School bond elections in California

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California school bond elections are local ballot measures that ask voters to decide on whether the school district that is sponsoring the measure should be allowed to issue bonds, and incur the additional indebtedness that bonds bring with them.

All public school district in California are entitled to bond issues on the local ballot.

California also has a statewide school building program known as the School Facilities Grant Program which is supported by statewide bond measures such as Proposition 1D in 2006. Statewide bond measures require a simple majority to pass.

Local school districts can also issue school construction bonds and levy property taxes to pay for them, as long as the voters in the district approve.

Approval rates

About two-thirds of local school bond proposals in California were approved in the decade that runs from 1998-2008. [1]

Prior to 2001, districts needed two-thirds approval to pass local general obligation bond measures. More than 40% of local school bond ballot questions failed. In November 2000, California voters passed Proposition 39. Proposition 39 reduced the supermajority needed to pass a bond issue ballot question from 67% to 55%. Proposition 39 also imposed some restrictions on the allowable amount of the bond and included some accountability requirements. Since the passage of Proposition 39, districts have had the choice of whether to seek two-thirds or 55% approval. 80% of local school bond ballots that rely on the 55% approval have succeeded.



June 5:

See also: June 5, 2012 ballot measure elections
Measure County Amount Outcome
Alpine Union, Proposition H San Diego $11,995,000 Pending
Antioch Unified, Measure J Contra Costa $59,500,000 Pending
Biggs Unified, Measure B Butte $6,000,000 Pending
Brea-Olinda Unified, Measure E Orange $54,000,000 Pending
Cabrillo Unified, Measure S San Mateo $81,000,000 Pending
Charter Oak Unified, Measure CO Los Angeles $47,000,000 Pending
Cupertino Union, Measure H Santa Clara $200,000,000 Pending
Dublin Unified, Measure E Alameda $99,000,000 Pending
Gridley Unified, Measure C Butte $11,000,000 Pending
Gridley Elementary, Measure D Butte $2,500,000 Pending
Healdsburg Unified, Measure E Sonoma $35,000,000 Pending
Guerneville, Measure F Sonoma $6,000,000 Pending
Jurupa Unified, Measure M Riverside $125,000,000 Pending
Lincoln Unified, Measure A San Joaquin $48,500,000 Pending
Milpitas Unified, Measure E Santa Clara $95,000,000 Pending
Mountain Empire, Proposition G San Diego $30,800,000 Pending
Mountain View Whisman, Measure G Santa Clara $198,000,000 Pending
Old Adobe Union, Measure G Sonoma $26,000,000 Pending
Pollock Pines Elementary, Measure K El Dorado $9,000,000 Pending
Savanna Elementary, Measure G Orange $28,750,000 Pending
Sebastopol Union, Measure H Sonoma $9,000,000 Pending
Sulphur Springs Union Elementary, Measure CK Los Angeles $72,000,000 Pending
Val Verde Unified, Measure L Riverside $178,000,000 Pending
West Valley-Mission Community College, Measure C Santa Clara/Santa Cruz $350,000,000 Pending
Wright, Measure I Sonoma $14,000,000 Pending


2011 school bond question election overview
Status Number Dollars District % Dollar %
Approveda Approved 7 $981,100,000.00 70% 41.34%
Defeatedd Defeated 3 $1,392,000,000 30% 58.66%
Totals: 10 $2,373,100,000 100% 100%

November 8:

Approveda Bradley Union School District bond proposition, Measure T
Approveda Larkspur School District bond proposition, Measure A
Approveda Millbrae School District bond proposition, Measure N
Approveda Newark Unified School District bond proposition, Measure G
Approveda Newhall School District bond proposition, Measure E
Defeatedd San Bruno Park School District bond proposition, Measure O
Approveda San Francisco Unified School District bond, Proposition A
Defeatedd San Mateo Community College District bond proposition, Measure H

April 5:

Approveda Glendale Unified School District bond proposition, Measure S

March 8:

Defeatedd Santa Clara Unified School District bond proposition, Measure A


See also: California school district bond elections in 2010
2010 school bond question election overview
Status Number Dollars District % Dollar %
Approveda Approved 61 $5,053,250,000 73.5% 89.75%
Defeatedd Defeated 22 $576,950,000 26.5% 10.25%
Totals: 83 $5,630,200,000 100% 100%

