TEXAS BUDGET CRUNCH CUTS IMPORTANT TIME FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO TELL THEIR GOOD NEWS, BUILD THEIR ONLINE COMMUNITIES

Texas Legislature Considering $15 Billion in Cuts, Possibly $5 Billion to Public Ed

DALLAS: Former Dallas schools spokesman and communications director Donald Claxton Wednesday said the proposed budget cuts being considered by the Legislature are creating a unique time for Texas school districts to highlight what’s working in their districts and needs to be a time for enhancing online community building among local businesses, taxpayers without children in schools, and parents.

The Texas Legislature is looking to shore up a $15 billion deficit with a proposed $5 billion of that coming from the budgets of public and higher education schools.

“Yes, it’s time for belt tightening across the board and a little ‘market correction’ now and then isn’t such a bad thing,” Claxton said, “but this is also a time for superintendents, board members and communications offices in school districts across the state to really showcase what’s working in their districts, and if they haven’t started building online social communities among local businesses, local taxpayers and parents, there’s no time like the present.”

Claxton said that social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and even a blog from a district’s superintendent are more than necessary at a time like this as they will help build public support for what’s good, and if necessary, strengthen opposition for what’s on the cutting block.

“Without a doubt, the news media is going to focus on the dramatic nature of what will be cut, how many teachers are going to be laid off, and the like,” Claxton said.  “It’s important for a school district to communicate the bad news with parents, preferably before it’s on the TV or in the paper the next morning.  Sure, there can be value in the “Granny getting kicked out of the nursing home” approach, but that can only go so far.  Positive, informative, timely and even-keeled social media messages can be just as or even more effective in generating increased public support and for putting pressure on local legislators to protect their district’s interests.”

After leaving public education in 2008 and working in corporate public relations until 2010, Claxton has formed his own Dallas public relations and social media company—with a specialty toward assisting school districts.  He is very involved in online community building having amassed more than 11,300 followers worldwide on Twitter, hundreds of “friends” on Facebook, and two Websites ranked within the top 112,000 sites in the US and both under the top 490,000 worldwide.

Claxton said in a budget crunch, building out social media campaigns don’t have to be expensive ventures.  He says the biggest investment is time and a genuine participation in the established communities.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a leading, cutting-edge agency that is cyber miles ahead of Old School PR firms. The company uses creative innovation and invention to impact social media, PR, branding, book publicity, CSR, market research and school district PR.

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