There’s no doubt about it. School funding in the state of Washington has become increasingly complicated in the last few years. But whether you’re new to the state or you’ve lived here for years, you’ve probably asked yourself at one point, “What is this bond on the ballot for? Why is it different than the levy that was approved last year? What’s the difference?” Well, you’re not alone.
Many districts throughout Washington State face these same questions on a daily basis. In order to help districts, communications teams from across the state (also known as the School Communications Collaborative, or SCC), came together to create a toolkit for districts to use to better educate the local community.
The toolkit includes a video that helps explain some of the main differences between bonds and levies and how they help schools bridge the gap when state funding does not cover the actual costs to operate, construct and maintain a school district.
In addition to the video, the team put together a collection of social media posts and graphics that school districts can share, as needed. The hope is that by providing a common message on social media, communities across the state will begin to understand the differences in funding as well as the needs of their local districts.
Another component of the toolkit is a detailed set of frequently asked questions. These, in addition to the video, are housed on an interactive landing page that districts can direct their community to for additional information.
Although the toolkit was just launched, it’s already receiving great feedback. “Excellent work by all involved!” said Northwest Educational Service District 189 Superintendent Larry Francois. “I know this will be appreciated by districts, particularly those facing levy and bond elections next February and April.”
This state-wide effort is not the first of its kind. Last year, ESD 112, in partnership with Puget Sound ESD, created the New School Funding Model Campaign for districts to use state-wide. This campaign received a perfect score resulting in a Best in Category award at the Washington School Public Relations Association’s (WSPRA) awards program. It also received a Golden Achievement Award from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA).
By partnering together, ESDs are helping districts pool their resources to maximize education dollars and realize cost savings across Washington. Learn more about the SCC and how it can help your district succeed.