How to Pass a School Referendum With Video

How to Pass a School Referendum With Video

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When school districts consider asking taxpayers to pay for bonds, they often wonder how to effectively communicate issues surrounding the bonds and ultimately pass a school referendum vote. Maine Township High School District 207 is a school district located in the Chicago suburbs. About 6,400 students (grades 9-12) attend the school district’s three schools.

Like many school districts around the country, District 207 officials say they were faced with an aging infrastructure, outdated learning environments, and increasing safety risks, which all needed to be addressed. It had been nearly 45 years since the District last asked taxpayers to support updating its buildings. There were more than 50 projects across the District that were identified, estimated at a total cost of $240.7 million. The plan was to pay for about $45.7 million of the project from District reserves while a $195 million bond referendum would cover the rest.

District 207 officials developed a multi-layered approach to communicating the upcoming referendum to taxpayers; including (but not limited to) the District’s website, offering school tours, community presentations, news media interviews, social media posts, and video!

Seeing the proposed changes in video format would allow community members to get educated about the proposed changes and see how those changes would impact the students and their learning environments.

When we first met with the school district about their upcoming referendum vote, there was a matter of weeks for us to plan, produce, and edit the videos before the videos were scheduled to be distributed publicly. Since there were so many different facets regarding the referendum, we decided to produce a suite of videos focusing on different categories of interest: Infrastructure, Instructional Settings and Safety & Security. A fourth video provided an overview of the entire project.

The videos were distributed online through social media and the school district’s website and shown to various community groups during presentations. All videos were captioned for hearing impaired and foreign language viewers.

In the end, 61% of voters voted “yes” to the district’s $195 bond referendum, based on unofficial results. We are very excited that we could help District 207 with this important project. If your school district is considering a referendum vote and needs help producing educational video content for your community, contact us today!

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