Approval of local school-facilities bond measures has been relatively high during the recent economic downturn
School districts can issue general obligation bonds to build or renovate facilities with the approval of two-thirds of local voters or just 55% if they meet specific conditions related to the election and public oversight. They levy a tax based on property values to pay back those bonds. Districts gained the ability to pass bond measures with 55% voter approval in 2001. Since then, 79% of the 698 G.O. bond elections attempted have passed.
General Obligation Bond Measure Passage Rate: Jan. 2008–Dec. 2010
Data: EdSource, School Services of California, Inc., and League of Women Voters of California-Smart Voter
Local communities have in recent years been even more likely to approve G.O. bonds. From January 2008 through December 2010, local voters approved 81% of the 221 G.O. bond measures attempted, despite only a 75% passage rate in the November 2010 election.
Districts often use a combination of locally raised funds plus monies raised through statewide bond elections for their facilities needs. Despite a diminishing pool of state bond funds, legislators in Sacramento did not pass a measure to put a state bond on the November 2010 statewide ballot. The earliest that the next kindergarten-university facilities bond measure can now be expected is in 2012.