School elections results show support for many measures - AZEdNews
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School elections results show support for many measures


A Voter Dropping Off A Ballot At A Ballot Replacement And Drop Off Location On Nov. 5, 2019. Photo By Lisa Irish/AZEdNews

6:55 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8

Voters approved 75 percent of school elections as a new batch of Maricopa County ballots were tallied and unofficial election results were updated shortly after 5 p.m. and then again at 6:47 p.m, this evening.

There were 62 school bond and override elections and two lease/sale of school property elections.

The spread between yes and no votes shrunk in the Peoria Unified School District override election, but the no vote is leading the yes vote by 133 votes.

The Dysart Unified School District bond election no vote was 365 more than the yes vote, and the no vote on the override was 3,433 voted ahead of the yes vote.

Click here for updated Maricopa County 2019 school election results.

8:31 a.m. Friday, Nov. 8

School election results seem to be holding steady with a 75 percent approval rate with the release of more ballots tallied last evening.

With about 13,000 more ballots left to be tallied in Maricopa County, there should be more unofficial elections results available around 5 p.m. this evening.

The gap between yes and no votes on Peoria Unified’s override narrowed to 271, but the ballot measure is still failing.

The gap also narrowed to 582 between yes and no votes for Dysart Unified’s bond election, but that is still failing right now.

However, the no vote on Dysart Unified’s budget override grew to 3,609 more than the yes vote, leaving that measure still failing.

11:28 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019

School elections results still coming in show that voters approved about 75 percent of the 62 school bond and override elections and the two lease/sale of school property elections.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office still has approximately 33,749 ballots to process and more unofficial election results should be released around 5 p.m. today.

6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019

The gap narrowed in some school elections after more ballots were counted and more results were released today at 5 p.m.

Earlier today, the Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes had said there were more than 56,000 ballots left to be tallied, so there will be more results to come tomorrow around 5 p.m.

The gap between the no votes and the yes votes in the Peoria Unified School District override election has shrunk to 432 votes, but the ballot measure is still failing at this point.

Pendergast Elementary School District‘s continuation of its override also is looking more likely to be approved with 100 more yes votes – 1786 votes – to the 1686 no votes.

12:05 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019

School elections results still coming in show that voters approved about 75 percent of the 62 school bond and override elections and two lease/sale of school property elections.

“Obviously, there’s still ballots out to be counted. The last we heard from the (Maricopa) County Recorder’s Office, there’s at least 24,000 countywide, so some of these results might change a little bit,” said Paul Bentz, senior vice president of research & strategy at HighGround Public Affairs Consultants Inc., on Wednesday at an Arizona Association of School Business Officials meeting in Glendale.

School elections results show support for many measures loading

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Infographic by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews
Click here for a larger version

The next round of election results updates in Maricopa County will be today around 5 p.m.

“Voter turnout is up and that’s great news, people are participating. That’s the extend of the great news,” Bentz said.

Voter turnout was “25 percent, which means three out of four voters stayed home,” Bentz said. “It’s still low turnout, it’s just better turnout.”

About 424,000 votes were counted last night in Maricopa County, which is about 23 percent turnout, and “typical off-cycle turnout is 21 percent,” Bentz said.

School elections results show support for many measures Paul-Bentz1
Paul Bentz with HighGround Inc.

“We’re already above typical off-cycle turnout,” Bentz said. “We expect turnout to get above 25 percent total at the end of the day.”

That means schools’ efforts to get out the vote are working, but they need to do more of them, Bentz said.

“We’ve seen some pretty big shifts in voter demographics,” Bentz said.

Off-cycle elections in Maricopa County are typically 58 percent Republican, 32 percent Democrat and 10 percent Independents, Bentz said.

“Independents tend to not participate in these off-cycle elections, because there’s some confusion on what elections they can and can’t participate in,” Bentz said.

