School District Services

FM3 has long experience in helping school districts win voter approval for education funding measures, such as bonds and parcel taxes. FM3 is expert in conducting voter opinion research and applying that expertise through voter surveys and other research techniques to ascertain the feasibility of passing an education funding ballot measure. If a measure is to be placed on the ballot, FM3 can help shape the communications campaign that is essential for obtaining majority support from the electorate.

Since the passage of California's Proposition 39, which lowered the majority required to pass education finance bonds from two-thirds to 55 percent, California school districts have had a better chance to win voter approval of bond measures for needed repairs, upgrades and facilities expansion. However, even with a lower threshold of public approval, bond measures are not easy to pass, particularly in the current climate of economic uncertainty, cutbacks on basic services and possible tax increases to offset a major state budget deficit. The two-thirds supermajority needed for a parcel tax or any other type of dedicated special tax in California remains a daunting hurdle even in the best of times.

To succeed in this electoral environment, accurate, reliable and strategically useful voter opinion research is an essential tool. For example, an initial baseline survey can determine the overall feasibility and voter acceptance of a bond or parcel tax measure at different funding levels. It can test how voters respond to different versions of the ballot title and summary, and - through analysis of respondent demographics and past voting patterns - it can help determine which election calendar promises the greatest likelihood of success. The same survey can also determine the effectiveness of the rationales and arguments that might be offered for and against a bond or parcel tax measure, thus helping shape the communications themes that will explain how the measure addresses voters' concerns.

FM3 has been in the public policy oriented research business for more than two decades. In that time, it has helped K-12 and community college districts in California pass more than $18 billion worth of bonds, over half since the passage of Proposition 39 in 2000. FM3 has also been successful in helping numerous school districts and local jurisdictions win approval for parcel and other special taxes that require a two-thirds voter majority.

Further, in addition to helping school districts win voter approval for bond and parcel tax measures, FM3 surveys and focus groups are also used by school districts as management tools to understand attitudes among the public and special constituencies, such as instructors or students, towards policies and programs.

FM3 offers several advantages to school districts that ask the firm to work for them. FM3 has conducted voter opinion research for a broad array of school districts, from the small and rural to the largest urban districts. FM3's work is custom-designed to fit the circumstances since every bond or parcel tax measure election, and the Company applies the most sophisticated analytical tools to report and interpret results for people who need to make real, often difficult, decisions. FM3 works with its clients to perfect ballot language and voter pamphlet arguments, using our empirical data to guide our advice. FM3 will assist its clients and their communications consultants develop public education and election campaign strategies. For a list of FM3 clients who have used the firm's services in successfully submitting education finance measures to local voters, click here.

We would welcome the opportunity to further discuss your needs and FM3's qualifications and capabilities. Please feel free to contact us at 310NoSkype -828-1183, or at fm3research@fm3research.com.