Properly communicating and educating voters about the November referendum was an issue that emerged during a Litchfield School Board discussion Monday.
The School Board will place three questions on the ballot Nov. 5. One question will deal with an operating levy to provide additional funding for classroom instruction. Meanwhile, two questions will focus on bonding, which involves building construction or improvements.
A great deal of social media communication via Facebook and Twitter is ongoing, said Ryan Hoffman, program manager for ICS Consulting, the company assisting the district with the project.
“Along with a variety of things on the paper,” Hoffman said, “and the radio, website, posters, flyers, as you see here, we have fast facts out in all the buildings at this point, in the main entry, so people see that, and understand that something’s happening, and ask questions. And that’s really what it’s all about, to make sure that when they see or hear something that they’re asking questions to the appropriate people. And the website is kind of a host for all that different information.”
Early voting begins Sept. 20, from which the School Board hopes to gauge residents’ level of participation and overall voter turnout.
Board member Greg Mathews asked Hoffman what the grand strategy is to reach voters who might be hard to reach via social media.
“The strategy I think, kind of, whether it’s now or when we started was … making the correct decision,” Hoffman said. “So that’s pushing the right information to the right people that need it. So that’s what we’ll be continuing to do. As the district standpoint, it’s not (to) sway people. It’s not to argue or to justify. It’s to inform them of what the need is, and what you’re doing to solve the needs. So that’s basically, that is the strategy. We know that the people that it’s going to affect the most are the kids in the buildings.”
“How do we know that our message is getting to the public?” Mathews asked, voicing concern about a poor voter turnout and participation during the November election.
“It isn’t uncommon to not hear a whole lot until a couple of weeks prior (to the election),” Hoffman said, “and that’s not scary. You might actually have those anxieties as we move closer to November, that ‘you haven’t heard anything,’ ‘why aren’t people talking about it?’ … When you have a storm maybe, or a lot of volatility, that’s when you start to hear some things earlier. So again, it’s just to make sure that we’re getting the people the information that they need to make an informed decision. And if they don’t like what they see or disagree with it, that’s their prerogative…”