By Johanna Herman
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.
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a revenue cap that limits the amount of property tax revenue school districts can bring in. If any school district wants to exceed revenue limits, they are required to have a ballot measure. Wisconsin also requires ballot measures for any school bonding that exceeds $1 million dollars. However, Wisconsin has generous exemptions for school districts required to hold bond elections. School districts are exempt from voter approval to issue new bonding if a district is ordered by a state or federal court to remove hazardous substances or to be in compliance with fire standards. Also, school districts are exempt from bond elections if they are purchasing or detaching property from a former consolidated school district.