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Holding an effective bond election
 

Holding an effective bond election

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This session walks participants through steps that will assist their district in holding an effective bond election. How do you identify the needs and resulting projects of your district? Does your ...

This session walks participants through steps that will assist their district in holding an effective bond election. How do you identify the needs and resulting projects of your district? Does your district understand the current local political landscape? What is the financial impact of the election to your district? How does your district create a strategic election campaign? Participants receive information on these important questions and other strategies to use when holding a bond election.

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Holding an effective bond election Holding an effective bond election Presentation Transcript

  • Holding an Effective Bond Election
  • The charts below detail the relationship between May and November pass/fail election results since 2006:
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 2
  • The charts below detail the relationship between May and November election amount ($) results since 2006:
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 3
  • November 2010 Results
    41 elections
    70% passed
  • When do you consider holding a bond election?
    Months
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 4
  • Important steps of calling a bond election:
    Indentifying district needs and projects.
    Identifying the financial impact.
    Understanding the district’s responsibility
    Creating a strategic election campaign.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 5
  • Indentifying district needs and projects:
    Identifying the needs of the district is critical to a bond election’s success.
    Projects that are too simplistic might not breed confidence for a well thought out plan.
    Specialized projects can sometimes create animosity or generate a positive, motivated electorate.
    Are improvements to meet needs spread throughout your district?
    Projects that are too costly and overreaching can cause mistrust.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 6
  • Who assesses your district’s needs?
    Staff
    Architect
    Specialized consultant
    Community committee
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 7
  • What are the assessment criteria?
    School Site
    Structural and Mechanical
    Maintainability
    School Safety and Security
    Site Safety
    Building Safety
    Emergency Safety
    Educational Adequacy
    Academic Learning Space
    Specialized Learning Space
    Support Space
    Environment for Education
    Specialized district needs/wants
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 8
  • Well researched cost estimates
    It is important to have a qualified construction team to assist.
    Is there room for cost overruns?
    Are you anticipating future competitive factors from neighboring projects?
    Will you have someone looking out for your district’s best interests on proposed projects when the bond election is successful?
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 9
  • Identifying the financial impact:
    What are the costs?
    Bond elections typically mean tax increases, so accurate projections and achievable plans are critical for developing trust for the bond election.
    State formulas for Texas school district finance are some of the most complex state funding programs in the nation.
    Having a competent financial team is critical for achieving your District’s goals and communicating effectively with your voters.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 10
  • Accurate tax impact projections
    What are the chief variables that will impact the tax rate?
    Where do other Districts sometimes get tripped up?
    Are there innovative or cost saving financing options?
    How do I know I have the right team?
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 11
  • Market conditions and their effects on tax rates
    An ISDs tax rate is based on several factors, with the two most prominent factors being:
    Assessed Valuation (“AV”) within the district
    Borrowing amounts and costs
    The table below details the general effect on a district’s tax rate based on various circumstances
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 13
  • For example, assuming that a district recently issued $50 million of bonds with level debt service over 30 years, the District’s tax rate could be expected to increase by approximately $0.33 per $100 (at current market rates) of Assessed Valuation.1
    Depending on certain assumptions (see below), the table below details the effect on the tax rate:
    1 Assumes total assessed valuation of $1 billion.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 14
  • Texas ISD bond election results vs macroeconomic market conditions:
    During the recession of the past couple years, ISDs have seen the success rate of bond elections decline from a high of 85% in May 2007 to 60% in May 2010
    The number of elections has also decreased from a high in 2007 of 168 separate bond elections to only 81 elections in 2009
    The following chart details the success rate for Texas ISDs since 2006 as compared with the unemployment rate and GDP growth rate
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 15
  • Holding an Effective Bond Election 17
  • Communicating with Voters
    Ballot Language
  • How do you describe the projects?
    Broad Language
    “THE ISSUANCE OF $10,000,000 OF SCHOOL BONDS . . . AND LEVYING THE TAX IN PAYMENT OF SUCH BONDS”
  • How do you describe the projects?
    Specific Language
    “FOR A PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL CAREER HIGH SCHOOL”
    “TO RENOVATE, IMPROVE AND EQUIP TWELVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUILDINGS AND TWO MIDDLE SCHOOL BUILDINGS”
  • Communicating with Voters
    Political Advertising
  • Texas Election Code § 255.003Unlawful Use of Public Funds for Political Advertising
    An officer or employee of a political subdivision may not knowingly spend or authorize the spending of public funds for political advertising.
    Subsection (a) does not apply to a communication that factually describes the purposes of a measure if the communication does not advocate passage or defeat of the measure.
    A person who violates Subsection (a) commits an offense. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • “Political Advertising”
