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Metro Detroit School District

Metro Detroit School District

Suburban Detroit School District Sinking Fund Millage


The Objective

A large K – 12 school district had a sinking fund initiative on the ballot they needed to pass. If approved it would generate nearly $8 Million over the course of ten years. The first thing we did was to do research to find out the attitudes of voters in the district towards the district and the idea of passing a building and site sinking fund to support it.

A Sinking Fund is a millage levied in Michigan dedicated to supporting the repair and construction of school buildings.  The Sinking Fund is a pay-as-you-go method for building repairs and projects. The district does not pay interest on the money used.

Initial Research and Analysis

Research showed that the district was held in high regard and voters were generally in favor of the sinking fund. It also showed that a larger than before part of the population planned to vote absentee. This meant we needed to concentrate on getting the yes votes to vote in a non-presidential election. It also meant we had to start spreading the word earlier than usual, as many could cast their votes before Election Day. The research also showed that most people had never heard of a sinking fund and did not know what it was. So, another part of the task at hand was educating the public not only why we needed a sinking fund, but what it was.

Our Multi-Media Campaign Leads to Passing Vote

We launched a multi-media campaign that included PR, posters, flyers, direct mail, social media, online videos, infographics, paid social ads & digital ads, a special landing page on the district site, FAQ’s, email and in-person meetings with community groups, local organizations and more. And intensive social media strategy and content marketing strategy was created, as well as social media training for district staff.

The result: the initiative passed by a 2 to 1 margin. This gave the district needed funds and the superintendent the mandate she was looking for.