NCEF Resource List: School Construction Bonds and Conducting Bond Campaigns
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Information on bond programs and bond campaigns to fund the construction of new and existing school buildings, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities.

References to Books and Other Media

Put it to the Voter: Issues in School Bond Referenda Adobe PDF
Bondo, Mark
(Institute for Public Service and Policy Research, 2012)
This paper discusses school bond referenda in South Carolina. First, it examines laws pertaining directly to school bonds and those that may impact school bond funding. Next, demographic factors and their effects on referenda are analyzed. Political aspects of referenda and their passage are reviewed. Lastly, possible strategies for passing referenda identified in previous research are examined. 9p

What Types of School Capital Projects are Voters Willing to Support?
Zimmer, Ron; Buddin, Richard; Jones, John; Liu, Na
(Public Budgeting and Finance, v31, n1, Mar 04, 2011)
In many states, investments in school capital must be approved by bond referenda. Consequently, voter preferences can directly impact the quality of school facilities and their infrastructure. Researchers have often analyzed the causal mechanisms of referendum passage, but they have not examined whether the type of capital project affects the outcome of the referendum itself. In this paper, we use data from the state of Michigan to examine whether voters are willing to provide more or less support for specific types of capital investments. We focus on the relationship between voter support for maintenance versus the construction of a new building or additions to existing buildings. Our analysis suggests there is a higher approval rate for maintenance of existing facilities than the construction of new school buildings or additions. [Authors' abstract] p37-55

The Value of School Facility Investments: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design.
Cellini, Stephanie; Ferreira, Fernando; Rothstein, Jesse
(The Quarterly Journal of Economics, v125 n1, Feb 2011)
Estimates the value of school facility investments using housing markets: standard models of local public goods imply that school districts should spend up to the point where marginal increases would have zero effect on local housing prices. The research design isolates exogenous variation in investments by comparing school districts where referenda on bond issues targeted to fund capital expenditures passed and failed by narrow margins. Results indicate that California school districts underinvest in school facilities: passing a referendum causes immediate, sizable increases in home prices, implying a willingness to pay on the part of marginal homebuyers of $1.50 or more for each $1 of capital spending. These effects do not appear to be driven by changes in the income or racial composition of homeowners, and the impact on test scores appears to explain only a small portion of the total housing price effect. [Ahuthors' abstract] p215-261

Clark County School District. 1998 Bond Accomplishment. A Report to the Community. Adobe PDF
(Clark County School District, 2010)
Details Nevada's Clark County School District's accomplishment from 1998 through 2010 in completing the construction of 101 new schools, delivering 11 replacement schools not included in the initial program, and completing more than $1.6 billion worth of school improvements. 8p

School Bond and Tax Elections in Michigan.
(, Jan 2010)
Describes Michigan's laws affecting school finance, their six steps of the bond procedure, their conduct of the bond election, and a list of recent Michigan bond elections.

Checklists and Step-By-Step Instructions for Successful School Bond Elections, in New Mexico.
Clemmons, Al; Ives, Patricia; Sprick, Bill; Valdez, John; Williams, Mark
(New Mexico Public School Facilities Authority, Santa Fe , 2010)
Advises New Mexico school district leaders of all the necessary steps, complexities,. and details that lead to a successful bond election, with a primary focus on maximizing community support, and hence maximizing the probability of success not only for one election, but for ongoing elections over the long term. The authors provide checklists and short summaries to keep the manual as short and as easy to use as possible. A critical goal is to provide the information needed to keep the district in full compliance with the rules, laws and statutes that govern bond elections in New Mexico, while minimizing the need to wade through lengthy source documents. Case studies and examples taken from New Mexico school districts are included. 73p.

Planning a School Construction Referendum: A Case Study of a Small Rural School District in Southern New Jersey.
Russo, Christopher
(UMI Proquest, Ann Arbor, MI, 2010)
Narrate the author's experience on a school planning task force developed in response to a failed bond referendum. The public demanded more say in the future planning for the community's schools. The board of education solicited participation of community members for the project. A matrix representing all segments of the community was created. As people submitted letters of interest the matrix was filled. Once it was filled the project began. The board of education and superintendent needed to be as far away from this project as possible. The committee members had to have the ability to speak freely without the board's influence. This writer, the business administrator, along with a professional facilitator was chosen to facilitate this committee. The case study that follows documents this task force's journey and the resulting school referendum. As a result of the task force process the community members had their say in shaping the future of their school facilities and the district gained allies of what used to be their most outspoken critics. [author's abstract] 271

The Value of School Facilities: Evidence from a Dynamic Regression Discontinuity Design.
(National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA , Dec 2008)
Analyzes the impact of voter-approved school bond issues on school district balance sheets, local housing prices, and student achievement. The paper uses California's system of school finance to obtain clean identification of bonds' causal effects, comparing districts in which school bond referenda passed or failed by narrow margins. The housing market estimates indicate that California school districts under-invest in school facilities. These effects do not appear to be driven by changes in the income or racial composition of homeowners, and the school bond impact on test scores cannot explain more than a small portion of the total housing price effect. The estimates indicate that parents value improvements in other dimensions of school output (e.g., safety) that may be not captured by test scores. 49p.

Proposed November 4, 2008, Bond Resolution. Adobe PDF
(Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education , Jul 31, 2008)
This Los Angeles Unified School District bond proposal also includes correspondence which describes typical repairs and upgrades planned for the schools. These efforts largely address technology infrastructure, accommodation of current educational programming, and "green" strategies. 144p.

Community Colleges: How Can an Effective Facilities Bond Program Be Managed? Adobe PDF
Graham, Douglas
(Stratus-Heery, Los Angeles, CA , 2008)
Explains why so many community college construction bids are over the budget, and suggests remedies. These include precisely differentiating needs from wants, prioritizing projects, ensuring that a facility or program is not already available within the community, assessing how space is currently being, and establishing campus-wide space standards to assure interoperability. Advice on establishing a timeline, working within the budget, and getting the best result for money spent is also included. 6p.

Program Progress Update.[Cleveland] Adobe PDF
(Bond Accountability Commission, Cleveland Board of Education, OH , Aug 13, 2007)
Reviews the behind schedule state of school construction under Cleveland's current bond issue. Efforts to catch up include elimination of some project from the original program. A short glossary of construction management terms is followed by reports for each of nine segments of the master plan. Good budget performance in some segments will offset poor performance in others. 14p.

Grossmont Union High School District: Capital Construction Proposition H Bond Program Performance Review. Adobe PDF
(Grossmont Union High School District, La Mesa, CA , Jul 31, 2007)
Offers a detailed review of the district's bond program, citing its overall success and making suggestions for improvement. Sections cover progress to date, design team costs, construction management services, analyses of two projects, labor compliance program, and construction cost escalation. 49p.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD 2007 Bond Steering Committee Recommendation to the Board of Trustees: Executive Summary. Adobe PDF
(Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, TX , Jun 28, 2007)
Presents the data supporting the Committee's bond recommendation. This data was derived from enrollment figures, residential development, input from school staff, facilities review, the state's technology plans, comparable data from other school districts, industry forecasts, financial and tax information, and community input. 44p.

Bond 2007 [Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Texas]
(Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, Houston, Texas, Jan 2007)
Excellent presentation of issues related to passing a $807 million bond referendum in Houston, Texas. Includes links to "Did you Know? Facts; FAQ; Enrollment Projections; School Construction Report; Campus Comparisons by District; Strategies for Cost Savings; History of the Tax Rate; Tax Bill Comparisons; Voting Locations; School Capacities; Bond Debt per Pupil; New Home Trends; 20+ Year Old Schools; Bond Presentation; and Bond Podcast.

California School Finance System: Facilities Funding.
(California School Finance, 2007)
For the most part, funding for the construction and repair of California's school facilities is separate from funding for operations. The bulk of capital costs are paid for through public bonds. This describes the major sources of facility funds: general obligations bonds; developer fees; facility districts; maintenance funding; and obligations under the Williams settlement.