June 8:

Measure County Amount Outcome
Anderson Valley Unified, Measure A Mendocino $15,250,000 Approveda
Arcohe Union, Measure A Sacramento $3,900,000 Defeatedd
Big Pine, Measure A Inyo $4,100,000 Approveda
Blue Lake Elementary, Measure K Humboldt $2,000,000 Approveda
Calipatria Unified, Measure I Imperial $25,000,000 Defeatedd
Campbell Union Elementary, Measure G Santa Clara $150,000,000 Approveda
Corcoran Unified, Measure Q Kings/Tulare $24,700,000 Defeatedd
Garden Grove Unified, Measure A Orange $250,000,000 Approveda
Greenfield Union, Measure L Monterey $8,300,000 Approveda
Hope School, Measure L Santa Barbara $8,000,000 Approveda
Los Gatos Union, Measure E Santa Clara $30,900,000 Approveda
Lucerne Valley Unified, Measure S San Bernardino $7,950,000 Defeatedd
Lynwood Unified, Measure AA Los Angeles $37,400,000 Defeatedd
Mark West Union, Measure C Sonoma $14,000,000 Approveda
Mountain View-Los Altos Union, Measure A Santa Clara $41,300,000 Approveda
Mt. Diablo Unified, Measure C Contra Costa $348,000,000 Approveda
Rohnerville, Measure M Humboldt $5,000,000 Approveda
Southern Humboldt Unified, Measure L Humboldt/Mendocino $25,200,000 Approveda
West Contra Costa Unified, Measure D Contra Costa $380,000,000 Approveda
Willits Unified, Measure B Mendocino $43,000,000 Approveda

November 2:

Measure County Amount Outcome
Anaheim G Orange $169,300,000 Approveda
Aromas-San Juan Z Monterey/Santa Cruz $16,100,000 Approveda
Atascadero I-10 San Luis Obispo $117,000,000 Approveda
Baker Valley D San Bernardino $3,200,000 Defeatedd
Belmont-Redwood I & N San Mateo $60,000,000 Approveda (both)
Bennett Valley J Sonoma $10,600,000 Approveda
Berkeley I Alameda $210,000,000 Approveda
Calistoga A Sonoma/Napa $42,000,000 Approveda
Centinela Valley CV Los Angeles $98,000,000 Approveda
Claremont CL Los Angeles $95,000,000 Defeatedd
Cloverdale G Sonoma $17,000,000 Approveda
Coalinga-Huron E Monterey/Fresno $16,100,000 Approveda
Cutler-Orosi T Fresno/Tulare $15,000,000 Defeatedd
Dehasa M San Diego $5,500,000 Approveda
Dixon D Solano $32,000,000 Defeatedd
Duarte E Los Angeles $62,000,000 Approveda
El Rancho EE Los Angeles $52,000,000 Approveda
Emery Unified J Alameda $95,000,000 Approveda
Encinatas Union P San Diego $44,200,000 Approveda
Fairfax C Kern $24,800,000 Approveda
Forestville Union K Sonoma $5,100,000 Approveda
Franklin-McKinley J Santa Clara $50,000,000 Approveda
Fresno Unified Q Fresno $280,000,000 Approveda
Hamilton Unified O Glenn $5,400,000 Defeatedd
Hughson Unified H Stanislaus $21,000,000 Defeatedd
Imperial Community College J Imperial $80,000,000 Approveda
Jefferson J San Joaquin $35,400,000 Approveda
Julian Union L San Diego $2,100,000 Approveda
Junction Elementary C Shasta $3,100,000 Defeatedd
Knightsen Elementary N Contra Costa $5,000,000 Defeatedd
Lynwood Unified L Los Angeles $45,000,000 Defeatedd
Magnolia I Orange $16,300,000 Approveda
Martinez Unified K Contra Costa $45,000,000 Approveda
Monterey Peninsula P Monterey $110,000,000 Approveda
Moreland Elementary K Santa Clara $55,000,000 Approveda
Mt. San Jacinto Community College U Riverside $47,000,000 Defeatedd
Northern Humboldt Union Q Humboldt $25,800,000 Approveda
Ohlone Community College G Alameda $349,000,000 Approveda
Piner-Olivet L Sonoma $20,000,000 Approveda
Pittsburg Unified L Contra Costa $100,000,000 Approveda
Rialto Unified Y San Bernardino $98,000,000 Approveda
Ross Valley A Marin $41,000,000 Approveda
Saint Helena Unified B Napa $30,000,000 Approveda
San Jose City College G Santa Clara $268,000,000 Approveda
San Leandro M Alameda $50,000,000 Approveda
San Marcos Unified K San Diego $287,000,000 Approveda
San Mateo Union O San Mateo $186,000,000 Approveda
Santa Barbara Elementary R Santa Barbara $75,000,000 Approveda
Santa Barbara High Q Santa Barbara $75,000,000 Approveda
Santa Clara Unified H Santa Clara $81,100,000 Approveda
Scott Valley Unified E Siskiyou $5,900,000 Defeatedd
Sierra Plumas Joint C Plumas/Sierra $5,000,000 Defeatedd
Sierra Unified S Fresno $9,600,000 Defeatedd
Sonoma Valley Unified H Sonoma $40,000,000 Approveda
Sonora Elementary H Tuolumne $3,800,000 Defeatedd
South San Francisco Unified J San Mateo $162,000,000 Approveda
Summerville Union High G Tuolumne $8,000,000 Defeatedd
Twin Hill Union M Sonoma $11,000,000 Approveda
Waterford Unified I Stanislaus $11,000,000 Defeatedd
West Sonoma County Union I Sonoma $23,800,000 Approveda
Western Placer Unified J Placer $163,000,000 Defeatedd
Wiseburn AA Los Angeles $87,000,000 Approveda


