How to do organize an opposition to a school bond issue?

Momma_Bird_OHAugust 1, 2002

The school district where I live has proposed a school re-building plan that is upwards of $11M. At the same time, the district is classified as "Academic Emergency" by the state board of ed. While our school buildings are not the latest & gratest, they are safe and adequate. Many, many parents with whom I've spoken feel the board of ed & superintendant are trying to draw focus away from the failing academics by the flashy rebuilding plan. It came out this week that the 110 parent committee the super & board put together, and worked very hard for weeks, was completely ignored and that the final plan was already decided upon (in secret) before the parents committee had even met the first time. VERY SHADY dealings are going on here!

I would like to get some opposition organized since the bond issue will be going on the ballot in November. I have no idea where to start.

Any ideas?

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How about starting by writing letters to the newspaper, and encouraging others to do the same. Put some kind of contact info in the letters so people can get in touch with you. You could open up an email account just for that. You could start a listserv group at Yahoo groups for keeping in touch. Find out when city council and school board meetings are, and show up to say what you think.

Those are the free things you could do that I can think of. Mailings and flyers maybe you could do if you got enough interested people to help pay for it and do the work.

Also get in touch with the city elections office and find out if you can write the opposition statement in the voters pamphlet.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2002 at 3:12PM
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How did your own school board representative vote? If he/she happens to also be in opposition to this plan, start there! Tell the rep you are a concerned parent and want to know how you can help.

If they voted for it, plan B.
Find a rep who is opposed and start talking to that person.

Contact other parents who agree with you, lots of them, call all the local schools and ask how to contact the PTA president. Once you have their support, they can organize parents from their school. With this group of parents, ask to meet with the superintendent. We did this at our old district over an issue, he met with us, we gave him an earfull. And a school board member who supported our side of things came,too. It's harder to blow off a group of parents who want to meet with you than just one.

Who is the leader of this parent committee that got ignored? You need to speak with that person, too. They may already have a game plan, instead of starting another one, make theirs bigger. At the very least that person will have information you need.

That's what I got for now. I have a child in need being very vocal about it, go figure. Let me know what's going on. If I think of anything else, I'll get back to you later.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2002 at 4:04PM
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We went through an almost identical sitation in my town last spring. The school board spent TONS of money on the propoganda campaign. It was defeated.

One question that needs to be asked: How much will property taxes go up if this bond issue passes?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2002 at 12:21AM
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Thanks for the good input. The property taxes for a $100k house would go up $100/yr. As for school board respresentative, we don't have districts, all members are voted on by all parts of the city, so they are all "my" rep.

I'm on the PTA at my DS's school, and the pres. lives down the block. I'm going to work with her to try to have the PTA officially oppose the rebuilding plan.

Like Carlotta said, the schools are spreading a HUGE propoganda campaign on how we "need" new buildings. Funny, the buildings were adequate last year, and suddenly they "need" replaced NOW. Maybe it has to do with five years straight of "academic emergency" ratings by the state Board of Ed???? Take the focus away from the academics???

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2002 at 10:08AM
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