Current California Facilities Funding.
(California School Finance, 2007)
California voters have approved a number of statewide and local bond measures to help build and maintain school facilities. However, the state’s Office of Public School Construction (OPSC) projects a continuing need for more funds. This describes state bond proceeds, local general obligation bond results, facility district bonds that have passed, and projected needs for facilities funding.

Marshall Public Schools Facilities Bond Campaign [Michigan].
(Marshall Public Schools Facilities Bond Campaign Citizens Committee, Marshall, MI. , 2007)
Information on What will the bond accomplish?; How much will the bond issue cost?; What are we voting for?; Why now?; When do I vote?; Where do I vote?; Where do I get more information?; How do I donate to the campaign?; and Who is endorsing the Bond?

School Construction Bond Citizen's Oversight Committee
(Los Angeles Unified School District, 2007)
The mission of this oversight committee is to oversee the expenditure of money for the construction, repair, and modernization of schools by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The Oversight Committee communicates its finding to the Board and the public in order to ensure that school bond funds are invested as the voters intended and that projects are completed wisely and efficiently.

Election Success: Proven Strategies for Public Finance Campaign.
Campbell, Gay; Magmer, Jeanne
(National School Public Relations Association, 2007)
Shows how to use research and strategies to win elections. Includes sample campaign letters, flyers, scripts, PowerPoint presentations, checklists. Covers the following topics: vital topics: identifying research; using research to create strategy; organizing tactics and materials; setting timelines and deadlines; determining the volunteers you need; creating campaign messages; role of school staff; board meeting do’s and don’ts; proactively dealing with organized opposition; getting the right messages to the right people, and more. 300p.

Guidelines for Program for the Issuance of General Obligation Bonds by Missouri School Districts. Adobe PDF
(Missouri State Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jefferson City, MO , Jul 12, 2006)
This program provides credit enhancement and helps Missouri school districts in need of educational facilities achieve a low borrowing cost and other favorable borrowing terms. This report presents: program considerations (basic program requirements and program credit considerations); certain considerations only as to pool financings; and certain considerations only as to conventional bond financings. Four attachments include: the application for involvement in the Authority Program regarding the issuance of school district bonds; a direct deposit agreement; an operations procedures memorandum; and a termination of direct deposit agreement. 22p.

Factors Influencing the Successful Passage of a School Bond Referendum as Identified by Selected Voters in Navasota Independent School District in Texas. Adobe PDF
Faltys, David Jerome
(Dissertation, Texas A&M University, May 2006)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors influencing the successful passage of a school bond referendum and to examine pre- and post-strategies of the failed September 11, 2004, referendum and identify those factors that influenced the positive referendum on December 11, 2004. Surveys were sent to 260 registered voters. The results of the investigation showed that trust in the administration and follow-through in previous bond referenda played a significant role in determining the negative outcome of the first bond referendum. In the second bond referendum, detailed information on bond plans, individual campus activities promoting needs for the passage of the bond referendum, opportunity to vote on more than one proposition, and information on the cost of the tax increase for the average home in NISD were instrumental in the positive outcome of that referendum. 146p.

Overcoming Negative Sentiment in Public School Bond Elections: An Analysis of Three Case Studies.
Hickey, Wesley
(National Council of Professors of Educational Administration. Connexions Module: m13636., May 2006)
School districts find that success in bond elections is important to continued growth and development of schools. However, many districts find difficulty in developing the stakeholder support required to obtain a passing margin on bond referenda. In addition, research suggests that districts with prior bond election failures are more likely to incur future defeat in attempting bond passage. The purpose of this article is to analyze qualitatively three school districts that achieved bond election success after a prior failure. The results suggest that obtaining the support of teachers, listening and communicating to all stakeholders, and consistently building a foundation of trust to help in overcoming the negative sentiment. These results provide educational administration programs data regarding the importance of relationships in overcoming negative sentiment in bond elections. [Author's abstract] 10p.

Capital Financing For Private & Independent Schools. Adobe PDF
(Wye River Group, Annapolis, MD, Feb 20, 2005)
This paper is a primer for school boards and management. It provides a basic overview of the key issues, considerations and options associated with the use of debt by private schools to address facility financing needs. In addition, for a school which has decided to pursue debt financing, it provides basic guidelines for the choice of debt modality and structure depending on that school's finances, type and amount of financing sought and the financial environment at the time of the planned borrowing. The paper discusses tax-exempt and taxable debt, bank loans, publicly-offered and privately placed bond issues and the use of derivative product (interest rate swaps, caps, etc.) in school financings. 34p.

School Improvement Bond Campaign [Parsons District Schools, Kansas]
(Parsons District Schools, Parson, Kansas, 2005)
Includes links to information on the proposed improvements, an educational facilities slideshow, pamphlet of facts, blueprints, architectural drawings, aerial photos of campus, and renovation updates.

Complete Bond Election Information for the 2004 Bond Program [Austin School District, Texas]
(Austin Independent School District, Texas, Sep 2004)
Includes Bond Program Overview; FAQs; Proposition Summary; Official Ballot; Early Voting Schedule & Locations; Bond Program Development; Instructional Focus of Educational Specifications; Financial Assumptions; and Scope of Work for Individual Facilities. 72p.

School Bond Guide.
(Kansas State Department of Education, Topeka, KA, 2004)
The purpose of this booklet is to serve as a guide to the Kansas statutes relating to the issuance of school bonds and the construction of school buildings. Statutory citations are provided. Samples of forms that may be used to develop a school bond program are included. 46p.

How Better Schools Build Better Communities. Adobe PDF
Moore, Deborah
(Peter Li,Inc., Dayton, OH , 2004)
Cites statistics showing how good schools positively affect a community's standard of living, property values, and crime rate and how businesses are attracted to good schools when selecting locations. This pamphlet is intended for use in promoting passage of school bond issues. 16p.

ABC's of School Funding. [Qualified Public Education Facility Bonds] Adobe PDF
Skinder, Karen
(U.S.Internal Revenue Service, Washington, DC , 2003)
Qualified Public Education Facility Bonds (QPEFs) are a potential funding mechanism for both charters and public schools. QPEFs are a type of exempt facility bond created under section 422 of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. QPEFs allows state or federal agencies to enter into a public-private partnership with a for-profit organization, under which the for-profit agrees to construct, rehabilitate, refurbish or equip a public school facility. The bond proceeds are loaned to a private, for-profit corporation (developer) who owns the school facility and leases it to a public school. At the end of the lease term, ownership of the school facility is transferred to the public school for no additional consideration. This information packet includes; 1) IRS technical information on QPEFs; 2) a reprint of the Heritage Foundation report "How Public-Private Partnerships Can Facilitate Public School Construction" by Ronald Utt, and 3) IRS Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues. 30p.

Early Returns: Tax Credit Bonds and School Construction. Adobe PDF
Mead, Sara
(Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, DC , Sep 2002)
A small federal program piloting tax credit bonds to support school construction, the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB), has existed since 1997--providing evidence of how tax credit bonds could work. This paper analyzes the results of QZABs to date. The report concludes that, in the absence of more substantial federal assistance, QZABs play an important role in helping needy districts build and maintain school facilities, even though they are not the most effective long-term solution to the problem. The report recommends that the QZAB program, with some modifications, be continued while encouraging Congress to enact a more robust, durable school construction program focused on flexible and accessible initiatives. For example, state infrastructure banks, a promising remedy to the core problem of capital access for public schools, should be explored to replace current tax credit bond programs. 10p.

Perceptions of Successful Strategies and Passage of School Bond Issues. Adobe PDF
Crader, Allan; Holloway, Ken; Stauffacher, Alan
(American Education Finance Association , Mar 2002)
This study examined strategies that could assist public school administrators and school boards with the passage of bond issues. It specifically looked at such issues as the time of year that an issue was presented to voters, the nexus between community relations and successful passage, and leadership structure of bond campaigns. A survey instrument was developed and sent to 100 school districts in Missouri that had sought a bond issue. The results revealed little correlation between the researched aspects and success; while most superintendents readily indicate that they have a successful technique, the process may in fact involve only luck. The study calls for additional research. 7p.

