Contact: Lucy Caldwell
MEDIA ADVISORY: ARIZONA SUPREME COURT DENIES SCHOOL DISTRICT’S APPEAL
Ruling with nationwide impact prevents governments from misusing voter-approved bond funds
Upholding a decision that protects taxpayers from being abused by school districts misusing bond money, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals ruling Wednesday by denying the Cave Creek Unified School District’s appeal in an ongoing legal fight between the Goldwater Institute and the district.
The Goldwater Institute represented Jayne Friedman, a Cave Creek taxpayer, who was troubled when CCUSD redirected bond money approved by voters in 2000 to fund projects voters had not authorized. A superior court judge ruled in the Institute’s favor last year, finding the district’s actions illegal. In March, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision unanimously, finding that the school district had violated the terms of the bond deal.
According to the Court of Appeals ruling, the purpose of a bond measure is an important consideration in deciding whether to vote for or against it, but voter approval is meaningless if the government can induce voters to approve a bond measure for one purpose, only to spend the money on another.
“Thanks to today’s ruling, school districts can no longer use bait-and-switch tactics to fund pet projects without asking voters permission,” said Christina Sandefur, Goldwater Institute attorney who litigated the case. “This protection for taxpayers is vitally important because taxpayers are ultimately on the hook to pay these bonds.”
Thirty three other states have constitutional provisions requiring government to obtain voter approval before issuing bonds, meaning that the ruling strengthens taxpayer protections not just in Arizona, but throughout the country.
To learn more about the case, please visit: Friedman v. CCUSD
To schedule an interview with Christina Sandefur, please contact Communications Director Lucy Caldwell at (602) 633-8986.