The new school year has started, and it’s just about time for communities in Texas to vote on this year’s bond election requests.
Those in the know who work for school districts know how important and challenging it is to approve those bonds. Bond passage means you can spend more on maintenance, repairs, and building new facilities. It results in kids and families getting a better education and more opportunities to learn, play sports, and more.
But there’s always a chance that the bond election won’t go your way. Here are a few key points to keep on top of mind while you’re working to secure the funds you need.
Communication is Key
Communicating your plans and upgrades for your school district is essential to a successful bond election campaign.
Every school district is hoping to secure funding for services, projects, and facilities that are desperately needed by the kids and families they serve. But if you can’t communicate that effectively to the electorate, they might not understand why you need the funding you’re requesting, and they might vote against your requests.
Focus On the Benefits
When you’re on the planning end of a school bond election, you know precisely why you need the funding you’re requesting in detail, but the families who attend those schools might not understand your thinking in quite as much detail. After all, you’ve probably spent many months working on your bond election budget and the various projects, and your team has talked every detail through many times over.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the bond election voters when you’re putting together your messaging.
Start by collecting facts, figures, and data about what you’re hoping to fund, how many kids and families will benefit from the projects, and how it will add value to your school district. Focus on the direct benefits to students who attend the schools in the district, too – abstract numbers don’t get people invested, but if you can share the real-world impacts, you have a much better chance of getting the message across.
Cast a Wide Net
Honest, in-person discussions about your bond election wish list before the election happens are a great way to get parents and families invested in the projects you’re hoping to fund. Still, while they’re efficient, not every family can attend.
Casting a wider net in your bond election communications, using flyers and direct mail, or even social media, email, and websites is a great way to reach more people in the community, and the more people you can get to care about your bond election goals, the better you’re likely to do.
Treat the run-up to your bond election as a marketing campaign and focus on personally connecting with as many people as possible.
Share Long Term Plans
Very often, the funding you want in this bond election will go towards building the foundation for future plans and projects. If you have multi-phase projects on your planning agenda, communicate those phases and long-term plans to the parents and families in your school district, too.
It’s plausible the projects you hope to complete in the first part of your plan are not as exciting as you hope they are, but they might be essential to long-term plans that you might be planning for next year or even the year after that.
If you have multi-phase projects and a multi-year plan for your school district, communicate those in your pre-election marketing. The only way the families in your school district will understand your big picture is if you share it with them.
Include Things Families Want Most
The last tip we have for you to get the best possible result in the bond election is to make sure you include things that families in your school district want most.
Maintaining school buildings and facilities takes a lot of time, money, and effort, and there will always be a big chunk of your planning about what most families consider less than exciting.
A successful bond election approach is always to ask the families in your district what they want most and include some of those wish list items in your planning. A little reward makes it worthwhile for families to support your requests.
Always Planning for Bond Election Season
The last thing we wanted to mention as you approach bond election season is something you probably already know, and that is that even though bond elections only happen once or twice a year, you and your team should be working all year round to define the best possible plans for the coming year, and the best possible uses of the funding you’re asking for.
Owner Insite has several tools that can help school districts manage projects better, and special tools like Facility Insite are designed to make managing and planning for schools easier, more collaborative, and more secure. Additionally, our tools are built so that you can effectively communicate with board members and constituents. So, if your plans for next year include improving your capital expenditure planning, feel free to reach out, and we’ll show you how it works.
Connect with us at; 888-336-3393 or email us at, email@example.com