Districts Calling For Bonds, Overrides Increases By 150%

The Arizona School Boards Association, via its AZEDNEWS.com is justifying widespread calls for bond issues and budget overrides with the following sensational headline: Steep Cuts Increase Number Of Districts Calling For Bonds, Overrides Increases By 150%

According to the Arizona School Boards Association, “The Arizona Legislature cut per-student funding by 17.8 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report released in October 2014.” Wow! If that is true, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. If that is true, then of course you have no choice but to support your district’s override or bond proposal.

Before we go any farther, we have to ask whether it is true. Is it?

Among the endless demands we make of our educators is the insistence that they teach our children to engage in critical thinking. We must do the same. We must ask ourselves if we are basing our support for the various overrides and bonds on reliable and unbiased information. We must consider the source, and then form our opinion.

According to the Weekly Standard, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a distinct bias as expected of a liberal think tank. With a clear bias, we must find a more reliable source like the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

The bipartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee is tasked with providing the Arizona Legislature “with sound research, analysis, forecasts and recommendations on government finances and public policies; and to provide the members with high quality work that is factual and delivered in a timely and professional manner, enabling the members to make informed public policy decisions that are in the best interests of the citizens of Arizona.”

Members include JLBC House Chair Representative Justin Olsen, Senate Chair Senator Don Shooter, Representative Lela Alston, Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, Representative Russell “Rusty” Bowers, Senator Steve Farley, Representative Stefanie Mach, Senator Gail Griffin, Representative Darin Mitchell, Senator Katie Hobbs, Representative Steve Montenegro, Senator John Kavanagh, Representative David Stevens, Senator Debbie Lesko, Representative Michelle Ugenti, and Senator Steve Yarbrough.

In response to the Arizona School Boards Association claims, Jose Borrajero, an expert on the Legislature crunched the JLBC numbers. He discovered that K-12 funding is at the highest level since 2009, both in the raw number of dollars, and in the percentage of the total state budget. In his calculations, Borrajero only looked at Arisona State funding. He did not include any of the other K-12 sources of funding, like property taxes, bonds, and the like.

All numbers  =  $ BillionsCHANGE
FISCAL YEAR200920102011201220132014201520162009-2016
TOTAL STATE BUDGET8.6037.7258.2498.6488.6208.6629.2949.169106.58%
EDUCATION TOTAL4.7524.2304.2644.3604.4384.6854.8844.852102.10%
UNIVERSITY TOTAL0.8380.7920.9000.7080.7050.7350.7680.66178.88%
K-12 TOTAL3.9143.4383.3643.6523.7333.9504.1164.191107.08%
EDU TOT / TOT AZ BUDGET55.24%54.76%51.69%50.42%51.48%54.09%52.55%52.92%
K-12 TOT / TOT AZ BUDGET45.50%44.50%40.78%42.23%43.31%45.60%44.29%45.71%

Borrajero points out that while Arizona School Boards Association’s claim may be factually accurate, it contains two major flaws. First, it fails to disclose that the whole state budget was reduced by roughly the same percentage. Revenues hit bottom and every agency took deep cuts, and many took cuts deeper than K-12 education. The second flaw is that the numbers used are for FY 2008 – FY 2012, as if the earth has stopped spinning in 2012. But what about FY 2012 – FY 2016? During this period, K-12 funding INCREASED by 14.76%, over twice the 6.02% increase in the total state budget.

Borrajero says it is worth noting that the percentage of funding that schools are spending in the classroom has been steadily decreasing, regardless of whether overall funding has increased or decreased.

Borrajero recommends that citizens concerned about how their tax dollars are spent should be taking a very close look at what is really going on in the area of school funding and spending before blindly voting for bond issues and/or budget overrides.


  1. I am a teacher. I’ve been in six school districts. I have NEVER voted in favor of a school bond. Never. Why? Because all the districts I have worked in are so expert in WASTING MONEY. I will never vote for a school bond unless I am in a district that can manage the money they already have.

  2. Looking at our Pima County 2015 property tax statement with primary tax rate of 8.4419 being raised by the Board of Supervisors June 16 to 9.165 contingent on Pima bond passage tells us to vote NO on all 7 Pima Bonds. As for the school overrides, they are another NO because administrators benefit, the students lose!

  3. Get out there and work to let people know there is an opposition. I don’t know where you live Hank but it must be in a dark cave. PimaBondFacts.com has been out there for at least 3 months and also in this paper. Get on it and send it to all on your email list. When the YES signs say “invest in our future” they really mean it. I believe most if not all of the people donating to the campaign with big $$$ stand to make millions from it. They truly are investing in THEIR future on the backs of taxpayers. We’ve got ’em scared. We’re downloading from the website, making copies, and putting them on car windows at Walmart, Costco, and any other parked car you can find. Help us out Hank. We need everyone.

    • We have looked at our tax bill and are outraged, We are saying NO! to the chucklehead!! They have done a crappy job on roads and all else they promised.
      Say No everybody.

  4. Property owners of Pima county get off your a$$es and look at your property tax bill, you are funding the welfare to the rest of the county including the fire departments like North West.

  5. There are many patriots working like crazy in oppositon to the thievery of this bond proposal. Unfortunately, while we are opposing the big-wallet profiteers, we are working on a shoestring budget – that means not much money to buy signs and radio ads.

    I invite all to visit the website that exposes the truth about this bond package at

    You will get all of the current facts, stay current on the efforts being put forth, and even see a “PLEASE DONATE” link on the site. You can use that to PLEASE DONATE directly to the cause, so more signs can be posted and more radio ads can be broadcast. These warrriors are using their own resources to travel the entire County to get out the message. When a donation comes in they buy more signs and radio ads, but their personal time & expenses are a huge donation on their part.

    I invite all to get up off of your big fat lounge chairs, and while you are whining about how life ain’t fair you can dig out your wallet and give these worker ants something to work with, using the “PLEASE DONATE” link. They are the ones who are out there in the trenches, trying to get it done. They can only work with what they have. PLEASE $$UPPORT them, and US.

    God bless America.

  6. Have you heard the bond ads on the radio? Only the big buck cronies are reported to have sponsored them and they are the ones who will get the most $$ out of it. Diamond, Click and the rest. Still looking for the opposition signs and have only seen a few. Maybe there is no opposition other than here on this site. Sure seems so.

  7. Nothing surprising here. Give us more money so we can piss it away and not provide a good product. Same as its always been. Some schools are doing great with the funds that they have and provide children a good education that helps prepare them for college and life. Others don’t have a clue and keep pumping out failures after failures and no one holds them accountable. Yet the low and no information voters will keep on pulling the lever or marking their ballot with information provided to them by bogus groups that have an agenda. They will do no research on anything other than the glossy article that the school sends them or some outside group sends them. If an alphabet organization says so, then it must be true, right all you sheep? Kind of like the Pima County bond issue. The people that support it are the cronies that stand to make millions off the taxpayer. Seems about right to me in Baja, AZ.

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