The Impact of Bond Rating Related Decisions for School Districts: A Multistage Bond Rating Model. Adobe PDF
Harris, Mary H.; Munley, Vincent G.
(Paper presented at the American Education Finance Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM , Mar 2002)
Asserting that school district officials facing the need of extensive capital expenditures must analyze all sources of funding, this paper focuses on the predominant local funding mechanism of the school district bond issue. It presents a bond rating model with three separate stages that relate to the different choices facing a school district official throughout the bond rating process. The choices are whether to have a bond rated (first stage) and whether to insure the bond (second stage). The final stage estimates the rating category. An empirical analysis of the model using data for 148 bond issues by districts from 10 different states during the period from July 1, 1993 through June 30, 1994 indicated that it is mainly the par value of the bond issue and not the credit quality that is the decisive factor in having a bond rated. Rural district's local marketing strategy also contributes to this decision. However, the findings for stages two and three do depend on the economic, demographic, and financial health of the school districts. 26p.

Community Guide to Understanding the School Budget. Adobe PDF
(Charlotte Advocates for Public Education, Charlotte, NC, 2002)
This guide introduces the community to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools budget and explains how it works. The guide is for parents, voters, taxpayers, residents, and students. The guide describes the two main types of school funding, operating and capital. It looks at where the money comes from; explains the various ways operations money is spent on staff, transportation, maintenance, food service, and special programs; tells how bond money is being used for new construction, renovation, upkeep, technology, and other projects; looks at what the budget buys; and enumerates ways to take action. Includes resources for more information. 32p.

The Winning School Bond: A Citizen's Guide to a Successful School Bond Campaign.
Conrod, Cheryl M.
(Scarecrow Press, Lanham, MD , 2002)
This is a step-by-step guide on organizing an advocacy group to support a school bond initiative. This covers all aspects of the campaign from what to do before one organizes a committee through election day. Included are a campaign calendar; sample letters to the editor; publicity materials for newspaper, radio, and TV promotions; and campaign literature. 195p.

School Bond Success: A Strategy for Building America's Schools.
Holt, Carleton R.
(Scarecrow Education, Lanham, MD , 2002)
Advises on strategies for resolving school bond issues and practical information on specific activities for bond campaigns. Chapters provide the case for the need; essentials in successful bond campaign strategies; and step-by-step instructions for the phases of pre-planning, project development, marketing, bond campaign, and follow up. Also covered are issues of concern to volunteers and others involved in conducting bond campaigns, including conducting surveys, dealing with conflict, and writing proposals and campaign materials. 230p.

City School District of Albany Facilities Plan.
(Albany City School District, NY, 2001)
The Albany, New York, Board of Education has developed a facilities improvement plan for the Albany City Schools. This document provides detailed information about the plan, its process, vision, funding, timing, voting information, and frequently asked questions.

Fixing Our Schools Now! Qualified Zone Academy Bonds: A New Approach to Financing School Renovation and Repair. Adobe PDF
Riley, Richard W.; Frost, Susan ; Brennan-Gac, Patricia
(U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC , Apr 2000)
This booklet examines the Federal government's Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) system for helping school districts carry out needed school renovations and repairs, discusses why QZABs are good ideas for school districts, highlights eligibility criteria, and provides basic funding information along with state allocations for 1998 through 2000. A school deputy superintendent and a financier provide their perspectives on using QZABs, followed by profiles of QZAB programs to illustrate how school around the country are utilizing QZAB funds. Final sections list state contacts where information related to QZAB issues can be found; a list of cities, counties, or other areas that contain Empowerment Zones or Enterprise Communities; and responses to frequently asked questions. 69p.

Annual Bond Referenda Survey: 1999. Revised. Adobe PDF
(New Jersey School Boards Association , Feb 23, 2000)
A 1999 annual school construction survey for New Jersey reveals that the state's voters approved 71.3 percent of the school construction elections, more than the previous year s approval rate of 60 percent. Construction costs also influenced regional approval rates which varied from 59.5 percent in the north to 89.3 percent in the south. Despite heavier approval rates, gaining voter approval for major construction was still difficult: while 70 percent of all construction plans were approved, only 56.3 percent called for new school buildings. Nearly one-third of the referenda on the 1999 ballot represented second, third, and fourth attempts at passage, and despite changes to increase the likelihood of passage, nearly 30 percent were still rejected by voters. Lower-cost proposals, usually focusing on repairs and facility upgrading, were approved more readily than proposals calling for additions or new construction. Statistical results from the survey are provided. 28p.

Bond Funding. [California]
(New Schools Better Neighborhoods, Los Angeles, CA, 2000)
The State of California is spending $9.2 billion in state school bond funds to modernize and build new schools to begin addressing an estimated $40 billion in statewide school infrastructure needs. At the same time, billions of dollars have been authorized by the voters for investment in parks, libraries, and local school bonds throughout the state. Nevertheless, urban school districts continue to have difficulty accessing the necessary resources to build new schools. Many districts have been unable to meet the 2/3 majority voter approval requirement for passage of local school bonds. Meanwhile, state school construction funds are based on a "first come, first served" allocation system in which those school districts who submit their applications first - regardless of need - receive priority. This provides an insight to various efforts to provide greater accessibility to bond funding.

Local Bond Elections in California: Some Vital Statistics. EdSource Factsheet Adobe PDF
(EdSource, Inc., Palo Alto, CA, Jan 2000)
This report examines the fate of general obligation (G.O.) bond measures in California from 1986 to 1999. For the entire 13-year period, the passage rate for local G.O. bonds averaged 54 percent. However, this average masks some dramatic variations depending on when the election was held, the district holding the election, and the area of California in which it was located. In 1990, California's school-facility problems were apparent, but a serious recession in the early 1990s had a dampening effect both on local district's willingness to go to voters for G.O. bonds and voters' willingness to approve them. Although the success of bond elections has varied by district type and size, in general, small elementary districts have done better at the polls and received approval for substantially more funding for facilities on a per-pupil basis. As a whole, elementary districts have been more successful at securing voter approval than unified districts and high-school districts. However, when it comes to amount per pupil, high-school districts received more money, reflecting, in part, the higher cost of high-school facilities. Furthermore, bond-election passage rates differed by county and region, and the causes behind success or failure remain open to question.

The Majority Rule Act. EdSource Election Brief: Proposition 26 Adobe PDF
(EdSource, Inc., Palo Alto, CA, Jan 2000)
This article summarizes "The Majority Rule Act for Smaller Classes, Safer Schools and Financial Accountability" (Proposition 26). The Majority Rule Act deals with the percentage vote that a school district, county office of education, or community college needs in an election to authorize local general-obligation bonds for school construction. It also provides for funding for classrooms in charter schools. Current law in California requires a two-thirds vote to approve local bonded indebtedness. The report details the major arguments for and against this policy and discusses how schools currently have two major sources of funds for facilities: local general-obligation bonds authorized by two-thirds of the voters in a school district or state general-obligation bonds authorized by a majority of all state voters. It describes how local general-obligation bonds are used for school buildings and how state bonds supplement local money. It details the need for new or renovated facilities, specifying how the majority of the schools in the state are more than 30 years old. Counted among proponents for the measure are major education organizations, charter-school advocates, and business groups. Opponents include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association. A synopsis of the potential financial impact of Proposition 26 is provided.

Gaining Rural Community Support for a Bond Issue: A Superintendent's Experience. Adobe PDF
Bohrer, Stephen Dean
(Chapter 5 in: Improving Rural School Facilities: Design, Construction, Finance, and Public Support., 2000)
The passage of a bond issue in support of school building construction or renovation can be one of the most difficult activities for a rural school district. The process of getting a bond passed requires a delicate mix of public relations, community education, and consensus building. In this chapter, a superintendent in a rural district describes his experience working to pass a bond issue to build a new elementary school. The story provides several lessons about passing school bond issues. First, credible leadership from within the school system is important. The superintendent must be viewed as serving the overall good of the school, and the school board and school staff must actively support the bond's passage. Second, community outreach and communication are critical parts of the political process. A well-orchestrated public relations campaign can be helpful, and the importance of sharing information with senior citizens cannot be overstated. It is also important to include members of all segments of the community in project planning and keep the local newspapers informed. Finally, the hard work of volunteers is invaluable in achieving success. 14p.

