Since 2014, Nacogdoches ISD had endured leadership changes, public distrust, low TEA ratings, and harsh criticism, including two consecutive bond elections handily defeated by voters in 2014 and 2015. 2018 brought a new interim superintendent, an increase in district employee morale, and a positive swing in the public’s perception of the district. With these improvements, the district determined the timing to be right to pursue a bond election to also improve their educational facilities. Nacogdoches ISD hired The Educated Vote to participate in the bond planning process and lead the communication campaign.
The Educated Vote teammates attended all bond planning meetings, taking note of the Nacogdoches community members’ questions, concerns, and reasons for their recommendation to administration on what projects to include in a potential bond. The Committee’s recommendation for a $77.995 million bond was unanimously approved by the Nacogdoches ISD Board of Trustees and placed on the November 6, 2018 ballot.
The Educated Vote consulted with district administration regarding strategies to clearly communicate the bond referendum. The Educated Vote provided the district with various informational flyers and a community forum presentation. The Educated Vote also spearheaded the communications campaign for the committee that formed to support the bond, Back the Nac!. The committee’s campaign capitalized on the positive momentum around Nacogdoches ISD’s “return”, encouraging voters to back their students and future by backing their district at the polls. The committee’s campaign employed strategies such as yard signs and road signs, direct mail, push cards, posters, a pep rally, and social media.
The Nacogdoches ISD 2018 Bond was on the ballot the same year as a Texas midterm election that saw record-breaking numbers of new registered voters and turnout at the polls. Often not the case, support for the bond increased a full percentage point after Election Day votes were counted. Despite the district’s history of failing bond elections, voters backed their school district and supported the 2018 Bond, approving the referendum by a comfortable 68% margin.