    A communication that supports or opposes a measure and that:
    in return for consideration, is published in a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical or is broadcast by radio or television; or
    (B) appears in a pamphlet, circular, flier, sign, internet website or similar form of written communication.
  • Educate (Objectively Verifiable Facts Only)
    Student capacity
    Growth rates
    Age/condition of facilities
    Projects to be funded with bonds
    Cost of projects
    Tax rate effect
    Voting dates and polling places
  • Clear “Advocacy”
    A communication that “contains a clear request for the reader to support” the measure
    Vote for . . .
    Support . . .
    Defeat . . .
    Reject . . .
  • “Cross[ing] the line from a communication that is factual to a communication that advocates passage of the bonds”
    “Show that you care about education”
    “[C]itizens now have the opportunity to position the [District] for the 21st century”
    “Good schools are the foundation of a good community”
    “Put children first”
    Issuing bonds is the “best solution”
  • On the Border
    Studies showing how bond passage or failure will affect education mission
    Citizen committee recommendations
    Art/essay contests
    Voter registration drives
  • Common Sense Approach
    Know Your Community
    Educate, Don’t Advocate
    Don’t Stir People Up!
    Don’t Try This Without Bond Counsel!
  • Creating a strategic election campaign:
    How are you going to succeed?
    Implementing an effective bond election takes a lot of hard work and dedication to a well-thought out comprehensive plan.
    Success comes from understanding the obstacles and clearly communicating your needs to your voters and getting educated voters to the polls.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 23
  • Strategic campaign
    Clearly Identifiable Goals
    Are there several objectives or just one?
    Is everyone aware of the rules?
    Does each team member know their role?
    Who will be the quarterback?
    How will information be communicated?
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 24
  • Strategic campaign
    Professional Consultants
    Administrative Staff
    Community Leaders
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 25
  • Understanding the political landscape:
    Who are your voters?
    Identifying your voters and understanding their perspective is critical to producing a positive election result.
    There are a host of factors that can impact the minds of your voters and how they will perceive your communication and the needs of the district.
    Interviews/Surveys
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 20
  • Effective elections have common factors:
    Clearly identifying the needs.
    Trust of the community.
    Unified board member support.
    Good dynamic communication.
    Community leaders and grass roots support.
    Panel of experts helping with the election.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 26
  • What happens if you already called an election and it failed?
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 27
  • The bond election failed…Now What?
    Dealing with emotions and the fact that the needs remain
    Your district has been working feverishly for the last six months in preparation for the bond election and the bond fails.
    It is understandable that you are frustrated. However, the needs still exist.
    Understanding why a bond election failed can be critical and integral to the success of future bond elections.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 29
  • Factors leading to bond failure:
    Internal factors.
    External factors.
    Communication vehicles used (print, verbal, and media).
    Organized opposition.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 30
  • Understanding the internal factors:The perception “inside”
    Compile an internal sample of opinions from district staff and board members.
    Interviews and/or surveys will provide insight of the election results through district eyes.
    Data will be compiled to understand if the district’s internal perception of the loss aligns with those of the voters.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 31
  • Understanding the external factors:The perception “outside”
    Conduct interviews and/or surveys with a good cross-section of local residents to understand their perception of why the bond election failed.
    Interviews and data will be compared against the “inside” opinions and data to identify any variances between the “outside” and the “inside” perceptions.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 32
  • Evaluating the communication:print and media spots
    Review media used for promotional and informative purposes during failed bond election…clarity, accuracy, and strategic input
    Example information reviewed:
    Election ballot
    Informative brochure(s)
    Information produced by any PAC’s (political action committees)
    Any internet or other media presentations
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 36
  • Evaluating organized opposition:understanding bond opponents
    Review articles, editorials, and print ads that the opposition disseminated.
    Determine accuracy and impact on the election results.
    Meet with opponents and discuss ways to work together in the future.
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 37
  • School Bond Case Study(by Holt, Wendt, and Smith – 2006)
    2 failed bonds in late 1990s became 2 bonds passing in 2002 and 2003
    Data collected after bonds failed
    “Why did bonds fail?” theme:
    No trust in divided board
    Poor leadership
    No answers to questions
    Lack of Trust
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 34
  • School Bond Case Study
    Data collected after bonds passed
    “Keys to bonds passing” theme:
    Board and administration established diverse citizen task force
    Disseminated info that focused on kids and community
    Unanimous support of board
    Keeping school design simple
    Spending time getting “yes” voters out, not trying to change “no” voters’ minds
    Holding an Effective Bond Election 35
  • Questions?
    Rudy Segura,McCall, Parkhurst & Horton L.L.P. (512) 590-1950
    rsegura@mphlegal.com
    Jeff Clemmons, TASB:
    (800) 580-8272 extension 2220
    jeff.clemmons@tasb.org
    Trent Toon, First Public, Sub of TASB
    (800)558-8875
    Trent.toon@firstpublic.com
    Kara Winebright, First Public, Sub of TASB (800)558-8875
    kara.winebright@firstpublic.com