Should school districts be allowed to hire organizations to promote and manage referendum campaigns ?

What do you think ?Should school district be permitted to hire an organization to manage and promote referendums for a small percentage?

Bonus question? How much do you think Red Clay spent in promoting their last referendums? 

 

 

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22 responses to “Should school districts be allowed to hire organizations to promote and manage referendum campaigns ?

  1. Are these options that you’re describing (paying ref. consultants–individual or firms) currently not allowed? I would think it’s up to district admin to determine what has good value for them, and to the taxpayers to decide whether or not to support these decisions (by voting). I can certainly see the logic in paying for ref. support if that generates the necessary pos. votes–a huge return on investment.

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  2. Eve, do you think the decision to pay a consultant should be a collaborative one or an exercise in unilateral fiat?

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    • Publius e decere

      I suppose it is an executive decision.

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    • JY–I don’t know; it would depend on district precedent. If the consultant is effectively a temporary staff member, that sounds like a district office decision. If it’s a more substantial contract, that might go before the board–depending on how the board has determined to deal with consultant contracts. My thought, as a matter of policy, would be that above some threshold amount, the board should be consulted (whatever the consultancy is used for). For smaller expenditures, I would expect authority to lie with the Super–the board always free to end his contract if they object to his (or her) decisions regarding consultant contracts. Whatever the policy, it should presumably be applied consistently.

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  3. Publius e decere

    Kilroy poses great questions. How much did Red Clay spend to run their last referendum election? It must have been a lot, since they chose to spend money to fight the resulting lawsuit rather than to rerun the election. I guess lawyers are less expensive. Unless of course they were to lose the rerun, or the lawyers end up losing the defense.

    As for the percentage question, how small is a “small” percentage? On this second point I — in a rare moment — agree with Eve that hiring an advisor can pay “dividends” or a “return on investment” which can be in the public interest if the tax increase is truly needed (another landscape of comments altogether). A 1% fee on the first year’s tax increase? Sounds small to some and large to others. But remember that the tax increase is a perpetual annuity income stream for the district while the advisor’s fee is a one-time event up front. So 1% of the first year is less than 0.05% of the present value of the annuity.

    Of course the advisor has to deliver a winning referendum. By legal means (studying Red Clay’s lawsuit might be a place to start this schooling). By winning, the “one percenter” is worth every penny paid by the district.

    Another case where paying the one-percenter is the smart money 🙂

    Publius

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  4. In the spirit of fair elections, if you are going to pay public funds to support the referendum, I’d say you have to spend equal funds to oppose the referendum. Sounds dumb doesn’t it? Let’s call the whole thing off and just vote without money changing hands.

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    • Publius e decere

      Actually, that is a good point. But to follow it with fidelity, shouldn’t we also stop holding school elections in school buildings (an advantage to voters with a pecuniary interest). Shouldn’t we also stop swallowing the fiction that a union member on a school board doesn’t have a pecuniary conflict of interest? Shouldn’t we also stop subsidizing (through tax funds) an administrative staff which regularly acts on the belief that district-managed schools are first-among-equals over charter-managed public schools? Shouldn’t we also be entitled to see that — and question why — the state teachers’ union “executive director” send his ordinary kids to high-tuition private school?

      If starting the debate ends with the proper diminution of district hubris, then I am all for it. Give the people what they want. They want charter schools? Give it to them. The want district schools, give it to them. So long as both are efficiently funded. Demand should drive the number of — and size of — these schools. Not some tortuous philosophy about what “should” be. And not some tax-funded subsidy for a low-demand school.

      Publius

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  5. In the event of a win, how do you attribute victory to the consultant? Just because you hired them? So, if a district that is likely to win, has a super who appoints a “buddy” in that role, just to get them a paycheck on the backs of the taxpayers, that’s ok?

    No way. It’s simply wrong to pay taxpayer money to solicit for more taxpayer money when the function of that “employee” is exclusively to do just that, IMO.

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    • Publius e decere

      Well, I think that CSD has a two-time-losing record within the past year. On the record. I don’t think it is logical to presume that “this time” the district is likely to win all on its own. The advisor is the new element. So if the “change” is a new advisor with different tools in the kit then yes, if the referendum passes then the advisor was certainly the primary the catalyst. Let the advisor get paid in proportion to the benefit delivered. 1% of the first year’s tax benefit is quite fair. Call it intellectual property, pay for performance, whatever. The last two attempts failed miserably. If this one passes, give credit to the new advisor.

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    • active listening skills: so, if CSD loses, no payment is you position as I read it. Also, you are suggesting payment of $150K for a 30 cent win, BTW. I know you care for your friend, but really?

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    • active listening skills: so, if CSD loses, no payment is your position as I read it. Also, you are suggesting payment of $150K for a 30 cent win, BTW. I know you care for your friend, but really?

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    • Publius e decere

      Sure John — no win, no pay. But if there is a win, then yes pay the advisor. Like Ice Cube says: “Pay the man”. 1% is 1%. Pay it. It is certainly less that 15% per week.

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    • Publius e decere

      Or you could pay on a neutral basis: regardless of win or lose, you could pay the advisor — say — $150 per hour. But if the referendum loses again (probably due to your presence) then everyone will feel bad about paying for no results. I think that you are better off paying for a win, not for an effort. Go all in … Be The Whale. Big win, big payday. THAT is the American Way.