Factors Affecting the Outcomes of School Bond Elections in Iowa. Adobe PDF
Lode, Marlin D.
(University of South Dakota, Vermillion , May 1999)
This study examines positive and negative factors that affected the outcomes of school bond elections in four purposefully selected school districts in Iowa. Findings of the study indicated the importance of an organized and well-represented citizen committee in the promotion of the school bond election, and good internal and external communication and use of the media. In addition, the findings supported the need for bond promotion groups to identify "yes" voters and make sure they vote to ensure success. 166p.
Report NO: UMI AAG9937386

School Bond Success: A Strategy for Building America's Schools
Boschee, Floyd; Holt, Carleton R.
(Technomic Publishing Co., Lancaster, PA , 1999)
It has become increasingly difficult for school administrators and boards of education to obtain funds for meeting educational community needs and obstacles to providing high quality education. This book provides the theoretical basis for developing specific strategies for resolving school bond issues and practical information on specific activities for bond campaigns. Chapters provide the case for the need and information from research as to essentials in successful bond campaign strategies; offer step-by-step instructions for planning building projects, i.e. the phases of pre-planning, project development, bond campaign, and follow up; address issues of concern to volunteers and others involved in conducting bond campaigns, including conducting surveys, dealing with conflict, and writing proposals and campaign materials. 171p.

Politics of Building or Renovating Rural School Facilities Adobe PDF
Bohrer, Stephen Dean
(Presented at Invitational Conference on Rural School Facilities, Kansas City, MO , May 02, 1998)
While new school construction bond elections for rural school districts can be difficult to pass, success is possible. This paper presents one superintendent's effective campaign to build a $4.2 million elementary school within a rural community. It reveals the need to continually reinforce the message of committing to educational quality combined with productive communication with the school board and continuous efforts to gain community support. Successful school construction bond referendums are shown to have that best chance of success through intense voter registration efforts, continual canvassing, community meetings, and mass mailings to sway public opinion. It is argued that successful passage can also be aided with the creation of a long-range plan designed to convince voters that the need is legitimate. (Contains 12 references). 14p.

Making Better Decisions about Funding School Facilities
Anderson, Amy; And Others
(Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO , Apr 1998)
This publication identifies the major decision points for policymakers addressing this issue and the key questions to consider, and provides examples of strategies used by other states. Primary decision points examined are whether the condition and funding of school facilities need attention and the indicators supporting this, how state school facility needs can best be determined, and what the state and local role in paying for school facilities is and through what funding mechanisms. Appendixes list how the various states have funded their school facilities. 15p.
Report NO: PB-98-3

TO ORDER: ECS Distribution Center, 707 17th St., Suite 2700, Denver, CO 80202-3427

Planning Successful Bond Campaigns. Adobe PDF
(Public Schools of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, 1998)
This document contains specific recommendations for conducting bond campaigns. It outlines the three major considerations of any bond campaign: (1) committee organization and appointment; (2) time lines; and (3) getting out the vote. The publication focuses on the need for total community involvement and outlines some of the components for achieving this, such as a strong public-relations program, a unified school board, focus groups and opinion surveys, careful explanations of the issues, and the support of school principals, elected officials, business leaders, and the media. Campaign organization is also discussed at length, and suggestions are offered on the various committees and individuals that are needed, including a steering committee, a media coordinator, community leaders, a schools committee, a youth committee, a speakers bureau, a finance committee, and a "get out the vote" committee. A campaign timeline is presented that details what to do 3 three months to 1 week before the election. Suggestions on what to do the night prior to the vote and the day of the vote are also covered. A final section outlines important campaign questions, such as how the campaign will be promoted and what will be done to address the concerns of the opposition. 20p.

Voter's Choice: The School Facility Health and Safety Bond Act of 1997. [New York City]
(New York City Independent Budget Office, 1997)
Fiscal brief to enhance public understanding of a pending bond act to authorize the state to borrow up to $2.4 billion through the issuance of bonds to fund capital projects related to the construction, expansion, and modernization of public school facilities. Projects that could be funded under the Act are defined to include those addressing serious health and safety needs, expanding physical capacity, enhancing accessibility for people with disabilities, addressing emergency facilities situations, correcting environmental problems, and supporting educational technology.

Quality of Life...Investing in Our Children's Future. The Case for Building and Maintaining Our Public Schools. Adobe PDF
(Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, DC.; American Association of School Administrators, Arlington, VA. , 1996)
This study examines the problem of deferred maintenance in U.S. public schools, including the repair funding required to comply with federal mandates in the next 3 years; the estimated percentage of schools needing repairs listed by state; and the changes in apportionment of state budgets from 1987 to 1994. Public school maintenance funding trends and options are discussed, including lease financing and privatization. A model for passing a bond issue as illustrated through the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (Sacramento, California) is examined. 19p.

Factors Affecting the Outcome of Successful and Unsuccessful Bond Referenda in Four School Districts. Adobe PDF
Lifto, Don Edward
(University of Minnesota, Minneapolis , Nov 1995)
This comparative study involving four St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota, metropolitan public school districts investigates strategies, non-strategic factors, and critical incidents thought to affect the outcome of school bond referenda. Results address what election strategies are most commonly used to affect the outcome of school bond referenda and why, which election strategies have the greatest affect on referenda outcome and why, and which election strategies most differentiate between successful and unsuccessful school bond referenda and why. The study further shows how election strategies compare with other non-strategic factors in deciding school bond referenda, what affect critical incidents had on election outcomes, and what role superintendent leadership played in the selection of election strategies and the management of non-strategic factors and critical incidents. 297p.
Report NO: UMI AAI9610376

Managing School Indebtedness: A Complete Guide to School Bonding
Flanigan, Jackson L.; Richardson, Michael D.; Stollar, Dewey H.
(Technomic Publishing Co., Lancaster, PA, 1994)
This presents a complete guide to ensuring a successful venture in school bonding. Chapters present thorough descriptions of every step in managing a bond issue, and each ends with a detailed checklist for the practicing administrator. Chapters include:Federal Regulations Governing Municipal Bonds, Finding Help with a Bond Issue, Planning the Bond Referendum, Prospectus, Obtaining a Municipal Bond Rating, Municipal Bond Insurance, Selling the Bonds, Budgeting and Investment of Funds. 245p.

Factors Affecting the Outcomes of School Bond Elections in South Dakota. Adobe PDF
Holt, Carleton Roland
( Ed.D. Dissertation, University of South Dakota , 1993)
This study uses an exploratory data analysis to determine the factors within a community and within the campaign structure that have an effect on school bond election outcomes. Results from interviews reveal these factors to include: having an active citizens support committee and adequate organization; understanding of the needs of the community; effectively communicating of the needs of the schools; using campaign activities that are personal and direct; appealing to the appropriate target audience; and involving all segments of the community in all stages of the campaign. Findings suggest that school boards and administrators need to plan the amount of the bond issue and must demonstrate a good plan for managing the funds after the election. 171p.

The Landslide Passage of a Seven Million Dollar School Bond Referendum in Rural Virginia.
Greig, Richard D.
(Paper presented at the Annual Southern Rural Education Conference, Atlanta, GA , Apr 1990)
This paper describes a campaign for the passage of a 1989 bond referendum for the construction of two elementary schools in rural Lunenburg County, Virginia. The article, written from the perspective of a neophyte school superintendent, offers a demographic description of the county, describes various voter groups, and provides a chronology of events surrounding eventual passage of the referendum. A school board-directed campaign of speeches, letters, and community-based organizing was used to support the bond issue referendum, which passed in every precinct. The paper concludes with recommendations for similar campaigns that emphasize the importance of grass-roots organizing, establishing the "moral high ground," focusing on the district's true needs, and starting the voter-education process early. 9p.

Capital Outlay and Bonding.
Wood, R. Craig
(Association of School Business Officials International, Reston, VA. , 1986)
This chapter of "Principles of School Business Management" provides a generic overview of the major tasks associated with financing a school district's large capital programs. The chapter opens with a brief historical review of the limited provisions made for capital outlay prior to the 1960s and of the trends in financing in recent decades. The chapter then examines specific methods used for financing capital projects, including municipal bonds, sinking funds, the use of current revenues, and the formation of holding corporations. 31p.

