South Whidbey School District No. 206

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1 South Whidbey School District No. 206 Overview of Vote Timing Options Martin Nelson and Company Jim Blumenthal Vice President & Senior Municipal Underwriter 1500 Westlake Ave. North, Suite 200 Seattle, WA (206) or (888) Updated March 11, 2009

2 District Levy and Bond Preferences The District s 2010 M&O and Capital/Tech levy requests were approved by the voters on February 9, The District anticipates its future levy requests will include a Capital levy in the general amount of $700,000 per year. It does not foresee another Transportation levy in the near future. At this time the District has a preference for year debt repayments for the planned voted bond issue. The District at one time considered a 40 cent tax rate for new voter authorized bonds, but is not focused on attaining i that t rate at this juncture. With falling enrollment, the District anticipates it will not need another bond authorization other than the current plans for the foreseeable future. 2

3 Background 3

4 Interest Rate Factors Long-term interest rates are still at historic lows. BOND BUYER INDEX 01/01/82 thru 03/04/10 20-YEAR GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND INDEX* Average Weekly Interest Rate (%) *The 20 G.O. Index is made up of bond issues with a rating of "AA-" maturing in 20 years. 4

5 The Economy Cleaning up after the moral hazard (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and??). Debt liquidation Debt consolidation Asset devaluation Re-regulation lti Slower economic growth Innovation development Workforce reallocation/retooling 5

6 District s Current Voter Base Registered Voters in the District as of March 2010 = 11,352 Max. Participating Voters in Feb. 9, 2010 Election = 6,206 Average No. of Supporters in Feb. 9, 2010 Election = 3,853 Pass % for the M&O Levy on Feb. 9 = 62.97% Pass % for the Capital & Tech. Levy on Feb. 9 = 61.28% 6

7 Vote Process & Considerations 7

8 WHAT IS AN ELECTION ALL ABOUT? TRUST.. AND..NEEDS 8

9 Voted Bond Financing Process The Big Picture 1. Voter Education Campaign I. District coordinates volunteers to form an Election Committee II. District staff present factual information (including a voter information brochure that has been approved by the Public Disclosure Commission) to the community groups, local newspapers, etc. III. District staff conducts an open house/community meetings for factual presentation (possibly include the architect to answer questions) IV.Volunteers run the Vote Yes campaign, with speakers, election brochure, yard signs, doorbelling, telephone calls, letters to the editor, etc. 2. Debt Planning and Analysis Impact on debt capacity, estimated payments, tax collection cycle, etc. 3. Ballot Deadlines Drafting and filing the Ballot Resolution 4. Receive Voter Approval 5. Marketing and Sale of the Bonds (prospective investors are local individuals ( retail investors ) and banks, insurance companies and mutual funds ( institutional investors )) 6. Presentation of the Bond Purchase Contract and Bond Resolution (final interest rates and legal documents) 7. Delivery of the Bond Proceeds (receive money and spend 85% of it + investment earnings within 36 months) 9

10 Successfully Communicating the Vote Message Use the Roles.. District Communicate a factual summary of the vote request to everyone. Campaign Professional or grassroots? Persuade the voters to support the measure, keep track See Appendix A for of these supporters example of the 9 steps to and get them to a successfulcommunitycommunity vote. based election campaign. To achieve the Goals. Retain 1/3 rd of the District s voters who have supported them in the past. Discover and educate 1/3 rd of the District s voters that are neutral or undecided on the proposed measure. Spend as little time as possible on the remaining 1/3 rd of unregistered and non-supportive District voters. 10

11 School Bonds Historical Passing Temperament 60% 50% K 12 School Bond Issues Average Passing Percentage By Year Perce ent Passed 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Source: OSPI 1st Ballot Requests 2nd Ballot Requests 11

12 Ballot Timing Determine the Significance of: What else is on the ballot. Election costs. Volunteer endurance, abilities, resourcefulness. Vote timing: Retain ability to revote in the event of loss? Campaign fundraising i abilities. Perception of the District by the community. Voter education levels. Current voter support levels in the District (past election results). 12

13 Voting Dates Spring Options February March h( (no longer available) April May (to be eliminated beginning in 2012) Summer/Fall Options August November 13

14 Determining Optimal Vote Timing K 12 School Bonds Average Passing Percentageby Month Perc cent Passed 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Source: OSPI 1st Ballot Requests 2nd Ballot Requests 14

15 Election Traits Spring Election Characteristics Lower turnout. Electorate is more reliable. Greater chance for election success from a strong campaign effort. Less issue clutter on the ballot. Historically higher chances for a win. Higher election costs. Summer/Fall Election Characteristics Higher turnout (35% to 85%). Larger # of issues on the ballot which can influence outcome. Greater competition for campaign message. November Lower probability of success from campaign effort due to traffic. Drop-off off voting (incomplete votes further down the ballot). 15

16 Message Dissemination Potential Message Distribution Tactics Series of newspaper articles or newsletters to inform the public. Statements of support from community representatives. Information booths at community events, parades, etc. Open House at District facilities. Doorbelling by volunteers. Robo-calling. Message card via US Mail. 16

