Schools, Taxes, and Voter Behavior

An Analysis of School District Property Tax Elections

by Arthur J. Alexander, Gail V. Bass-Golod


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 6.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback79 pages $25.00 $20.00 20% Web Discount

This investigation of school district property tax elections, based on 1600 California elections from the mid-1950s to 1972 and socioeconomic, demographic, and educational finance data by school district, found little difference in most characteristics between districts passing and failing elections. Districts passing elections though had significantly smaller proposed tax rate and tax change, and more families with high incomes. Numbers of assenting voters fall, dissenting voters rise, and total turnout increases with size of tax increase. There was no evidence of taxpayer revolt — a shift in voter behavior against higher taxes — from 1966 to 1972. However, a sharp shift (revolt) was observed between the 1950s and 1960s. Variables most sharply associated with calling of tax elections were growth in property value (negative relationship) and unpredictably low tax rate. Recent legislation, court mandated reform, falling attendance, and rising property values should reduce the rate of failing school property tax elections.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.