Osseo Area Schools ISD 279
Osseo Area Schools ISD 279, Minnesota, is the recipient of a prestigious Gold Medallion for their exceptional referendum marketing campaign, ‘Building a Better Future, Phase I.’
Osseo Area Schools, Minnesota’s fifth-largest district with a student population of over 20,000, achieved a remarkable feat in November 2022 by successfully passing a two-question referendum to increase operating and technology revenue, despite challenging tax circumstances. Osseo’s communications team, led by Kay Villella, APR, Director, School/Community Relations, partnered with CEL to develop a comprehensive strategic communications plan that would inform both internal and external audiences.
The ‘Building a Better Future’ campaign aligned with the district’s new strategic plan and is informed by comprehensive quantitative and qualitative research, which guided the campaign’s goals, objectives, timelines, strategies, tactics, and key messages. The district’s primary objective was to pass both referendum questions, and amidst a busy statewide election, their campaign aimed to raise awareness and motivate target audiences to vote by November 8, 2022.
To ensure the success of their communication efforts, Osseo Area Schools implemented a skillful and widespread campaign that reached internal and external audiences. Some of the campaign objectives included ensuring that staff members understood and could share basic information about the referendum, a total increase in community voter turnout and higher rates in certain demographic sectors, and ensuring that parents/caregivers of students in the district were aware of the referendum and voted.
Ultimately both referendum questions passed using a comprehensive and multifaceted communication plan that effectively reached stakeholders and motivated them to participate in the election. Notably, the district’s communications plan proved successful even amidst a crowded ballot that included the governor and all state offices, U.S. House representatives, local legislators, and a city proposal.
With the resounding success of the referendum campaign, Osseo Area Schools now looks ahead to a Phase II bond referendum campaign in 2023. By evaluating the outcomes of the previous campaign and conducting another community survey, the district is gathering valuable data to inform and shape its next endeavor. Osseo Area Schools is committed to continuously enhancing its educational offerings and facilities to ensure a bright future for its students. Congratulations, Osseo!