Lee Schools looking at ways to "bypass" media?

Matt Grant

Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Lee Schools looking at ways to "bypass" media?

CREATED Oct. 26, 2012

FORT MYERS - At Friday's school board workshop the talk wasn't about kids but how best to market the Lee County School District.

"Who are we?," asked board member Tom Scott. "What is the brand we want to sell?"

To change the public's perception, the district is looking to target young parents and business professionals by tapping into social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and promotional web videos.

"We've got to make sure that we're doing out part as board members to get those success stories out to everybody," said board member Jeanne Dozier. "Change that perception that oh it's all doom and gloom because it's not all doom and gloom."

The school hired a consultant to help publicize the results of $118,000 community survey, the results of which have already been made public.

But talk soon turned to the district's overall communication strategy.

"The first thing we have to do is stop depending on the media to tell our story," said the consultant. "You've got tools to bypass or overcome negative media."

Board member Tom Scott talked about bypassing the media.

"I won't answer a lot of their questions 'cause, quite frankly, it's kind of stupid and insulting," said Scott. "I think if we stop answering some of those stupid questions we'd be a lot better off and they'd leave us alone."

Scott did not say what questions he found insulting but hinted the district should not respond when viewers come to us with concerns - like parents who felt their bus stops were too dangerous.

"What we have is a reaction to every little goofy complaint that comes up," said Scott. "The bus stop, 'My child has to walk past an alligator.' Well, we're in Florida you got 'em around here."

Board member Mary Fischer says an increase in social media is not meant to cut the news media out but rather to get out positive stories that sometimes get overlooked.

"We want you to help us tell our story," said Fischer. "I think people are ready for some good news."

Fox 4 asked the district how much taxpayers are paying for the consultant. We are still waiting to hear back.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com

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