Court: School Districts Must Abide By Voters' Wishes On Bonds

Posted on September 19, 2011 | Type: Press Release
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PHOENIX – A Superior Court Judge ruled yesterday that school districts may not use bond money in ways voters have not approved.

In a case watched by school districts throughout the state, the court ruled that Cave Creek School District violated its contract with the voters when it diverted bond money to unapproved projects, and the statute permitting a few districts to break their agreements is an unconstitutional special law.

“This decision protects voters’ constitutionally-guaranteed rights and makes it crystal clear that that school districts cannot ignore their agreements,” said Christina Kohn, a Goldwater Institute staff attorney.

In November 2000, CCUSD voters approved a $41 million bond program to build new schools. The district had $13 million left after building two schools, and wanted to use the money on projects that were not approved by voters.

Rather than asking voters for permission to use the money for other purposes, the district acted based on a law passed by the Arizona Legislature in May 2010 that allowed some school districts to redirect money from voter-approved projects.

Arizona law requires school districts to use voter-authorized bond money only on voter-approved projects.

In striking down the 2010 law, the court said it “essentially abrogates the voters’ rights existing at the time of their bond vote, and by so doing, strikes a blow to the election process and violates both the Arizona and Federal Constitution."

Read more about this and other Goldwater cases to protect individual rights and uphold the constitution at www.goldwaterinstitute.org.

The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog supported by people committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty.

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