School bond ‘yes’ campaign has $7K budget

The campaign promoting the Greene County school district’s $21.48 million bond referendum has included community meetings, workplace presentations, a barrage of letters to the editor, yard signs, bulk mailings, advertising in all local media, T-shirts, door-to-door shoes-on-the-sidewalk campaigning, a video with cute elementary students and persuasive high school students, and even a billboard.

Billboard on Highway 4, just north of the overpass in Jefferson

According to Chris Deal, a member of the Our Kids, Our Future – Greene County committee, the goal has been to leave no stone unturned in the effort to educate all voters on the project’s potential.

By law, the school district can provide information about the project but can not directly campaign for its approval. The 87 members of the Our Kids, Our Future committee have taken on that task.

“Wat we have is 87 people who are passionate about this,” said Sid Jones who, with Deal, have spent close to a year developing the concept of a regional academy adjacent to a new high school, and then bringing it to the public.

Our Kids, Our Future – Greene County is registered with the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board (ICEDB) as a political action committee. The group has received about $7,000 in donations for the campaign. There have been two donations of $500, according to Jones, but most of the 40 or so donations have been in the $20-$100 range.

All donations will be reported to the ICEDB as required by a mid-May deadline. The report will be posted to the IEEDB website.

The campaign materials paid for by the Our Kids, Our Future committee have all carried a blue and black logo.

Earlier this week voters in the district received an informational red, glossy tri-fold as a bulk mailing. The brochure includes a description of the proposed project, information about the impact on taxes, other funding sources for the project, and voting information.

According to school superintendent Tim Christensen, the mailer includes only information about the project and the time and place to vote, as allowed by law.
It was prepared by OPN Architects, the firm hired by the board of education in November to assist with gathering input from the community about the proposed new campus, assess the current facilities, create conceptual drawings and a cost estimate based on the input, and provide expertise and materials for promoting a bond issue.

OPN is receiving $71,000 for those services. Should the bond referendum be approved by 60 percent or more of those who vote April 3, OPN will continue with the project. Those fees are set as a percentage of the total cost of the project.

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