Win at the Polls
(National School Public Relations Association, 1985)
This handbook provides techniques and tools to help pass a bond issue or school finance campaign. It describes how to get organized; conduct research; select communication techniques; and adapt materials of winning districts to other campaigns. 300p
TO ORDER: National School Public Relations Association, 15948 Derwood Road, Rockville, MD 20855; Tel: 301-519-0496; Fax: 301-519-0494

References to Journal Articles

Passing the Bond.
Erickson, Paul
American School and University; v83 n11 , p14-16,18 ; Jul 2011
Advises on getting bond issues passed, emphasizing cooperation and communication. Defining the need for the voters, establishing extensive communication between all stakeholders, building consensus, operating a "yes" campaign, and contending with opposition are described.

Cloud Computing's Limitless Options.
Kollie, Ellen
School Planning and Management; v50 n5 , p42,43 ; May 2011
Describes how three school systems have converted to cloud computing, and discusses administrative, management, bond proposal, and transportation applications.

Outlook 2011.
Kennedy, Mike
American School and University; v83 n5 , p12-14,16-24 ; Jan 2011
Forecasts issues for schools in 2011. Subjects addressed include funding, class size, bond issues, community colleges, security, construction, sustainability, maintenance and operations, technology integration, and enrollment.

School Tax Elections: Testing Messages and Targeting Voters.
Senden, J. Bradford; Lifto, Don
School Business Affairs; v76 n10 , p20-22,24 ; Dec 2010
Advises on improving school tax election results through message testing, benchmarking questions, and sorting out responses by demographic classification trees.

Knowing What Matters: An Expanded Study of School Bond Elections in Michigan, 1998-2006.
Bowers, Alex J.; Metzger, Scott Alan; Militello, Matthew
Journal of Education Finance; v35 n4 , p374-396 ; Spring 2010
This study investigates what factors are associated with the likelihood of passing school facility construction bonds by local district election. It uses statewide data from Michigan, 1998-2006, to examine the outcome of 789 bond elections. The logistic regression analysis finds that bond amount--percentage of students receiving free lunches, percentage of district population with only a high school degree, voter turnout, and being further down on the ballot--are all negative and significant factors. District long-term debt and holding the election later in the calendar year are both positive and significant factor. [Authors'abstract]

Knowing the Odds. Parameters that Predict Passing or Failing School District Bonds.
Bowers, Alex; Metzger, Scott; Militello, Matthew
Educational Policy; v24 n2 , 398-420 ; 2010
This study investigates parameters affecting the likelihood of passing school facility construction bonds by local district election. Using statewide data from Michigan, this study analyzes school bond data for urban, suburban, small town, and rural school districts that held capital improvement bond elections from 2000 to 2005. This analysis found four parameters that were significant in predicting either passage or failure of school bonds: bond amount, number of students enrolled, the number of times the bond was attempted, and district urbanicity. Examining district bond passage rates by urbanicity showed that rural districts have worse chances of passing bond elections than urban and suburban districts and that small-town districts have the worst chances of all. [Authors' abstract]

Cash-Poor, Bond-Rich.
Inside Higher Ed; Jun 2009
Reviews how the Los Angeles Community College District is in the midst of a bond-funded building boom, even while statewide budget cuts have dramatically reduced programs.

Do you Have Their Support? How to Make Informed Decisions Using Focus Groups.
Brent, Brian; Finnigan, Kara; Stewart, Tricia
School Business Affairs; v75 n1 , p14-17 ; Jan 2009
Advises on use focus groups to determine opinion on school facility issues. Populating the group with the correct mix of stakeholders, developing the line of questioning, the proper role of the moderator, and analysis of the responses are addressed.

Lafee, Scott
The School Administrator; v66 n1 , p10-15 ; Jan 2009
Describes how four school districts experience failed bond elections, and then rebounded with wins by being more transparent to the community, involving the community in decision making, and exerting a special effort to gain the trust of former "no" voters.

Turning the Tide: Anatomy of a Successful Tax Increase Vote.
Zeman, Gail
School Business Affairs; v75 n1 , p22-25 ; Jan 2009
Describes how Ipswich, Massachusetts, succeeded in passing a property tax increase in an area where property taxes were already deemed high, increases to property taxes are restricted, and every other means of school funding had been exhausted. An extensive grass roots campaign to improve educational programming is highlighted by a table that lists ten key elements to a successful tax increase vote.

Election Day Follow-Up.
School Planning and Management; v47 n12 , p54 ; Dec 2008
Reviews how younger voters in the November, 2008, election helped pass a substantial number of bond issues. Predictions and advice concerning the potential of significant federal funding for school facilities are also included.

The High School "Space Race": Implications of a School-Choice Market Environment for a Michigan Metropolitan Region.
Militello, Mathhew; Metzger, Scott; Bowers, Alex
Education and Urban Society; v41 n1 , 30p. ; Nov 2008
Examines the implications of competition between school districts in a mid-Michigan metropolitan area. Over the past decade, many urban and suburban districts have found themselves competing over per-pupil state funding. Suburban districts need extra students in order to make up budgetary shortfalls and protect instructional programs that are essential in today's political climate of school accountability. Several districts in this study have built new or substantially renovated state-of-the-art high schools, possibly signaling a "space race" between the districts to build bigger, better, newer capital assets in order to attract more students. The central-city district, surrounded by growing suburbs with higher-value taxable property, is at a disadvantage in this competition. [Authors' abstract]

Public Universities Keep Wary Eye on Bond Market.
Fischer, Karin
Chronicle of Higher Education; v55 n8 , pA1 ; Oct 2008
Many public-university administrators are watching as the nation's credit markets seize up, trying to assess the impact on universities' and state bonding agencies' ability to issue debt. Interviews with finance and facilities administrators at more than a dozen state universities or college systems across the country suggest that, thus far, few public colleges have been forced to scale back, delay, or cancel long-term construction projects because of the current financial turmoil. In addition, most of them say they expect to be able to borrow to pay for future construction, albeit at higher interest rates than in recent years.

The Senior Block: Mature Citizens Can Make or Break the Best of Plans.
O Brien, Tim
School Planning and Management; v47 n10 , p47-49 ; Oct 2008
Addresses the need to gain the approval of mature voters when funding schools. This constituency is typically politically active, frequently without children attending school, and often wary of higher taxes. Minimizing the impact of school projects on tax rates, mobilizing young families, proactive communication, and taking a stand against opposition are discussed.

Beyond the Bond Campaign.
Carlson, Ruth
University Business; v12 n8 , p27,28 ; Aug 2008
Advises continuing public relations efforts after a bond passes. Both internal and external communications are critical, so it is important to have a communication plan in place that will serve both audiences. Faculty, staff, and students are emotionally invested in an institution and the future results of the bond measure, making it important to keep them informed of all that is happening around them.

Funding for the Next Generation.
Matt, Chris
Maintenance Solutions; v16 n4 , p6,8 ; Apr 2008
Discusses the success of Oregon's West Linn-Wilsonville School District in passing school bonds. Each bond issue typically proposes funding for a variety of projects, thus helping to ensure community-wide support.

Try, Try, Again: A Two-Step Strategy for Passing School Levies.
Johnson, Paul A.
Journal of School Public Relations; v29 n1 , p44-73 ; Winter 2008
Passing property tax issues is an increasing challenge for many school districts. This article examines 21 school levy strategies identified through a literature review associated with successful school levy campaigns. These strategies were then used as a framework to evaluate one district's attempts to pass a school bond levy. Whereas the study confirms the importance of these strategies, it also presents evidence regarding a two-step approach to planning levy campaigns that might help districts pass levies. Suggestions for further research are discussed.

Ballot Box: November 2007 Bond Election Results.
American School and University; Nov 2007
Compilation of results of November, 2007 bond elections for school construction across the country.

Winning School Finance Elections.
Carr, Nora
American School Board Journal; v194 n10 , p44-47 ; Oct 2007
Advises on successful bond campaign strategies, including engaging voters from the beginning, conducting the process transparently, and using voter research. Also included are key questions to ask before moving forward witha campaign.

