Brian Dumas, CEO
The saying that “all politics is local” is never more true when it applies to our community school districts.
As we’re seeing nationally, debates – whether having to do with mask mandates, topics of a curriculum, or whether to raise taxes to pay for updates and additions – at the school board level are intense, and the traditional stakeholders – parents, students and teachers – are passionate about their beliefs.
So at a time when there is heated debate about our schools, how does a group achieve success when pushing for a referendum? Victory Enterprises has been involved in local referendums around the country, and here’s what we advise our clients to do:
Start Early. Getting an early jump on an issue or referendum will allow organizers maximum organization and flexibility on the components of the measure. A grassroots campaign needs all the time it can get to demonstrate the value of a referendum to a community.
Engage the Community. That means everyone – including opponents or possible opponents. Make sure to get honest feedback from the community, and incorporate those concerns into the campaign. It could be the difference between passage and failure. Fielding a public opinion survey is the single best way to effectively and scientifically understand the attitudes of the community.
Communicate the Benefits To Everyone. Make sure everyone in the community knows why an issue or referendum is good for them, not just teachers, students and parents. Business owners and seniors without school-aged children have a vote, and need to know why supporting a referendum is in their best interest, especially as successful passage typically means an increased tax burden.
Keep the Message Simple and Consistent. If you over-complicate the message about why a referendum is necessary, then you’ve likely already lost the vote. Communicate clear, poll-tested messages with concrete facts and figures and then repeat again and again.
If your community is faced with a referendum, or possibility of one, be sure to get in touch with me. Our team of proven experts can help you navigate the process and help you through to victory!