to get through. Though members of both are hoping for positive results on the advisory question, hoping that the State government will get the picture that residents do what a comprehensive reform of the system to be undertaken.
Adams • Alexander • Bond • Boone • Brown • Bureau • Calhoun • Carroll • Cass • Champaign • Christian • Clark • Clay • Clinton • Coles • Cook • Crawford • Cumberland • DeKalb • DeWitt • Douglas • DuPage • Edgar • Edwards • Effingham • Fayette • Ford • Franklin • Fulton • Gallatin • Greene • Grundy • Hamilton • Hancock • Hardin • Henderson • Henry • Iroquois • Jackson • Jasper • Jefferson • Jersey • Jo Daviess • Johnson • Kane • Kankakee • Kendall • Knox • LaSalle • Lake • Lawrence • Lee • Livingston • Logan • Macon • Macoupin • Madison • Marion • Marshall • Mason • Massac • McDonough • McHenry • McLean • Menard • Mercer • Monroe • Montgomery • Morgan • Moultrie • Ogle • Peoria • Perry • Piatt • Pike • Pope • Pulaski • Putnam • Randolph • Richland • Rock Island • Saline • Sangamon • Schuyler • Scott • Shelby • St. Clair • Stark • Stephenson • Tazewell • Union • Vermilion • Wabash • Warren • Washington • Wayne • White • Whiteside • Will • Williamson • Winnebago • Woodford
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