Medium 9781475823912

Jspr Vol 29-N1

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

School districts in Ohio frequently ask their resident stakeholders to approve tax referenda for general operations and capital outlay. In the March 4, 2008, election, over half the initiatives for public school funding were defeated. Some analysts blamed a poor economy, and others contended that the negative votes were in protest to escalating property taxes. Although these issues were no doubt important to some citizens, they were not sufficiently influential to derail a myriad of successful referenda. In truth, sustained stakeholder support depends on sustained symbiotic relationships between schools and the communities whom they directly serve. All too often, communication and goodwill building matter only when school officials seek fiscal and political support. This is one reason why the Journal of School Public Relations remains a beacon for examining such issues as school partnerships, community education, and relational communication. Although this is not a theme issue, all the articles directly or indirectly shed light on school and community collaboration.

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Taking the Reins: An Interview With Marsha Chappelow

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SARAH BETH WOODRUFF

ABSTRACT: In an interview conducted shortly after assuming the presidency of the National School Public Relations Association, Marsha Chappelow shared her insights and vision for the association. Her vision stresses the importance of ensuring that the association remain a relevant resource for school district leaders as the expectations on schools intensify and multiply. School public relations programs are a necessity rather than a luxury for contemporary schools as support for public education wanes. Chappelow discusses her goals as president and the priorities of the association.

Founded in 1935, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) supports school administrators by providing school communication training, products, and services. The work of the NSPRA focuses on advancing education through responsible communication utilizing practical, proactive approaches to solving school district communication problems. Leadership of the NSPRA remains responsive to the changing educational landscape by engaging in a strategic planning process that results in its updating the association’s mission, goals, and objectives every 2 years.

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An Examination of Stakeholders’ Perceptions of the Collaborative Process Utilized Within a School-Linked Integrated Partnership

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CYNTHIA H. BAKE

BARBARA N. MARTIN

ABSTRACT: This study used a school-linked service integration model as a unit of analysis—namely, Missouri Communities That Care. It examined collaboration as a developmental process of reform for fragmented service delivery as viewed through the lens of social capital theory. As such, six research questions emerged. Findings reveal that for schools to respond effectively, they must implement an integrated service delivery alternative aimed at creating a capacity for response to nonacademic barriers to learning. Critical processes include the ability for systems to self-organize, develop trust and so overcome feelings of vulnerability and turfism, and select leaders who demonstrate a collaborative spirit.

School-linked integrated services are part of a larger movement toward service integration among education and social service agencies (Matthews & Menna, 2003). However, fragmentation, redundancy, and lack of access to services are barriers affecting outcomes of such partnerships (Ledford, 2001). The viable solution for these service delivery issues is that of collaboration (Dryfoos, 2002). Whereas the literature is rich with a resounding cry for collaboration as a solution to fragmented service delivery systems, little is known about effective working models that follow a developmental collaborative process.

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Try, Try, Again: A Two-Step Strategy for Passing School Levies

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PAUL A. JOHNSON

ABSTRACT: Passing property tax issues is an increasing challenge for many school districts. This article examines 21 school levy strategies identified through a literature review associated with successful school levy campaigns. These strategies were then used as a framework to evaluate one district’s attempts to pass a school bond levy. Whereas the study confirms the importance of these strategies, it also presents evidence regarding a two-step approach to planning levy campaigns that might help districts pass levies. Suggestions for further research are discussed.

The newspaper headline said it all: “Try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again” (King, 2007, p. 1). An Ohio school district had just failed to pass a local property tax levy for the seventh time—this time, by only one vote. Whereas eight tries to pass the same levy may seem extreme, by Ohio standards it is not. According to a study conducted by Funai (1993), only 13% of Ohio school property tax levies pass on the first attempt. This low initial passage rate may be in part due to the fact that Ohio school districts are reliant on local property tax levies for the operation of their schools. In fact, according to Fleeter (2007), of the Ohio Tax Policy Institute, “Ohio relies on voter approval of tax levies to support public education to a greater extent than any other state in the nation” (p. 1). That from 1994 to 2006 there were 3,433 local school tax issues on ballots in Ohio certainly lends credence to this claim.

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Teacher Perceptions of the Use of a Public–Private Partnership for School Facility Provision

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JILL BRADLEY-LEVINE

ABSTRACT: This article considers how the private finance initiative, a contract for infrastructure, affected teachers’ perceptions of efficacy, job satisfaction, and morale at an urban secondary school in the United Kingdom. Qualitative data collection techniques, including unstructured observation and semistructured personal interviews, were utilized to determine teachers’ perceptions. The findings indicate that two facets of the initiative were problematic for educational programming: the private corporation’s control over construction design and its subsequent control over facility management. Implications of this research for lease–purchase agreements in the United States are discussed.

The private finance initiative (PFI), a policy introduced in the United Kingdom, is a legal contract between a private company and a public service provider, and it falls under the heading of a public–private partnership contract. The primary use of this concept has been to build new schools and update existing buildings. Advocates claim that public– private partnerships decrease construction time, lower building costs, maximize the use of school facilities, and benefit the community (Utt, 2001).

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