Harper College tax rate referendum : organization and strategy with emphasis on public relations
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The topic investigated in this study is the organization and strategy for conducting a successful tax rate increase referendum campaign with emphasis on the importance of a strong public relations program. The topic was selected because there is a great need for local tax support of public community colleges as competition increases for state funding for all levels of education and as tuition costs escalate to the extent that an opportunity for higher education may become an economic impossibility for many members of society. The strategies outlined in this study are designed primarily for conducting referenda campaigns in community colleges. However, many of the public relations and campaign activities described have application for any school system or organization dependent on appealing to local voters to increase tax support for operation of educational programs or activities. A survey of the literature regarding community college funding produces numerous books, articles, and speeches documenting the need for additional local tax funding. However, there is clearly a lack of information in the literature regarding how to plan and implement a successful tax rate increase campaign to produce the necessary local tax revenue to meet that funding need. This study contains an analysis of an unsuccessful referendum, as well as organizational charts, time lines, and public relations activities which have resulted in successful tax increase referenda.