Impact Aid Expanded with Construction Revenue Bond Option.
Livingston, John
School Business Affairs; v73 n8 , p32,34 ; Sep 2007
Reviews the creation and make-up of the federal government's Impact Aid program, the revenues from which can be pledged as security for the issuance of bonds. An example of how these funds have been put to work in school construction in Arizona's Whiteriver Unified School District is included, as is advice on considering this process in one's own district.

From Headaches to Lawsuits.
Fickes, Michael
School Planning and Management; v46 n8 , p20-23 ; Aug 2007
Reviews situations in new school construction that can escalate from inconvenience to litigation. These include site selection, project delays, cost overruns, improper contracting, and poor workmanship.

Why School Building Programs Go Bust.
Carey, Kelley
School Business Affairs; v73 n7 , p8-11 ; Jul 2007
Provides an extensive checklist of warning signs that might indicate funding trouble for a school capital program. These involve long-range planning, management of the bond issue, construction project management, building programming, and communication and citizen involvement.

Bonding Agents.
Vogel, Carl
District Administration; v43 n4 , p48-52 ; Apr 2007
Discusses how to improve a school district's bond rating by paying down existing debt, preparing to show how the district will address its economic and demographic weaknesses, and negotiating with the bond-rating agency.

Forward Thinking.
Agron, Joe
American School and University; Jan 2007
Schools and universities are having success at securing funding for new facilities, as well as for growing repair and retrofit needs. 2006 was a record-breaking year in terms of the number of school-construction bond issues proposed (920) and passed (603). It also set a record for the largest total-dollar-amount proposed ($51.2 billion) and passed (almost $40 billion).

The Subtle Stuff.
Nagarkeolekar, Vikas; Merritt, Edwin
American School and University; v79 n3 , p296-299 ; Nov 2006
Discusses "behind-the-scenes" factors that may help ensure the success of a school bond campaign. These include appropriate up front funding of the school construction proposal, the engagement of an architect who helps assess the needs and create a proposal, an effective and appealing superintendent, and the involvement of well-known and respected community leaders.

How to Win a Bond Referendum. Adobe PDF
Fairbank, Rob
American School Board Journal; v193 n10 , p42-44 ; Oct 2006
Outlines ten steps for a successful bond referendum: survey voters, get board support, craft a winning message, educate the media, identify supporters, build a campaign organization, create a campaign timeline, develop a fundraising plan, put together a voter contact program, and get out the vote.
TO ORDER: American School Board Journal, 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; Tel: 703-838-6722

Creative Financings.
Kromm, David
School Planning and Management; v45 n8 , p17,18,20 ; Aug 2006
Describes creative bonding procedures including lowering the majority needed to pass a bond so that a district could rebuild tornado-damaged structures, refinancing, paying off bonds early, and using savings from energy-efficient buildings to support bonding capacity.

Many Schools Getting Less Bang for Bonds.
Perez, Erica; Miller, Sam; Leal, Fermin
Orange County Register; Jun 18, 2006
Reports on construction cutbacks in 12 of the 19 Orange County, California, school districts that have passed bonds since 1990. Price increases, mismanagement, lack of oversight, overly ambitious promises, and a lack of construction culture in some districts are described with examples from specific districts. The lessons learned in districts with the most egregious shortfalls are included.

Local-Option Levy. Adobe PDF
Klein, Steven
American School Board Journal; v193 n6 , p31,32 ; Jun 2006
Advises those attempting to pass a school levy on how weed out listings of voters who no longer reside in a precinct, but still appear on active voter rolls. This is particularly important in cases where voter turnout and approval majorities are required for the measure to pass. Five steps to help narrow the base of potential voters and seven suggestions for improving turnout of these voters are offered.
TO ORDER: American School Board Journal, 1680 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314; Tel: 703-838-6722

The Levy Process and Your Constituents: Know the Issues.
Dolph, David
School Business Affairs; v72 n5 , p30,31 ; May 2006
Advises school districts on surveying voters to determine their concerns and help ensure a successful levy process. Typical issues include public interest in education, the economy, student safety, teacher training, test results, involvement of the principal, and nonparent involvement.

How to Get Your School Bond Passed.
Vogel, Carl
District Administration; Apr 2006
Explains six early steps to help insure a successful school bond effort: 1)Lay the groundwork early by reaching out before the bond is on the ballot. 2) Build the ballot with items that voters are willing to fund. 3) Motivate your friends, ignore your enemies. 4) Create a strong inside/outside team of district staff and community leaders. 5) Write clear simple messages that resonate. 6) Know everything about your project.

Why School Bond Votes Fail and How to Win Them.
Khasru, B.
School Construction News; v9 n2 , p42,43 ; Mar-Apr 2006
Explains how lapses in public participation and lack of awareness of voter psychology causes many bond efforts to fail, and suggests strategies for success that emphasize abundant communication and involvement of every sector of the community.

Watch Your Language.
Lifton, Don; Senden, J. Bradford
The School Administrator; v63 n2 , p42-44 ; Feb 2006
Advises on how to properly word a bond referendum to help ensure passage. Split-sampling testing techniques to assess reaction to various phrases are described, and a variety of reactions to phrases and their alternatives are described. Examples of poor and obtuse wording are included.

Betting on Bonds
Agron, Joe
American School and University; Jan 2006
This looks at school construction bond referenda proposed and passed in 2005. A bond proposal signifies an institution's need for capital funds; it's passage is a barometer of the public's support of school infrastructure issues. Of the 667 school construction bond issues proposed in 2005, 60.6 percent were passed (representing more than $17 billion). The percentage is down slightly from the 69.9 percent approved in 2004. Total-dollar amount of school construction referenda passed in 2005 was down from the almost $35 billion approved the year before. Much of the difference can be attributed to California's massive $12.3 billion statewide initiative passed in 2004.

Undertaking a Bond Issue Campaign.
Powers, Jodi
School Business Affairs; v71 n10 , p12-14 ; Nov 2005
Offers advice for creating community consensus and subsequent approval of a bond campaign by suggesting committees that should be formed around the campaign and their duties. The facilities study commitee should consist of people from different backgrounds that represent the demographics of those likely to vote. The bond issue steering committee will lead the "vote yes" campaign, developing communication and analyzing the results of previous campaigns. The public information committee covers all public relations. The neighborhood canvass/voter identification committee registers voters and helps likely "yes" voters get to the polls.

Massing Support for a Levy Without Mass Media .
Whitmoyer, Ron
The School Administrator; v62 n6 , p42-44 ; Jun 2005
The classic campaign strategy in most school communities involves using the mass media to attract widespread attention to an upcoming budget or tax levy vote. Such strategies tend to bring uninformed voters in unknown quantities to the polls. This describes a campaign strategy to bring to the polls those likely to vote yes on the proposed mill levy while avoiding the mass publicity that might influence opposition voters to go to the polls.

Looking Ahead
Agron, Joe
American School and University; Jan 2005
This is an educated guess by the editor of American School & University magazine on what 2005 and beyond will hold for education construction: "based on data, spending on education construction will remain vibrant well into the future … and communities will continue to be supportive of intelligent spending to create the best possible learning environments. The challenge, however, will be to get state and federal lawmakers to seriously address the issue." In 2004, of the 675 school construction bond issues proposed, 472 were approved (69.9 percent). Of the $39.526 billion in ballot questions proposed, $34.489 billion was approved — a whopping 87.3 percent.

Minority Support for School Bonds in Charlotte-Mecklenburg: A Cautionary Note.
Priest, Thomas B.; Fox, Linette P.
Education and Urban Society; v37 n2 , p193-203 ; 2005
This article examines support for school bonds among minority group members in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, which includes the city of Charlotte. A survey was conducted shortly after a bitter court case and shortly before a proposed bond referendum. Support for bonds in the minority community was fairly moderate. Support was not related to self-interest. Rather, support for bonds was most closely associated with confidence in public officials.

School Finance Elections: Hip-Hop to Victory with GOTV Strategies.
Lifto, Don
School Business Affairs; v70 n11 , p21-23 ; Dec 2004
Describes get-out-the-vote strategies that can be used to improve voter turnout for school finance measures. Types of voters, contact methods for each, and their voting tendencies are explained. Includes two references.

