Transforming Schools: A Roadmap to Success through Bond Initiatives
How McCownGordon can support your district through a bond
Public schools face many facility challenges that impact student learning, safety and wellbeing. Often times, school buildings are decades old and require frequent and sometimes costly repairs to maintain functionality. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are all critical to maintain a safe and comfortable environment, but many schools need better-functioning systems. If not properly maintained, the technology, lighting and acoustics can negatively impact student learning and health.
Districts typically use capital outlay to maintain these facilities, but eventually, the needs are more than these funds can support. In this instance, school districts consider a public bond to maintain their facilities, attract and retain quality teachers and enhance the community value.
The following is a roadmap to a successful bond program.
- Conduct needs assessment: While you likely have jotted down an informal list of issues needing addressed, conducting a thorough needs assessment formalizes the district’s specific needs. In this process, a comprehensive review of facilities, infrastructure and technology is conducted. McCownGordon also provides the most accurate and detailed cost estimates for the proposed projects and scopes of work to inform budget allocation. This “a la carte menu” or options with individual pricing allows the district to make informed decisions on what areas should be prioritized.
- Build a steering committee: A diverse steering committee includes parents, teachers, school administrators, local officials and community leaders—all working together to support the bond. This group assists the school board with determining how funds are invested and serves as a sounding board for what the broader community will support. McCownGordon conducts surveys to capture feedback from the community and evaluates the level of support needed for a successful bond campaign.
- Communicate benefits: An uninformed voter is typically a “no” vote. Therefore, districts must communicate their goals, scope and cost to voters through various platforms. McCownGordon has communication professionals who create presentations and materials explaining the proposed projects and impact on students, faculty, and the community. By engaging and having open conversations, voters will better understand your bond initiative.
Case Study: Rock Creek Schools
Rock Creek Schools experienced significant growth and needed its facilities to match. A steering committee was formed to prioritize needs and develop a recommendation to the Board of Education. McCownGordon supported the district in the development phase to provide construction expertise to the committee. With our extensive knowledge of the K-12 market, our team informed and educated the committee about the market and lessons learned,K-12 trends and cost and time-saving solutions to provide tremendous insight more than four months prior to the vote.
By actively listening to the concerns of the community, the committee and McCownGordon developed a project scope that addressed the communities’ concern within their allocated budget.
Bond support services included communication of challenges, explanation of proposed solutions and the financial implications to taxpayers. As a part of these bond support services, McCownGordon attended community meetings and published collateral/FAQ information sheets for the public to review.
The community voted yes to support the 30-million-dollar bond and was able to address facilty needs to respond to its growing student population.