How utilizing a flexible planning framework can help you to successfully pass a school bond issue
The role of the school superintendent is more challenging than most people will ever understand. The hats you are required to wear as superintendent are not only numerous but of varying colors and styles.
As the leader of a district and the liaison between the board and the schools, you are required to form relationships at every level of every school as well as within your own office. You are required to oversee the everyday operations of transportation, curriculum, reports, policies, and finances. Then, should the need arise, which it invariably will, you will need to prepare a case for a school bond issue.
It is said that the first and most crucial step to passing a school bond issue is to develop a strong plan and form a strong committee that is dedicated to seeing the bond pass. While this is definitely true, there are steps that can be undertaken prior to even contemplating whether a bond issue is required.
When developing a campaign or lobbying specific groups, it is best to form a potent argument with supporting data to reinforce your case. Yes, it is great to repackage your requested gymnasium as a multi-purpose facility that will serve the entire community, but when it comes time to respond to questions as to why you are in need of a shiny new multi-purpose facility, the data you are able to impart will be key in convincing stakeholders and voters.
This data can be used in campaigns, phone calls, emails, on a website, in the media or when you address the public. If you possess robust and relevant data to back up your position, it strengthens and reinforces your case to every potential voter you encounter.
How do you collect this data?
Having all your planning in one place and ensuring it is being measured on and reported against correctly doesn’t just enable you to complete your planning requirements and keep a keen eye on all your district activities in one location. It also develops a database of information that can be drawn upon over many years for a diverse range of purposes.
To use the aforementioned multi-purpose gymnasium school bond issue as an example, if principals at each school have been instructed to annually measure and report against how much is being spent on existing gymnasium building maintenance, how many students could not undertake certain physical education activities due to a lack of facilities, and how physical education testing results have declined in correlation to the age of gymnasium facilities, this data would be on-hand and ready to use when the time arises. Obviously, the information you can collect is not limited to gymnasium issues.
Your foresight of upcoming needs can help you to prepare data surveys that can be generated within goals of school or master plans, which can be used as supporting data when the need arises. Not just for school bond issues, but for board meetings, parent group meetings and other stakeholder meetings within your sphere of influence. As well as this, historical data can be used to predict trends and help with budgeting and allocation, as well as preparing you for the artificial intelligence revolution which will need historical data in many forms to generate machine learning within the AI process.