“What we saw in 2019, what we saw in 2018 and what we’re seeing now is that Independent and Party Not Declared voter participation is up significantly – up 15 points compared to a typcial off-cycle,” Bentz said.

“That’s really good news. Those folks tend to care a lot about education,” Bentz said. “They’re not all 100 percent pro education voters, but education is their top issue.”

Bentz said younger voters are increasing, but 45 percent of Arizona voters are over the age of 65.

“We know how to talk to those folks. We know they read the mail, we know they read the publicity pamphlet, we know they’re going to participate, so you have to talk to those voters,” Bentz said.

Related article:
How do bonds and overrides help fund Arizona schools?

On the other hand, there were increases in the 18 to 29 year old voters and the 30 to 39 year old voters, Bentz said.

“We expect that trend to continue and in fact increase in the 2020 elections,” Bentz said. “There is a younger vote out there.”

“Let me give you a piece of advice. Don’t rely solely on that young vote to get anything that you want done passed, because you will be sad,” Bentz said. “You still need to talk to that 50 to 64 and that 65 and older group. They still will make up in a general election somewhere north of 60 percent of the electorate. “

The good news is that the efforts used this time around are working, such as texting and communications to students for families and parents, Bentz said.

Bentz said texting voters to remind them to return ballots and walking door-to-door and talking to residents made a significant difference in this elections.

“It’s one of the best things you can ask from your business partners – people to turnout for these walks and texting efforts,” Bentz said.

Bentz noted there was significant voter turnout in a couple of areas – Queen Creek was almost 16 percent higher than seen in past elections, Nadaburg is up by 10 votes right now, Liberty Elementary School District was up by almost 50 percent.

School elections results show support for many measures Paul-Slide-2
From presentation by Paul Bentz of HighGround at Arizona Association of School Board Officials meeting Nov. 6 in Glendale.

“Increased voter turnout does not necessarily mean increase likelihood of success,” Bentz said, noting that all of the school ballot measures in red in the chart above are currently or likely to fail.

Bentz noted that he still thinks the Peoria and Dysart overrides still have a chance of passage though.

“Turnout is up because these are growing areas,” Bentz said.

“When you’re going into these growing areas and communities that are on the outskirts of the metro area, you have to make sure you’re communicating with your new residents,” Bentz said.

“They might not necessarily know the quality of your district or what you’re doing for them,” Bentz said. “They probably moved to that area, because you’re helping their property values, but they might now know all the benefits, particularly if they don’t have kids at home.”

“In the high-growing areas, you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to communicate with those voters,” Bentz said.

While Peoria Unified released a statement earlier today saying their election remains too close to call, Dysart Unified released a statement thanking parents, staff and community membrs for their efforts but both the bond and override measures were not approved.

“We have been in this position through past elections and remain cautiously optimistic,” said Peoria Superintendent Linda Palles Thompson. “We are hopeful the results will swing in our favor and look forward to the next update.”

The Dysart Unified override would have let the district continue to recruit and retain highly qualified staff to maintain manageable class sizes; offer a free full-day Kindergarten; maintain arts, athletics and physical education programs; and provide math and reading support to students, according to a statement released by the district.

“The override funding currently in place for these programs from a 2015 override election is still in place at 100% through the 2020-2021 school year. If funding is not approved prior to the 2021-2022 school year, the override funding will begin phasing out, and cuts will need to be made to balance the budget,” the statement said.

The failure of Dysart’s bond measure means the district will not be able to replace its oldest buses, and delay construction of two new elementary schools as well as a land purchase for a new high school. 

Dysart said it will seek community support for these needs again next year.

“In the far northwest valley there was formal opposition in the form of a committee that put out signs, that put out mail, that’s very active on social media, but they were not necessarily target Deer Valley,” Bentz said. “That really shows the big difference between having formal opposition and not.”

“I believe we’re heading into a phase where we will have more formal opposition,” Bentz said.