2009 school bond question election overview
Status Number Dollars District % Dollar %
Approveda Approved 2 $69,000,000 50% 79.1%
Defeatedd Defeated 2 $18,235,000 50% 20.9%
Totals: 4 $87,235,000 100% 100%
Measure County Amount Outcome
Mill Valley, Measure C Marin $59,800,000 Approveda
Shoreline Unified, Measure D Marin, Sonoma $9,290,000 Approveda
Springville Union, Measure O Tulare $6,735,000 Defeatedd
Springville Union, Measure L Tulare $11,500,000 Defeatedd


2008 school bond question election overview
Status Number Dollars District % Dollar %
Approveda Approved 140 85.9%
Defeatedd Defeated 23 14.1%
Totals: 163 - 100% 100%

November 4:

See California school district bond elections, November 2008

Ninety-six (96) school bond requests were on the November 4 ballot and eighty-seven of these were approved. Altogether, $22 billion in debt was incurred in the 87 school districts where bonds were approved. The most expensive bond request was the $7 billion sought and received by the Los Angeles Unified School District. The least expensive request was that of Cold Spring in Santa Barbara County, which sought and received $2.44 million.

Of the nine bond measures that failed, four received less than 50%. The other five that failed got between 50-54.9% of the vote, but failed because to pass, they needed a supermajority vote of at least 55%.

June 3:

See June 3, 2008 ballot measures in California

Forty-six school financing measures were on the June 3 ballot in California. This included:

  • 33 school bond measures. 26 passed; 7 failed.
  • 13 parcel tax measures. 7 passed; 6 failed.

February 5:

39 school districts asked for additional funding on February 5, 2008. 30 of the 39 passed with more than the 55% approval rate required by Prop 39 for their passage, for a total of approximately $3.9 billion in approved local school construction funds.

Eighteen of the thirty that passed would have failed to gain approval before Proposition 39 lowered the success threshold from two-thirds to 55%. The eighteen that passed because of the 55% threshold that would not have passed with a 2/3 threshold added $2.3 billion in new spending.

$100 billion from 1996-2006

From 1996 to 2006, California voters approved nearly $100 billion in school construction bonds at the state and local level. This total increased with passage of California Proposition 1D (2006) by another $10.4 billion.

In another study, from 1986 through 1999, 450 school districts sponsored 731 general obligation bond elections. 54% of the 731 passed. In those years, two-thirds voter approval was required; this changed in 2000 to 55%.

Statewide school bond measures

External links

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