Two days after Daniel Gallagher signed on as superintendent of Little Elm Independent School District, the school board called a bond election.
Before taking the helm at Little Elm, Gallagher was assistant superintendent of the fastgrowing district just inside the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Because of that, he knew the district needed to run a bond campaign. The reality of driving that forward so early in his superintendency was still daunting.
“I knew it was coming,” Gallagher says. “But it was a bit overwhelming as a new superintendent that the bond package and passing of the bond was my responsibility.” The district hadn’t passed a bond since 2002. Furthermore, it needed new facilities and upgrades to accommodate a projected 1,300 new students in the next five years. To get support, Gallagher knew he had to consult the community meaningfully to understand what mattered in their school facilities. Luckily, he had recent data from ThoughtExchange to inform his understanding.
“When school districts go out for bonds and don’t involve the community or communicate well, passing them can be difficult,” he shares. “I wanted to make sure we incorporated ThoughtExchange in the process.”
Building trust and support for a successful election
When Little Elm put the proposal in front of voters, they responded with nearly 69 percent support for the bond package.
“Because we used ThoughtExchange along with some other tools, our bond passed by a significant margin,” Gallagher says. “I would say to school districts out there considering taking a bond proposition to the voters, be prepared and know how to communicate. ThoughtExchange was an important tool for us to use in that process.”
Gallagher was pleased with the congratulations he received for passing the bond so early in his superintendency. However, as he told the Little Elm Journal,1 he’s more excited about what it means for students:
“This first thing I told people is that it’s not about me. I feel so good about this because it’s a win for the kids. The changes were long overdue. We’re excited about our kids having the same opportunities that other kids have in districts around them.”
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- Board direction to create a bond package and run a campaign two days after signing on as a new superintendent
- ThoughtExchange data enabled leadership to build a bond package based on what mattered most to stakeholders and the district
- 69% support for a $240 million bond on an election held just 14 weeks after becoming a new superintendent