CAUTION: The Public School Districts are back AGAIN asking for a budget increase. These are officially called “Override Elections.”

by Mickie Niland
Chandler Unified School District resident
Republican Precinct Committeeman

Last November a solid majority of voters defeated property tax overrides in every district in Legislative District 12. Across the state voters defeated a permanent 1% sales tax increase that was advertised to supposedly fund education.

The voters sent a message loud and clear:   “Live within your budget like we are all trying to do.”
 

Now these districts are back again footing the entire cost of these special elections. Yes, these “special, off-cycle elections” are taking place at taxpayer cost! Their goal is, once again, to see if they can get a budget increase approved. 

You might ask, what is a “special, off-cycle” election?  Why is that important?  Here’s why:

 

Most of our elections are held in the fall of even years. Traditionally there is a lot of splash with multiple signs on every corner in town.  You know the drill, fliers on your door steps, robo calls abounding, and TV ads drowning out your favorite shows.   As annoying as all of this information overload might be, it makes an election hard to miss.  This tends to give us good voter turnout. 

 

Off season elections, in odd numbered years, often have only one item on the ballot. With very little hoopla, they can seem almost invisible.  Technically, all the laws are followed and the results are legal and binding upon all taxpayers.  After all, it was a public election, and it’s not the fault of the school officials that the people chose not to vote. 

 

Off season elections provide special interest groups the perfect opportunity to achieve their goals.  They couldn’t do it during fall, even years.   They target their advertising to groups who will benefit from the tax/bond increase and do a reasonable job of getting out the vote and voilà- they won!  Fewer people vote, so the special interest groups can win with a fewer number of voters. The masses are often left confused when their property taxes go up. After all they voted it down in what they thought was the most current election!

 

Why do school districts throughout the state do this? Because they can! There are no laws to stop them. This needs to change.  (However, that is a subject for another article.)

 

What can you do about the current situation? Vote when your ballot arrives in your mailbox.  Don’t set it aside, only to find it three weeks after the election, because it was buried in a stack of mail!  Without the usual election excitement, forgetting is understandable.  So, vote as soon as you receive your ballot!

 

Chandler’s election will be even more confusing. This special election is a mail in only ballot election.  People who usually vote at the polling places may be confused by the process and will be more likely to set the ballot aside, meaning to get back to it after they have looked into it. This decreases voter participation.  

 

Vote NO again during this off cycle, off season, “special,” hidden election, to protect our voting process. We need to keep our elections open and consistent! Without the usual election patterns, these elections do not accurately reflect the will of the people. These types of actions by government bodies erode the trust between the taxpayers and their government.

 

After all, there is a lot of money on the table! This is especially true in my home district of Chandler where they are asking for the maximum 15 % allowed by law.  Over the 7-year life of this override a significant amount of money will be collected from the taxpayers, and they deserve the right to have their voices heard. 

 

Your vote is needed again to ask them:   “What part of No did you not understand”?

 

Please vote no again!

 

Here is information on all of the Maricopa County Bond and Override Elections.  

See also Support Strong Schools: Get the Facts.

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