What is the difference between an override and a bond and why do they require voter approval?
When the funding provided by the state isn’t enough to meet the needs of all students, the state allows school districts to ask for local support through bonds and overrides. This requires Governing Board approval to be placed on a ballot for the community to vote.
Maintenance and Operations Overrides are used to provide additional funding to support people and programs. School districts may ask for an increase of up to 15 percent of their revenue control limit for a term of seven years. Many districts will ask voters to approve a renewal in year 4 or 5 of an override to maintain a consistent level of funding. If not renewed, the amount decreases by 1/3 in the sixth year, 2/3 in the seventh year, and is fully eliminated in year eight. The Peoria Unified School District has had an override in place since 1996.
Bonds are similar to loans that are authorized by voters and used to purchase capital items and/or make capital improvements to existing facilities, such as building or renovating a school or purchasing school buses. The funding can only be used to fund projects that have a useful life longer than five years. They are repaid over a set period of time, and the district must provide the community with information on how the dollars are spent. Funds from a bond cannot be used for employee compensation.