Out of the 64 school bond, override, district additional assistance and capital overrides and two school lease or sale proposals, 48 out of 64 are passing, that’s about a 75 percent passage rate, Bentz said.

School elections results show support for many measures Paul-Slide-3
From presentation by Paul Bentz of HighGround at Arizona Association of School Board Officials meeting Nov. 6 in Glendale.

“One of the things we’re seeing and this is very indicative of the stat and very indicative of the country, as you metropolitanize you’re areas,as you get more people together and you put the high wage earners and those folks in general areas then that area turns more blue, but that leaves more of the outskirts or the rural areas and the suburbs more red,” Bentz said.

“That’s very reflective of what we’re seeing in our legislative races. That’s very reflective of what we’re seeing in our country. And its reflective in our school areas,” Bentz said.

Liberty Elementary’s bond passed, but its override failed and “this is a trend that we’re seeing,” Bentz said.

“If you have a bond and an override on the same ballot, your bond is hurting your override,” Bentz said. “Your voters are going to negotiate with you and they’re going to pick one to choose.”

This doesn’t happen for every district, because several districts passed both a bond and override, Bentz said.

“But if it’s close, what happens is and we saw this in Mesa last cycle and a couple of school districts this cycle, the votes will tend to approve the bond and then defeat the override,” Bentz said.

“We advise people that if you have a chance to separate the items (bonds and overrides) in an off cycle especially, you want to,” Bentz said. “Off-cycle’s are really a tough year for most districts to pass both items.”

“If you have an override you really want to pass, my recommendation is don’t pair it with a bond,” Bentz said. “People want to build something. Until we change what an override is called – it should be called local control or something like that – until we change that phrasing between the two you get about 7 more points for a bond than you do for an override.”

Another trend is those sales or leases or similar type of transactions that we haven’t typically tracked in the past, both of those passed, and “those seem to be pretty popular,” Bentz said.

Pinal County had some pretty significant challenges, in Apache Junction bond the bond and the district additional assistance override failed, Bentz said.

School elections results show support for many measures Paul-Slide-4
From presentation by Paul Bentz of HighGround at Arizona Association of School Board Officials meeting Nov. 6 in Glendale.

“These are small turnout elections, so every vote makes a huge difference,” Bentz said. “Some of these the margins were very small.”

Blue Ridge’s override failed with 45 percent compared with Winslow and Mohawk Valley override, Bentz said.

Cochise County is another challenged area – heavy Repulican and close to the border – both Tombstone and Willcox’s bond issues look like their heading towards defeat, but in Gila County, on the other hand, Miami and Payson’s bond issues are are passing pretty well, Bentz said.

“Here’s the lessons from 2019, changes in turnout do not guarantee results,” Bentz said. “You have to make sure that the voters are educated on where you’re coming from, what you need and why and making sure you’re putting your best foot forward that you’re talking to voters about the things they care about, not necessarily the things that you care about.”

For example, all-day kindergarten in 2006 was very popular, but the last few times that I’ve tested it it’s not as popular as some of the other things, Bentz said.

Looking ahead to the 2020 elections, Bentz said he expects a high voter turnout.

“The highest ever voter turnout in the State of Arizona was 80.1 percent set in in 1980,” Bentz said. “I think we’re going to get close to that.”

Turnout was at 65 percent in 2018 elections, Bentz said.

Voter turnout for the 2020 election will be the youngest, most independent and “it will also be probably the least educated audience when it comes to understanding the issues,” Bentz said.

Making sure voters get to school elections on the 2020 ballot and take the time to vote will be the biggest challenge, Bentz said.

“It’s going to be a very long ballot,” Bentz said. “It’s going to be two- sided. There’ll be judges on it. There will be a lot of things, so bear in mind you’ve got to get folks to the back of the ballot or wherever you are to vote.”