17 Vote Acquisition Tasks and Timing I. Six to Nine Months Before the Election 1. Take steps to adequately inform the voters (i.e., assemble volunteers for election committee, news releases to the newspapers, voter information pamphlets, open forums for citizen comments, etc.) is scheduled and completed. 2. Volunteers for a bond election committee (i.e., Go Vote Committee ) have been recruited. II. Five to Six Months Before the Election 1.The bond issue and voter information campaign are announced to the media. 2.The Bond Underwriter and the District finalize the expected debt payment schedule and the resulting bond levy rates voters will pay on the new authorization. 3. Bond Counsel works with the District and drafts the Ballot Title and Election Resolution. 4. A letter goes out to civic groups within the District informing them of the upcoming Bond issue and asking them to schedule a speaker. III. Three to Four Months Before the Election 1. The Election Resolution is sent to the County Elections Department and confirmed. 2. Campaign and speech information/schedules are reviewed by the Go Vote Committee. 3. Volunteer speakers and the District begin speaking to civic groups and open forums/open houses etc. 17

18 Vote Acquisition Tasks and Timing Vote Acquisition Tasks (continued from prior page). IV. Two to Three Months Before the Election 1. The Voter Information Brochure is completed and distribution begins, the Voter Information Brochure is mailed out at least four weeks prior to the election date. 2. The Go Vote Committee meets and manages the communication process (what tasks are completed/what is yet to be completed) in order to achieve vote campaign goals prior to Election Day. 3. The Bond issue and the Project are actively being discussed using appropriate visuals and the Voter Information Brochure. 4. If necessary, another press release or meeting with the media may be scheduled to further answer questions or clarify issues. Also, a meeting with the local newspaper s editorial staff may be beneficial. V. Election Day and After 1. The election takes place and preliminary results are announced. 2. The County Elections Department will certify the results approximately 15 days after the election. 18

19 Bond Authorization Timing and Task Factors The following bond sale timeline, would be added to the Vote Acquisition timeline on the prior pages. General Timeline for Bond Issuance * Release draft Preliminary Official Statement * Send out information requests and templates for completion. * Bond Counsel begins preparation of draft legal documents. * If applicable, Bond Counsel sends letter to County Treasurer notifying of plan to finance. * Receive completed information requests and templates. * Receive comments on draft POS. * First draft of legal documents. distributed ib t d by Bond Counsel * Release Preliminary Official Statement to public market investors. * Release draft final Official Statement and Closing Memorandum. *Release draft of final legal documents. * Price the Bonds * Present Purchase Contract and Bond Resolution to Municipality. * Receive comments on draft Final OS and Closing Memorandum. *Release final Official Statement and Closing Memorandum. Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Mu unicipality Resp ponsibilities * Completed information requests, fills in templates, and returns to Underwriter, along with comments on the Draft Preliminary Official Statement. * Municipality reviews the POS after its release * Municipality reviews draft Closing Memorandum. * Return any comments on final OS and Closing Memorandum to Underwriter. 19

20 Appendix A NINE STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY-BASED ELECTION CAMPAIGN 1. Form a Support Committee This committee should be small enough to be workable, but large enough so that no one can fairly accuse you of being closeiddinsulated, ltdetc. minded, 2. Get stakeholders to agree on what should be on the ballot, and what the bond/levy should specifically be supporting. Consider the internal questions: Have you asked for money before and failed? If so why? Have voters and/or community leaders talked with your group about what they might support? How are you going to explain to the public what you are asking for? It is much better to answer these questions before you have finalized your proposal. Consider the larger community questions: What other measures will be on the ballot? How much money voters have been asked for recently? Is there a take your turn mentality in your community among groups that ask for public support? Consider holding some sort of public process to facilitate community input. 3. Develop a clear message what you are asking for, why you are asking for it, how much it will cost, and who it will help. If you can t answer these questions, your chances of success are extremely limited. Everyone should be on the same page this message should be the core of any campaign literature, the lead on any press releases, and the focus of remarks every time someone speaks on behalf of the campaign (whether officially or not). 4. Identify community groups that can/should be targets for outreach, information efforts, volunteer recruitment, etc. Think broad and wide everyone who could benefit from the services you provide, major civic/business groups, local political clubs, other community based groups that sponsor levies (teachers, libraries, etc.), workers unions, etc. Ask your Board, and the members of the campaign committee, to think about which organizations they belong to, and encourage them to ask those groups for support. 20

21 Appendix A (continued) 5. Get endorsements from key groups and the media. Some of these groups have formal processes, some do not. Try to ask as early as you can what the process is, and try to accommodate their schedule. Consider putting one person on the campaign committee in charge of coordinating endorsement processes and interviews. 6. Ask endorsing groups for their active support. Once you have a group s support, you need to do something with it. At a minimum, they should be willing to let you (or help you) get the word out to their members. They should allow you to speak to one of their membership meetings, and perhaps put something in their newsletter, and better yet, mail something to their members. They might even be willing to pay for it. Remember to determine if you need to report that as a campaign contribution. Supporting groups should also explicitly be asked if the campaign may use the group s name publicly never assume that they are ok with this, even if it seems obvious. 7. Undertake a media campaign tell your story, define the issues. This can be a very simple or a very complex effort. Look within your campaign committee to see if there is someone who has experience working with the media. 8. Undertake a grassroots campaign to contact voters. Again, this can be very simple or very complex. It can include voter education, door-to-door and phone banking efforts, and GOTV (get out the vote) activities. Turn to those within your group who have experience at community organizing. 9. Keep in mind what you are doing, why it is needed, who supports you, and who and what you are as a campaign. Stay on message. Repeat the message over and over again. Make sure everyone else is on message too. Campaigns are all about defining the questions, controlling the terms of the debate, getting the voters to absorb and retain your message. Keep it simple, and say it over and over again. 21

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