Date of Award
Master of Corporate Communications
In 1990 voters in the Ritenour School District approved the first of several bond issues that provided for the renovation of district facilities. Following approval of the bond issues, the district success fully passed a Proposition C Rollback Waiver, a type of tax increase only found in Missouri.
Finding the additional funds to effectively manage today's schools is a national concern . Ritenour School Di strict leaders, like so many other public school officials throughout the United States, sought the financial assistance of their community by conducting tax levy and bond issue elections.
Like most successful political campaigns, school referendums require solid public relations principles - research, analysis, communication and evaluation. However, most school elections are actually "won" long before the tax increase or the bond proposal is placed on the ballot. A school district that consistently receives voter approval will also have an on-going commitment to honest, open communication with its public. This effective public relations program continually works to inform the community's residents and plays an important role in gaining the trust of those who live and work within the district.
This thesis studies public relations practices and analyzes the political strategies, techniques and implementation of effective school district tax levy and bond issue elections. The study specifically studies the role public relations and it's role before, during and after an election conducted by a school district. Documented research and personal interviews provide the basis for the study.
While every campaign is different, certain components are found in almost every successful election. This study discusses the planning, the research, the strategies, regulations and challenges of an educational election. Such items as the importance of an existing public relations program, survey techniques, analysis of data, forming political strategies, forming communication/public relations strategies and committee member and school district personnel roles are also reviewed.
The study concludes with the review of case studies of two elections. one bond issue and one tax rate increase. which demonstrate the effectiveness of solid public relations practice. when applied to educational political campaigns.
Gibson, Cindy L., "Public Relations and Politics: A Winning Combination For Public School Bond Issues and Tax Referendums" (2000). Theses. 702.
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