Grappling with Growth.
Hardy, Lawrence
American School Board Journal; v191 n9 , p16-21 ; Sep 2004
Describes explosive student population growth in several rapidly-expanding communities, and how they are dealing with the influx of students that their school systems or tax bases are not prepared for. Rapidly growing enrollment presents school districts with a number of challenges: planning for and financing construction, finding qualified teachers and other staff, educating the public and elected officials about the pressures of growth, and dealing with the trade-offs districts face when confronted with the need to constantly expand. This kind of growth isn't easy for any district, but it's particularly hard for low-wealth school systems that are struggling to maintain essential services.

Championing our Children: Winning Elections on School Finance Issues.
Eiler, Edward
School Business Affairs; v70 n4 , p32,33 ; Apr 2004
Presents tactics for successful school finance campaigns, including identifyng and publicizing the school system's assets, enlisting supporters, analyzing voter records, and campaign management.

School Construction Defies Fiscal Doldrums.
Sack, Joetta L.
Education Week; v23 n27 , p1,28,30 ; Mar 17, 2004
This first of a three-part series reports on record school construction beginning in 2002, despite a sagging economy. Reasons for the increase include bond issues passed during the strong economy of the late 1990's, equity lawsuits, and demographic shifts. Creative financing methods are highlighted, as well as potential problems in planning due to rapid growth. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Strategic Bonding.
Davis, Lynn; Tyson, Ben
American School Board Journal; v190 n7 , p34-36 ; Jul 2003
Many school buildings are in dire need of renovation, expansion, or replacement. Brief case studies from around the country illustrate the importance of finding out why people vote for or against a construction referendum. Lists recommendations for a strategic campaign.

The Alchemy of Passing a Property Tax Referendum: Reflections on a Successful Campaign.
Sheeran, Thomas E.
School Business Affairs; v69 n6 , p5-10 ; Jun 2003
Describes campaign to successfully pass a 4-year property tax referendum in Sarasota County, Florida.

The Effects of Technology Inclusion on School Bond Election Success in Oklahoma.
Beckham, James; Maiden, Jeffrey
Journal of Education Finance,; v28 n4 , p557-74 ; Spring 2003
Examines the effects of including technology funding in Oklahoma school district bond issues on their voting percentages and pass/fail rates during fiscal years 1995-96 through 1999-2000. Finds that percent of technology funding included in bond issue dollar amount was significantly related to positive voting percentages and predictive of issue passage or failure. (Contains 37 references.)

Money to Build.
Agron, Joe
American School and University; Jan 01, 2003
Buoyed by a successful year at the polls, schools and universities are benefiting from strong state and community support to fund construction and repair of facilities. Of the $44.78 billion in K-12 bond issues proposed in 2002, $37.58 billion worth of new funding was passed — resulting in an almost 84 percent approval rating. Led by a massive statewide issue in California ($13 billion), schools throughout the nation are finding that voters will support carefully planned and detailed construction programs.

Fighting for Survival: Rural Midwestern Community and Its Schools.
Calabrese, Raymond; Patterson, Jean
Planning and Changing; v34 n1&2 , p19-31 ; 2003
Case study examines community values, beliefs, and norms related to school district efforts to pass a bond issue for the improvement and construction of school facilities in a rural midwestern community. (Contains 18 references.)

Taking Stock of School Bonds.
De Patta, Joe
School Construction News; v6 n1 , p19-22 ; Jan-Feb 2003
Presents an interview with Kit Dunn, a specialist in school district information services, about the importance of communication with the community, especially concerning school bond referenda.

Capital Financing of Schools: A Comparison of Lease Purchase Revenue Bonds and General Obligation Bonds.
Gamkhar, Shama; Koerner, Mona
Public Budgeting and Finance; v22 n2 , p21-39 ; Summer 2002
This article uses Texas as an example of the distinction between lease purchase revenue (LPR) bonds and general obligation (GO) bonds. The study shows that LPR bonds typically have a higher interest cost than GO bonds and do not have advantages over GO bonds in circumventing state restrictions on school district tax and debt authority. Voter approval requirements implicit in the state aid formulae supporting school bond repayments and the bond election requirements, however, are less stringent for LPR than GO bonds, and thus tend to be used by schools in property-poor districts.

The Sequence of Decisions Facing School District Officials in the Bond Issuing Process: A Multistage Model.
Harris, Mary H.; Munley, Vincent G.
Journal of Education Finance; v28 n1 , p113-32 ; Summer 2002
Models three-stage bond-rating process: whether to have a bond rated, whether to insure the bond, and estimation of the actual bond rating; tests multistage model empirically using sample of 148 bond issues representing 10 different states; finds that the par value (size) of the bond issue is decisive factor in decision to have a bond rated or not. (Contains 29 references.)

Casting for Cash.
Leon, Ronald J.; Weidner, Laurie
American School Board Journal; v189 n6 , p30-32 ; Jun 2002
Case study of the successful bond measure campaign of the Rowland Unified school district in Los Angeles County, California. Describes the timing of the campaign, putting together the right team, and communicating a unified message through public information and advocacy.

One More for the Money.
Rittner-Heir, Robbin M.
School Planning and Management; v41 n6 , p56-58 ; Jun 2002
Describes how the Denver Public School District used detailed planning and precise fiscal management to build 10 schools rather than just the 9 approved by voters in a bond issue, as well as to renovate 22 other schools.

How Public School Districts Can Improve Their Bond Ratings.
Casillas, Robert A.; Hamill, Grant M.
School Business Affairs; v68 n1 , p11-15 ; Jan 2002
Bond ratings have a substantial impact on a borrower's cost of funds, with the difference between ratings having a potential impact of thousands, if not millions, of dollars on debt service costs. This article provides school district officials background about the rating agencies and the process by which they assign bond ratings. It then discusses initiating a ratings process, describes the ratings meeting, and details how to improve the chances for a higher rating.

Lessons From the Bond Battlefield
Lifto, Don E.
American School Board Journal; v188 n11 , p50-51,56 ; Nov 2001
Describes how a divide and conquer strategy, with split ballots, can often lead to victory in a bond and operating election. Provides examples of situations when splitting the ballot could make the difference between winning and losing.

Cleveland Banks on Bond Issue To Repair Aging Facilities.
Reid, Karla Scoon
Education Week Online; May 02, 2001
Voters in Cleveland must decide whether they will help the 76,000-student district pay the $1.4 billion bill to replace aging roofs, faulty wiring, rotted windows, malfunctioning boilers, and a host of other chronic building problems facing the Cleveland public schools. The bond issue would raise $335 million for school construction improvements and would qualify for a match of $500 million in state funding. The measure also would generate about $3 million annually for building maintenance. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

The Ohio School Facilities Commission. Revamping the State's School Construction Projects.
De Patta, Joe
School Construction News; v4 n3 , p20-22 ; Mar-Apr 2001
Presents an interview with the Ohio School Facilities Commission's (OSFC) Executive Director Randy Fischer who discusses the OSFC's history and its work in managing K-12 school facilities throughout the state. Topics include its efforts to help school districts get bond measures on ballets, funding projects, and its "Partnering Program" for construction projects.

Soft Sell, Hard Numbers. Where's the Money for K-12 Schools?
Kroll, Karen
Building Operating Management; Mar 2001
This gives advice to facility executives to do their homework on facility conditions and costs while seeking public support. The following steps are discussed: 1) Let the academic plan and enrollment picture drive the capital investment plan; 2)Determine how things currently stack up; 3) Figure out where you want to go; 4)Identify the stakeholders, or those who will be affected by the capital investments; 5)Get the community involved; 6)Prepare for tough questions and the potential that the project may change; 7) Use discretion in choosing the architects, engineers and construction managers; 8)Retain an experienced public relations team; 9) Be smart buyers; and 10)Think creatively.

Raising Money, Winning Votes.
Morrison, Gayle
American School and University; v73 n3 , p402-05 ; Nov 2000
Discusses how school districts putting the right people in the right management positions when running bond-issue campaigns can better assure campaign success. Characteristics required of campaign chairs, job responsibilities of members of the central and regional committee are highlighted.

