2015 Election Dates and Deadlines

School officials are reminded that while school board elec­tions were moved to the even-year November election date be­ginning in 2012, current law permits school districts to place millage and bond propositions on the ballot at the four regular election dates each year (in February, May, August, and Novem­ber), as well as certain petition initiative election dates.

The 2015 regular election dates for millage or bond proposals are as follows:

February 24, 2015
May 5, 2015
August 4, 2015
November 3, 2015

The filing deadline for the February 24, 2015 elec­tion date is fast approaching. Current Michigan election law requires that a certified copy of the school board resolution approving ballot lan­guage for millage or bond propositions be filed with the election coordinator at least 84 days before the election date. For the Feb­ruary 2015 election date, that filing deadline is Tuesday, December 2, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. If your school district is consider­ing a millage or bond proposal for next February, please contact your election attorney at Thrun Law Firm as soon as possible.

Recent changes to the School Loan Revolving Fund make 2015 bond elections particularly noteworthy. As you may know, the 2012 amendments to the School Bond Qualification, Approval and Loan Act imposed a $1.8 billion cap on state loans to school dis­tricts from the School Loan Revolving Fund (the “Fund”). Once the $1.8 billion cap is reached, the State Treasurer will not grant preliminary qualification for new voted bond issues under the program to school districts that anticipate borrowing from the Fund for the new bond issue. School districts will, however, still be able to “qualify” new bonds and receive the state’s credit rating even after the cap is reached if the applying school district does not project a borrowing from the Fund for the new bond issue. (For more information about qualifying bonds under the program that do not require a loan, see the October 31, 2013 edition of School Law Notes.)

While previously it had been expected to occur in 2014, the cap has not yet been reached.  Current projections indicate that the cap may be reached as soon as May 2015. If this occurs, the August 2015 election date would be the last election date available to school districts that anticipate borrowing from the Fund for new bond issues until the cap expires in 2016 or until outstanding loans drop below the $1.8 billion threshold. Further, Senate Bill 1077, which is currently in committee, proposes to remove the cap's expiration date.

Given the available election dates in 2015 (see above) and the current projections about when the Fund cap will be reached, we recommend that school officials give serious consideration to the timing of millage and bond elections. It is also recommended that school officials prepare for elections and contact election counsel well in advance of the filing dead­line. If you have questions about voted bonds or millages, please contact the Thrun Law Firm attorney who assists your school district with finance or elec­tion matters.