      Publius

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    • Publius e decere

      Of course there would be little debate if the district actually developed its onw people to be able to pull off a win. But after two back-to-back failures, what could have changed? All of those Friends Of Christina failed twice in a row, so Ms Buckley and her saccharine prescriptives failed absolutely and repeatedly. You and most of your peers are the same board members who presided over those two failures. We “could” attribute the new success (if it occurs) to the new board member — without pay — but the success is more likely the result of the advisor(s) which the new board member brought in.

      Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish. Pay the One Percent the one percent. They are schooling you. Be schooled.

      Publius

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  6. The best way to pass a referendum is to give your vocal, probable voters what they want (it’s not necessarily a majority but shame on those that don’t vote) RC has mastered this plan as has appo. They seem to be the most successful. CSD went an entirely different way in hiring a series of Broad supers who cater to the urban educational philosophy (I will let others expand on that) and then a homegrown guy killing time.
    John young my guess is you are getting an earful now about giving likely voters what they want. I think I read about CSD exploring magnet programs etc.
    as for a consultant, not necessary. Work your district and building level admin hard and have them connect with key community members, glad hand them and give the people what they want a safe school away from those that don’t want it.

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  7. Gee, do Charter Schools need permission to spend millions of dollars on well-heeled and powerful lobbyists who roam the halls of Dover in ever increasing numbers specifically engaged in charter protection and benefits (at a hefty cost to “traditional school” needs. (read 90% of students), and “gee” does some of that money come from taxpayer funded referendums. Answers #1: NO (and they do) and #2 YES (and it is)
    Representative John Kowalko

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    • Publius e decere

      John,

      You are without equal. Think about it. If you can 🙂

      Tell us —

      Where (by specific instance) the “millions” are being spent in Delaware for those “powerful lobbyists” for charter schools, and

      Why is it that you appear to be completely emasculated by them? Please answer both parts. (Especially this second part).

      After you pass the tests above, then please tell us why such practices (if they exist) exact a “hefty cost” to “traditional school needs”. If they exist at all — they would seem to be practices which “exact a hefty cost to charter schools”. Why would a school spend money on something other than direct education? Maybe it would spend money to survive in order to educate. Wouldn’t it make sense for a charter school find it worthwhile to fend off a off-balanced press-centric wild-haired person such as [fill in blank here, after consulting a mirror]?

      I realize that you blog-comment before you think. Typically. Assuming you can think, please take all the time you need and respond thoughtfully.

      To quote Sam Rayburn: “Any jackass can kick down a barn, it takes a carpenter to build one.”. Jesus, yes! Get a tool and get in the game.

      Publius

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    • lastDEconservative

      I keep thinking the last time Kwacko jumped the shark will be the last time Kwacko jumps the shark. I keep being wrong.

      And now he’s seeing things in the hallways. Would that there was one adult in the state house to turn on the light and chase away the shadows for our poor soul denizen.

      “Why is it that you appear to be completely emasculated by them?” (ROTFLMAO)

      Good one, Publius. Maybe it’s the sheer numbers. Million$ buys a lot of roamers, I guess. Maybe it’s their physical size, knowing how small our resident barn kicker is. Maybe those heels have knives in them. Methinks our Kwacko deserves (needs) an IRP ( … Representative … ).

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    • JK
      Gee, 1.)Do charters need parents and students to specifically “choose” to attend them for their specific interest (30%-40% of students or more if charters had the capacity) and/or 2.) Could parents/ students attain these specific interests/ learning environments in the TPS? Answers #1: YES (that means the charters have a vested interest in preventing attendance hurting illogical hurdles being placed in their way by philosophically biased legislators) and #2: NO (which is why the alternative schools have come to be in demand.)
      Gee, 3.) Should TPS’s be required to poll their constituents before referendums to clearly understand what the majority of the public wants (AND PUBLISH THE RESULTS) OR 4.)Should the district administration push for its “Wish list” of things to do? [I’m OK paying for a poll but then the TPS should be legally bound to provide exactly what the results of the poll describe.] (Provide full day kindergarten for ALL children vs. relocate administrative offices and only provide full day kindergarten to those who are deemed “worthy”. Provide and demand grade appropriate education vs. lower the grading standards to allow a higher HS pass rate. Provide security by curtailing and punishing inappropriate behavior vs. tolerating inappropriate behavior like bringing a loaded gun to NHS or muggings to occur at CHS. Provide qualified education staff with “reasonable” facilities for ALL schools vs. providing wrap around services for laundering, aftercare and extracurricular activities to those “considered” more worthy. Provide specific interest Magnate schools vs. thumb administration noses at the thought of a selection process based on interest or capability) Answers : #3 YES (so it is “transparent” what the public really wants the schools to provide) and #4: NO (Since that is what the districts have BEEN doing which has consequently destroyed the trust of the residents who pay the bills)
      There shouldn’t be a need to have lobbyists for schools but there also shouldn’t be a need to have charters either. If the schools were meeting the public’s demands, there would be no charters nor charter lobbyists now would there. Chicken – Egg – Chicken – Egg

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    • lastDEconservative

      “There shouldn’t be a need to have lobbyists for schools but there also shouldn’t be a need to have charters either. ”

      Brilliant.

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  8. Mmmm. Last time I checked most of the districts in this state still pay into a once-upon-a-time-well-heeled and powerful lobbyist organization who paid its chief to roam the halls of Dover oft supporting every gimmick and gimme that was wrong with public education, traditional and charter.

    It would seem that what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander. IMO. Which clearly isn’t much to crow home about these days, from my perch as just a parent.

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