ELKHART LAKE — Responses to a survey have expressed overall high satisfaction with the school district and support for a referendum.
Bill Foster, a representative from School Perceptions (a private research company that administers surveys for public and private schools), gave the school board a presentation at its July 16 meeting reviewing survey results.
The survey, administered this past May and June, was mailed to all school district residents. Each survey carried a unique code, by which respondents could take the survey online, if they wished.
School Perceptions received 364 total responses: 136 on paper, 228 online.
Among the results Foster shared with the board:
• On how the school is doing in building community pride, delivering high-quality education, preparing students for life, school facility maintenance, working with area businesses, and keeping the public informed, ratings were above 3, where 3 is Good and 4 is Great.
For this and several other survey items, respondents were broken into three non-overlapping groups: Staff, parents (non-staff), and non-parents (non-staff). High scores were fairly consistent across these three groups. Foster said it is rare to see that.
• 48 percent are “very satisfied” and 42 percent “satisfied” with the district. Three percent are “not satisfied”; and no one replied “very unsatisfied.”
“That is the best I’ve ever seen,” said Foster. “That’s outstanding.”
• Out of several options, potential initiatives receiving most support were helping students plan for careers and post-high school life; keeping up to date with technology; continuing to offer students opportunities to earn college credits while in high school; and recruiting and maintaining high-quality staff.
• Out of several options to improve student learning, the top choice was for maintaining small class sizes.
• The survey gave background on a possible referendum, including how it would affect the tax mill rate. Respondents were asked if they would support it. Responses were broken into several taxpying categories:
For all taxpayers, 50 percent replied “definitely yes,” 29 percent “probably yes.”
For staff taxpayers, 70 percent “definitely” and 26 percent “probably.”
Parent taxpayers: 56 and 26 percent.
Non-parent, non-staff taxpayers: 42 and 32.
• Of three potential projects for the district, there was high support for updating bleachers and lighting at the football/soccer fields; updating the auditorium; and renovating the culinary arts classroom/lab.
• Over half the parents preferred keeping the school calendar as it is.
Respondents were allowed to submit comments. Foster said these are being organized and will be presented to the school.
Other board business
Prior to the regular meeting, the board had met with a representative of Baird Financials, to work on the district’s long-term financial plan. The board unanimously agreed that a referendum will be needed to meet the district’s financial needs.
District Superintendent Dr. Ann Buechel Haack gave a summary of maintenance projects taking place during the summer.
Joel Schuler was appointed delegate to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) convention in Madison.
The board unanimously approved:
• Accepting several donations, with expressed gratitude. Donations were received from the EL-G Future Farmers of America; the EL-G Plant Account; and Sargento, which donated $20,000 toward the purchase of a robotic arm.
• Awarding the 2018-19 milk contract to Engelhardt Dairy.
• Adoption of the Wisconsin Academic Standards.
• Revisions to the employee handbooks.
Elementary Principal Deb Hammann’s JK-8 highlights included completion of summer school; mailing of registration packets; Sneak Peek; staff changes for the coming school year.
High School Principal Ryan Faris’ highlights for the high school in the past month included Academic Career Planning meetings; meetings to review the athletic code; Welcome Back Night; the close of the baseball season; interviews for a library aide position; coming meetings for parents of students participating in fall sports.
The board voted to enter a closed session to discuss the HVAC project.
Rodney Schroeter of The Review staff