Big Bucks and Cooperation Mark Bond Campaign in Carolina.
Selingo, Jeffrey
Chronicle of Higher Education; v47 n8 , pA29-30 ; Oct 2000
Reports that North Carolina colleges are working together as never before to secure passage of the most expensive ($3.1 billion) statewide bond referendum package ever for the support of higher education in the United States. University and community college officials have cooperated in making the case across the state for the increased construction and renovation funds in light of increasing enrollments.

Drivers of Successful Bond and Operating Levies...Q4C at the Foundation.
Lifto, Don E. Morris; Morris, William D.
School Business Affairs; v66 n10 , p15-17 ; Oct 2000
Improving a school's Q4C quotient (quality control, customer commitment, and communications) during election planning hinges on district mission, a culture of high expectations, basic skills mastery, commitment to customers, continuous feedback, healthy working relationships, broad community involvement, high- level strategic planning and implementation, and outstanding public relations.

Superintendents Apply Local Creativity to National School Facilities Problem.
Holmes, Natalie Carter
AASA Online; Mar 21, 2000
As school district leaders find themselves in communities where only a quarter, or fewer, of residents have children in public schools, the response to bond issue proposals is often less than enthusiastic. But superintendents are finding other creative ways to finance construction and renovation of facilities.
TO ORDER: American Association of School Administrators, 801 N. Quincy St., Ste. 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730; Tel: 703-875-0745

California Says No To Laxer Rules for Bond Votes.
Sandham, Jessica
Education Week; Mar 15, 2000
Voters in California rejected a measure designed to make it easier for districts to win financing to build and repair schools, despite the efforts of a coalition of education and business groups that had promoted the plan with a $22 million campaign. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

California Voters Weigh Making Facilities Bonds Easier To Pass.
Sandham, Jessica
Education Week; Mar 01, 2000
A clause in California's constitution requires school bonds to garner a two-thirds majority in order to pass.On March 7, California voters will decide whether that 121-year-old clause has had its day. Proposition 26, on the ballot statewide, would lower the percent of votes required to pass school bonds to a simple majority. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Bond Issues.
Pollack, Rachel H.
Currents; v26 n1 , p44-49 ; Jan 2000
Notes trends toward increased borrowing by colleges and universities and offers guidelines for institutions that are considering issuing bonds to raise money for capital projects. Discussion covers advantages of using bond financing, how use of bonds impacts on traditional fund raising, other cautions and concerns, and some troubling aspects of how this borrowing trend may affect higher education.

Iowa School-Building Boom May Yield Little in Way of Bonds
Ward, Andrew
Bond Buyer; v33 n30778 , p44 ; Dec 01, 1999
Iowa schools are gearing up to spend several hundred million dollars for school construction projects in the next decade, but investors shouldn't count on them to issue a lot of bonds in the process.

Information, Engagement Help Rural District Pass Bond Issue.
Morton, John R.
AASA Online; Jun 23, 1999
Discusses how district ensured approval of a proposed $4.2 million bond sale in a community that had experienced an economic downturn in the previous two years with the loss of two major employers. District chose not only to inform, but to engage the community in vision for school improvement.
TO ORDER: American Association of School Administrators, 801 N. Quincy St., Ste. 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730; Tel: 703-875-0745

Pass or Fail: Schools are Experiencing Mixed Results in Their Attempts to Fund Facilities Repair and Construction.
Kennedy, Mike
American School and University; v71 n10 , p20-24,26 ; Jun 1999
Examines the mixed results from several school districts that attempted to fund their school repair and construction projects. Enrollment, building deterioration, and school construction needs and costs are discussed, as are difficulties convincing the community to support capital improvement costs and/or just letting go of the emotional attachment that some communities have for particular schools.

Building Grant, Bond-Issue Work Together.
Schanuel, Scott M.
School Planning and Management; v38 n6 , p45-47 ; Jun 1999
Examines how an Illinois school district used teamwork and planning to acquire state funding for construction and renovation of two high schools. Planning efforts included conducting community-based strategic planning, researching the funding program, working closely with state organizations for acquiring grant funds, educating the community, campaigning for passage of a school bond referendum, and fund raising through business associations.

State Initiatives and Referenda on Bonds: A Comparative Analysis of One Solution for the School Infrastructure Crisis
Muir, Edward; Schneider, Krista
Journal of Education Finance; v24 n4 , p415-34 ; Spring 1999
To understand how the political dynamics of state bond elections could affect education funding, this study analyzed factors influencing voter support on all 319 state ballot initiatives or referenda to authorize debt for a specific government function from 1978 to 1990. Voter support for education debt is generally high. (34 footnotes)

Something for Everyone
Raiford, Regina
Buildings; v93 n1 , p64-66 ; Jan 1999
How do you encourage a small town to bond a new school that is equal to its entire annual operating budget? The planners of the Mashpee Junior/Senior High School did it by creating a facility that serves students and the community.

Facing Challenges.
Spoor, Dana L.
American School and University; v71 n4 , p16-18 ; Dec 1998
Examines how the Dallas Independent School District (Texas) has been successful in passing new bond issues for school construction and renovation. The school district's strategic methodology is discussed as are its management tactics in meeting diverse student needs, school safety, and student overcrowding.

Forming Bonds.
Spoor, Dana L.
American School and University; v71 n2 , p50-51 ; Oct 1998
Explains how one North Carolina school district was able to pass high-dollar bond issues for school construction. It discusses the planning and bidding processes, and the district's philosophy towards incorporating innovative changes in design and equipment.

Targeted for Growth.
Cox, Susan M.
American School and University; v70 n8 , p46-47 ; Apr 1998
Discusses the experiences of one school district in Kansas City (Missouri) in gaining community support and involvement in planning for increased student enrollment while providing the best facilities for education in the most efficient way. Discussions also include the planners' experiences in getting approval for building funds.

Michigan School Facilities, Equity Issues, and Voter Response to Bond Issues Following Finance Reform
Sielke, Catherine C.
Journal of Education Finance; v23 n3 , p309-22 ; Winter-Spring 1998
Examines voter response to bond issues immediately following Michigan' s elimination of its property tax school-funding system. Reviews equity measures, discusses court cases addressing school facility equity issues, and compares other states' funding approaches. Michigan's system for financing school facilities remains inequitable, and facility needs are heading for crisis. (28 references)

Planning for the Long Haul.
Blackwell, John D.
American School and University; v69 n11 , p16,18,20,22 ; Jul 1997
Describes the use of a comprehensive facilities needs assessment and master plan to help school districts successfully manage increased enrollments and deteriorating facilities. An example of master planning a successful bond issue is provided.

Planning for Quality
Adams, Sam W.; Henderson, James B.; Chitwood, James M.
Learning By Design; n6 , p14-16 ; Mar 1997
Describes one Wisconsin school district's use of continuous quality improvement (CQI), coupled with community involvement, to plan and pass a referendum for a new K-8 school. Fourteen CQI principles used to successfully develop and drive a community-wide effort in school planning are highlighted and discussed.

The Impact of Property Wealth and Income Wealth on School Bond Elections.
Jacobson, Thomas
Educational Facility Planner; v34 n2 , p10-12 ; 1997
Examines the linkage between facility bond elections and the indicators of wealth (property valuation and income) and the appropriateness of relying on property valuations as the primary indicator of school district wealth. Results from 31 randomly selected schools in Nebraska show an unclear relationship between wealth factors and success in facility bond elections.

Pass the Plate.
Ward, Mark, Sr.
Learning By Design; n5 , p42-44 ; Mar 1996
Presents case studies of school district's efforts to get a school construction bond passed. Fifteen organizational steps for successful bond passage are highlighted.

A Rural School/Community: A Case Study of a Dramatic Turnaround and Its Implications for School Improvement
Carlson, Robert V.
Research in Rural Education; v7 n1 , p23-33 ; Fall 1990
Reversing two decades of school-community turmoil, Valley View--a small, rural community in northeastern Vermont--approved a bond issue for school construction. This case study uses organizational and systems theory to examine structural, political, symbolic, and human resource influences on changing community attitudes. Contains 19 references.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).