Aitkin School Board Graphic

After making information available to the public at the Aitkin County Fair July 8-10, the Aitkin School Board heard an update from Rapp Strategies at its July 12 work session on communication going forward on its second attempt at a capital projects levy.

Todd Stone from Rapp came into the work session to give the board an update on what’s coming from the company in the coming weeks.

Stone said that the district’s microsite for the CPL should be ready and launched by July 21, and the brand logo for the CPL is the phrase “All for One” – referencing the work being done for Aitkin, which is Independent School District No. 1.

He also outlined a schedule for social media posts – ones that promote the microsite and the information it will provide, as well as highlighting important dates, like the start of early voting.

School board member Dawn Houser complimented Stone on the information that was put together for the fair and said that the board needs this information communicated numerous times to the public.

“We have people in our society that need lots of facts and lots of information,” said Houser, who also received reassurance that a calendar has been created for each stage of communication.

Other options for communicating the information – which will hopefully include a tax calculator for figuring out how individuals’ taxes will be impacted, as well as the large number of district “needs” at the moment – were discussed. While social media was highly touted, board members also raised the idea of placing an insert in local papers, and Stone suggested direct mailing. Houser also pointed out that starting a Facebook group so people could ask questions and discuss the CPL could be advantageous.

The Aitkin County Fair was the first of many stops by the district to communicate the need of the CPL and how it will impact taxpayers. Aitkin Superintendent Dan Stifter also visited the Minnesota Association of Townships meeting July 15.

Among the information Stifter shared at that meeting was the impact if the CPL fails – another cut of staff in the schools, this time between 10-12 positions.

The district is planning on attending meetings in the coming months of various organizations and municipalities, all in hopes of getting voters on board.

Stone did point out that of the 57 referendums that Rapp Strategies has worked on, 40 have passed.

“We really like doing this work,” Stone said, adding that the company recognizes that schools are the center of many communities.

Aitkin Age Reporter Rebecca Fudala contributed to this story.

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