Carried or Defeated? Examining the Factors Associated with Passing School District Bond Elections in Texas, 1997-2009

Bowers, Alex J.; Lee, Jooyoung

Purpose: Across the United States, a large percentage of school districts are in need of facility improvements to provide safe and adequate buildings to facilitate student learning. To finance new construction, school districts traditionally have put proposals before local voters to fund construction through issuing long-term bonds to finance near-term construction. However, past literature indicates that there are few variables that are associated with bond election outcomes that are under the influence of school administrators. The purpose of this study was to examine the factors most associated with passing or failing a school district capital facility finance bond in the state of Texas from 1997 through 2009. Research Methods: We analyzed all proposed school bonds in Texas from 1997-2009, n=2,224, using a logistic regression discrete time hazard model to model the probability of passing a bond on the first, second or third attempt, while controlling for multiple types of variables such as bond, district and community characteristics, as well as specific election characteristics. Findings: We found that the first attempt of a bond is the most likely to succeed, as well as bonds that propose renovations and debt refinancing, or are at the top of the ballot. Also, while percent population over age 65 was negatively related to bond passage, percent Asian and Hispanic students was positively related. Implications for Research and Practice: Using past research and our findings, we propose a mediated model of school bond passage, and provide specific recommendations for administrators looking to pass needed facility construction bonds, including focusing on passing the bond on the first attempt and proposing only a single bond that includes all requests. Keywords: Bond issues, longitudinal studies, educational finance, facilities, school finance, school district spending, election campaigns, debt

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Educational Administration Quarterly

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Education Leadership
Published Here
November 10, 2014


This document is a pre-print of this manuscript, which was originally published in the journal Educational Administration Quarterly. Citation: Bowers, A.J., Lee, J. (2013) Carried or Defeated? Examining the Factors that Predict School District Bond Elections in Texas, 1998-2009. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(5),732-767. doi: 10.1177/0013161X13486278