School elections results show support for many measures 2019-Bond-Override-Results-NOV-5_Page_1-1024x791
Chart courtesy Arizona School Boards Association’s Governmental Relations team
School elections results show support for many measures 2019-Bond-Override-Results-NOV-5_Page_2-1024x791
Chart courtesy Arizona School Boards Association’s Governmental Relations team

9:26 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

Unofficial school elections results from the early ballots counted this evening show support for about 75 percent of the 62 school bond and override elections.

The next round of election results updates in Maricopa County will be tomorrow near 5 p.m.

School elections results show support for many measures loading

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Infographic by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews
Click here for a larger version

Here’s a detailed chart of where the vote stands this evening.

School elections results show support for many measures Nov-5-Maricopa-County-Elections-results-Summary_Page_1-791x1024
School elections results show support for many measures Nov-5-Maricopa-County-Elections-results-Summary_Page_2-791x1024
School elections results show support for many measures Nov-5-Maricopa-County-Elections-results-Summary_Page_3-791x1024
School elections results show support for many measures Nov-5-Maricopa-County-Elections-results-Summary_Page_4-791x1024

9:04 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

Take a look at the school elections results updates on your county recorder’s website to see how local ballot measures fared.

Click here to see updated election results on the Maricopa County Recorder’s website.

In Maricopa County, the early ballot count is 424,479 votes or 23.23 percent voter turnout.

Many Maricopa County school elections showed strong voter approval, with several exceptions.

Voter turnout was up to almost 28% in many school elections.

8:06 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

The first school election results have been released on the Maricopa County Recorder’s election results webpage.

So far it looks like voters will approve Agua Fria, Tolleson Union High School District’s bonds, Avondale Elementary’s override and Buckeye Elementary’s bond.

Chandler and Deer Valley Unified’s bonds are showing strong voter support. Deer Valley Unified’s override has strong voter support.

However, Dysart Unified’s bond and the continuation of its override do not look like they will be approved with 14,201 votes against the bond and 15,682 against the override.

Right now, Peoria Unified’s override doesn’t look like it has enough voter support with 21,648 voting against it.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Liberty Override: NO (close)<br>Littleton override: yes (very close)</p>&mdash; The AZ – abc15 – Data Guru (@Garrett_Archer) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Garrett_Archer/status/1191914966158200835?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>November 6, 2019</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

7:25 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

The polls are closed in today’s municipal and school elections and results updates will start being released at 8 p.m.

11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019

Where should you to drop off your ballot for today’s election? Find locations near you on your county recorder’s website. Then check back here for school elections results updates after polls close.

Soon after 9 a.m. Tuesday, three people dropped off their ballots at the Dysart Unified School District office voting center in Surprise.

In Maricopa County, there are 30 ballot replacement and drop off locations provided by the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office that will be open until 7 p.m when voting ends. Click here to find one near you.

There was a steady stream of about 10 people dropping off their ballots around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Centennial High School ballot replacement and drop off location in Peoria.

The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office also has a tool where you can put in your address to find the closest Vote Centers open until 7 p.m. or a Vote Anywhere Vote Center. Click here to find one near you.

Arizona school districts are asking voters in their communities to approve bonds and overrides ballot measures in the Nov. 5 election to generate funding through local property taxes that schools can use for a set time and purpose.

“Only 29 jurisdictions are participating and not every Maricopa County voter lives in one of these districts,” said Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County Recorder.

This year, 49 of Arizona’s 223 public school districts statewide, or 21.97 percent, are seeking bonds and overrides, with more than half of those in Maricopa County.

Related article:
How do bonds and overrides help fund Arizona schools?

There are 62 school election measures on the ballot today statewide.

Twenty-three school districts seek bonds to provide a certain amount of money for set projects, while 33 ask for overrides to increase the school district’s maintenance and operations budget up to 15 percent, and just six put capital overrides measures on the ballot to raise funds up to 10 percent of their revenue control limit.

Check back after 8 p.m. and throughout the evening for school elections results updates.