October 11, 2023
Two constitutional amendments are on the 2023 ballot:
The removal of small city school districts from special constitutional debt limitation
Extending sewage project debt exclusion from the debt limit
The first is a statewide proposal to amend the State Constitution to remove the current debt limitation on small city school districts. This amendment removes the special debt limit for small city school districts. If passed, debt limits would be established in state law for all school districts, and spending and debt restrictions placed on small city school districts will be eliminated.
If this proposal passes, small city school districts would be allowed to have the financial flexibility of other school districts. A small city school district includes at least part of a small city. A “small city” has less than 125,000 people; school districts with more residents do not have specific debt limits.
The State Constitution limits how much debt a small city school district can incur. Their debt can be up to five percent of the district’s taxable real estate value. There are exceptions for certain expenses. Other school districts are not subject to a constitutional debt restriction but have a different debt limit provided by state law. State law says their debts cannot exceed ten percent of the value of taxable real property. If this amendment passes, small city school districts would be eligible to have the same debt limit as other school districts enacted via legislative action.
The second proposal is a statewide constitutional amendment to extend the authority of counties, cities, towns, and villages to remove from their constitutional debt limits debt for the construction of sewage facilities. The State Constitution limits the debt counties, cities, towns, and villages can incur. This debt limit does not include debt for sewage treatment and disposal construction projects. This amendment extends the sewer debt exception for ten more years.
The State Constitution limits the debt counties, cities, towns and villages can incur. This debt limit does not include debt for sewage treatment and disposal construction projects. The sewer debt exception expires on January 1, 2024. This amendment extends the sewer debt exception for ten more years until January 1, 2034.
The proposed amendment does this by changing section 5 of article 8 of the State Constitution.