The Securing All Future Education committee, or S.A.F.E., is working both online and in the community to encourage Springfield Platteview Community Schools district residents to vote for the $35.7 million bond issue.
S.A.F.E.’s Facebook page, facebook.com/spschoolbond, and Twitter account, @2vote4yes, have both been getting the word out about the reasons for the bond with specific examples and photographs of areas of the schools in need of improvement.
The group has met for the past three Saturdays to figure out how to get started and where to go next in promoting the bond issue.
Darren Carlson, the group’s publicity chair, said that the social media component “has to come first these days.”
“My point of view is that social media is everywhere right now,” he said. “It’s an easy way for people interested in this issue to get more information at their own comfort level, from their own living rooms.”
Carlson also felt it was a good way to get photos out to the public, an important part of the process.
“When the district did its in-person tours of the school buildings, it opened a lot of eyes,” Carlson said. “One of the primary focuses of going to the web was to create a virtual tour for people. Seeing is believing.”
The Facebook page got to more than 150 fans in a matter of a few days.
“It’s a pretty good indicator of interest,” Carlson said. “It’s not a large district, but it tells you how many people use social media and how much interest there could be in this bond issue.”
The group’s Saturday meetings have drawn more than 25 people who were interested enough to get involved.
“There are many district residents and parents who want to help promote this issue,” Carlson said. “Once the committee is finalized, there will be a series of opportunities for people to learn more and get involved.”
The S.A.F.E. committee’s focus is on helping voters see what Carlson calls the three big-picture ideas behind the bond issue: safety concerns, infrastructural needs and educational needs.
“A lot of our social media energy is dedicated to putting up pictures of conditions and challenges,” he said. “It makes it clear that the things asked for in the bond issue are needs, not luxuries. Our administrators and teachers are doing a great job at making 21st-century learners, but those are not 21st-century schools.”
As the election nears, the S.A.F.E. committee is moving its effort from the digital to the physical. Committee members canvassed the community last weekend to hand out information, including details of the ballot and the deadline for mailing it back in. They are also planning to pass out pamphlets and information at community events.
“We’re trying to make ourselves as available as possible in the next few weeks,” Carlson said.
The group will also have yard signs available as reminders to the community to vote.
Those seeking more information on the issues can visit the S.A.F.E. committee’s social media sites or attend one of the 8:30 a.m. Saturday meetings of the committee in the high school’s cafeteria.
The district itself is also hosting informational meetings about the bond issue and conducting tours from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 26 at all four schools in the district.
Additional information on both the election and the Oct. 26 event can be found in this week’s “Mark it Down.” Look for more on the bond in next week’s Springfield Monitor.