Determining when to run a capital facility bond and how to approach your community are difficult challenges for school districts. How do you begin? Here are some simple questions to consider before sharing the cost of a capital facilities bond with your community and how much money the bond will take out of their pockets in cost-per-thousand assessed valuations.
Who has the time?
Who has time in your organization to take on the daunting tasks of preparing, planning, communicating and directing the bond efforts? More often than not, superintendents are called upon to plan and implement every aspect of bond proposals. The time requirements for bringing a bond proposal to fruition from inception can range from daunting to downright overwhelming. Superintendent responsibilities for the daily operations of the school district and leading an educational system are difficult enough without piling on the myriad of tasks involved in planning and executing bond measures.
What capital facility improvements are included in your district’s bond proposal?
Who determines the elements of the bond proposal and what research is used to determine those elements? Why are the district’s current facilities not meeting the needs of the student, staff, and community? Many times, generic reasons such as need to build capacity, aged facilities, and increased student enrollment are communicated to the community at large as justification for the bond measure. Even though those reasons may be legitimate, the need to provide accurate detailed and specific information to an informed community is of paramount importance and can make the difference between passing or failing a bond measure.
What will your community really support?
Find out what your community will support or, hopefully, embrace. Guessing or falling back on past experiences can be fatal for a bond measure. Sometimes, the elements and the need for a school bond have changed since your district’s last measure passed. You need to determine how your community sees the school system now by implementing a strong communication plan linking student learning with your learning environments.
Did you hear me?
Give your community an opportunity to participate by implementing two-way communications. “Listen to Learn” from your community. The ability to demonstrate that you genuinely care for hearing the good, bad and ugly from your community has lasting positive effects well before or beyond any bond proposal.
Once you have considered these simple questions, you can determine what your bond proposal should include and the right time to put the bond measure out to your community for vote. You will be surprised how these tactics will save you both money and time while investing in the future of your school district.
edTactics can help support your school district! We have a four-step process that will lead your school district from “Planning to Fruition.”
Here are just a few of the many things edTactics can do for your district:
- Design a campaign timeline identifying a month-to month tactical approach from now to election.
- Develop a six-component Comprehensive Capital Facilities Plan for your school district to help your district know where it currently stands and where it wants to go in the future.
- Conduct Key Stakeholder Interviews to provide an analysis of what capital facility improvements and other needs your community is likely to support.
- Provide professional consulting services that support school superintendents and community outreach.