Collin College last held a bond election in 2001. Since that time, the college and county continued to see exponential growth. After receiving demographic information that Collin County was projected to triple in population by 2040, Collin College engaged a team of professional demographers, architects, engineers, and market analysis experts to study the college’s service region and develop a prioritized list of facility needs that responded to an expansion of relevant educational and workforce training programs.
The findings of that assignment were presented to a volunteer committee of county stakeholders — business owners, parents, and government officials – who represented a diverse cross-section of Collin County communities. Over a series of many intense planning sessions, the Committee of 100 worked to vet and prioritize a building program that was adopted by the Collin College Board of Trustees as a long-range master plan. In turn, the Board voted to place a $600 million bond measure on the May 6, 2017 ballot.
Collin College hired The Educated Vote to provide guidance and consulting services for the college’s internally-led communication campaign; The Educated Vote also organized and led a community committee that formed to support the bond. The committee campaign implemented various strategies, including campaign signage, targeted advertising and direct mail, community presentations, gathering and publishing endorsements from key individuals, and an aggressive social media campaign. In particular, the committee found that Facebook advertising was an inexpensive yet incredibly effective way of reaching and motivating Collin College voters who were not able to participate in weekly committee activities.
Even though Collin County is located in an area of North Texas where voters tend to not support public debt and even though the college did receive pushback to the bond measure, Collin College and the advocacy committee’s efforts to continuously communicate information to the voters led to the 2017 Bond being approved at the polls by a 56% margin.