New Mexico’s Largest School District Leverages Public Affairs Expertise to Pass Capital Funding

Challenge: Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) is the 27th largest school district in the United States. After losing its first capital funding election in 12 years, the district tapped Tom Garrity’s expertise to earn the community’s trust and secure approval of the needed funds.

Solution: Tom Garrity created messages and developed an approach to earn the right for the district to be heard among its harshest critics. Consistent messages and transparency helped to earn the trust of 14,500 employees and community stakeholders including parents, grandparents and community leaders. We hosted a listening tour and developed a seven-step strategic plan to manage the process. Our team established a task force, composed of supporters and detractors, to provide insight on key issues.

Results: Public opinion surveys of community attitudes showed improved perception about APS among all target audiences. Most importantly, the capital funding election was approved by the largest margin and highest voter turnout in New Mexico school district history.


2002 Cumbre Best of Show Award, Public Relations Society of America New Mexico Chapter