If you’ve driven just about anywhere in Arizona over the last few weeks, you’ve probably noticed streets adorned with campaign signage. You may be among the many drivers left scratching their heads and wondering, “An election? In an odd-numbered year?”
While an understandable amount attention is already focused on Arizona’s U.S. Senate race and other 2018 elections, a less well-known electoral process is underway right now, and the outcomes will have the greatest impact for the state’s youngest residents: school district bond and override elections.
Bond and Override Elections: What are they?
Bond and override elections both allow citizens to dictate the financial future of their respective school districts. Bond elections can involve a variety of important decisions, including whether districts should change the location of school buildings, purchase or sell school sites, and sell bonds to raise revenue for purchasing lots or renovating buildings. Override elections ask voters to decide whether or not the district’s budget for the next budget year should exceed a state-imposed “aggregate budget limit.” While override elections ask residents to vote specifically on the budget for the next budget year, the override will generally apply for a number of years as specified by the school board’s override request.
How do Bond and Override Elections get called?
Both bond and override elections are called by a school district’s governing board (more commonly called the “school board”). However, the initiation of any bond election must be petitioned by at least 15% of voters who cast ballots in the previous year’s district election. If the school board proposes a budget that exceeds the aggregate budget limit, it is required to call an override election for November, when voters can either approve or reject the budget. (The governing board must have prepared an alternate budget that does not exceed the aggregate limit, in the event the proposed budget is voted down).
Which districts are holding Bond and Override Elections this year?
Within Maricopa County, 22 districts are slated to hold a bond or override election (or both) this November (see list below). This year, all registered voters in those districts received a ballot in the mail. At least 35 days before Election Day, voters also receive informational reports on proposed overrides. Ballot centers will also be open throughout the county leading up to Election Day for voters who lose or make a mistake on their ballot, or who simply prefer to vote in-person, with voters able to vote at whichever center is most convenient for them.
- Agua Fria Union No. 216
- Arlington Elementary No. 47
- Buckeye Elementary No. 33
- Chandler Unified No. 80
- Fountain Hills Unified No. 98
- Fowler Elementary No. 45
- Gila Bend Unified No. 24
- Isaac Elementary No. 5
- Litchfield Elementary No. 79
- Murphy Elementary No. 21
- Paradise Valley Unified No. 69
- Phoenix Elementary No. 1
- Alhambra Elementary No. 68
- Littleton Elementary No. 65
- Queen Creek Unified No. 95
- Tolleson Elementary No. 17
- Tolleson Union No. 214