December advocacy tip: Lay the foundation for successful legislative advocacy

NOW is the time to get started on your advocacy efforts with your state legislators before the 2019-20 legislative session begins on January 7.  Make a friend before you need a friend!  For more tips and advice from WASB on advocacy, see the newly updated Legislative Advocacy Toolkit. Here are some things to consider for laying the groundwork for your advocacy plan:

  • If you haven’t already done so, adopt or review your board advocacy plan whether by a motion, a general consensus, a written plan, or an official board policy (NOTE: Policy Resource Guide subscribers can access a sample policy). Set your plan and assign duties. (See: Toolkit p. 5)
  • Search for your legislators on social media (Facebook & Twitter) and Friend/Follow them.
  • Go to your legislators websites and sign up for their E-Updates. Send them your district newsletter.
  • Make initial contact (See Toolkit p. 23 for a sample message):
    • Congratulations on your election/re-election;
    • We look forward to working with you;
    • Invite them to your schools to spend time with your students;
    • Invite them to a board meeting; and
    • Offer specific dates and follow up.
  • Pass a board resolution (See: Toolkit p. 12) compiling a list of your school district’s most pressing needs and send to your legislators and the governor.
  • Identify any changes in state law or ideas for legislation that would benefit your district.

By following these steps you can be prepared and set the stage for a successful legislative session for your school district and K-12 in general.  As always, please utilize the resources WASB offers for our members (see Toolkit p. 3). We know you are busy, let us do some of the work for you. The more school boards that begin developing a relationship with their state legislators, the more effective we will be as a whole. Thank you!