Oct 28, 2022 - Politics

School bonds, overrides and city propositions in metro Phoenix

Illustration of a pattern of checkmarks that turn into question marks and vice versa, over a red and blue background with a pattern of ballot elements.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

We've already walked you through the 10 statewide ballot propositions, but there are a few other hyperlocal questions you'll be asked to weigh in on in November's election.

Mesa

Question 1: Home rule

Mesa is asking voters to continue to allow the city council to decide how much of its tax revenue it will spend instead of adhering to spending limits set by the state.

  • Most Arizona cities operate under these "home rule" provisions.
  • Mesa says it would have to cut its budget by about $825 million if voters do not approve the measure.

Question 2: Public safety bond

The city wants voters to approve a $157 million bond program that will fund three fire stations, a new police headquarters and several other public safety-related projects.

Proposition 476: Police and fire unions

This ballot measure would allow Mesa police and firefighter unions to collectively bargain with the city to establish a labor contract, which is currently outlawed in the city's charter.

Proposition 477: Spending procedures

Currently, the city council must approve any expense over $25,000.

  • This proposition would allow the council to increase that number so that staff would be authorized to make more purchases without council approval.
School bond and overrides

25 school districts in Arizona have bond or budget override issues on the ballot that would increase their funding by way of property taxes.

Overrides: These would be temporary increases of up to 15% of a district's maintenance-and-operations budget, which can be valid for up to seven years.

  • In many cases, those overrides are pre-existing, so a "yes" vote would maintain a district's funding level.

Bonds: These allow school districts to take on debt to fund capital projects, including buses, technology or a new school building.

Be smart: The Maricopa County school superintendent's office has a list on its website of bond and override issues on the ballot this year, along with links where you can find more details about what your district is asking you to vote on.

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