Bill Foster from School Perceptions told members of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and Horicon School Board that the 19% response rate for the community survey was typical. Foster talked about the survey results in a combined meeting of the two entities on Monday, Dec. 18.
“The survey had to do with the updating of the facilities,” said Foster. “The survey was conducted in November and December. This is really good data.” Each household received a survey in the mail, but could elect to take it online. Foster said that 607 responses had been received by School Perceptions.
The deadline had passed, but more surveys are ‘trickling in.’ “Once you get about 400 responses, the numbers don’t really change all that much,” said Foster. We did a preliminary report on Thursday and updated it today around noon, and I don’t think anything changed more than onehalf of a percent.
There is a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.” Foster was surprised about one thing – the number of senior citizens who answered the survey. At 20%, Foster said that is an over-representation of the normal response of that age group. He was happy to see that level of involvement from the senior citizens.
Seventeen percent of the respondents said they did not live in the school district. The survey was mailed to all in the school district, but staff members were also encouraged to participate. Not all staff members live in the district.
Foster said those two groups most likely made up the 17%. He assured those at the meeting that only the responses from those living in the district were used for the questions dealing with funding as they will be the ones voting on any possible referendum question(s). Sixty-three percent of the respondents did not have school-aged children.
Foster said that was also a great representation. A question asked of this group was where or how do they receive their information about the district. The largest percentage (51%) said they look to the Dodge County Pionier for information. “That’s very important as you think about future information to non-parents,” said Foster. “Keep in mind that this group makes up the vast majority of the voters when we look at the numbers for the questions regarding funding.”
The number two response was school mailings and number three was the Daily Citizen. What advice would you give the school board was asked of residents only, with three options. The first was to pursue a referendum to update our schools. The second was do nothing at this time.
The third was not sure/need more information. Foster reminded everyone that people could vote for more than one option. The first option received the most support, with 91% of staff, 80% of parents (non-staff), 75% of all residents, and 68% of nonparents (non-staff). For the second option, going in the same order, the numbers were 0%, 5%, 10%, and 15%.
The third option results were 9%, 15%, 15%, and 16%. Feedback for the survey question about Van Brunt showed that the majority of support was to build a new school at the junior/senior campus at a cost of approximately $20.8 million.
The numbers included (again, following the same order as the previous question was 83%, 65%, 60%, and 52%.
A rebuild of the school at the current location had results of 28%, 30%, 25%, and 22%.
Answers of I’m not sure/need more information were 11%, 17%, 15%, and 15%. The final answer of I do not support either option had numbers of 2%, 8%, 16%, and 24%.
For the question of updating the junior/senior high school had all groups wanting to address building security at a cost of $1.1 million and updating the building infrastructure at a cost of $8.4 million.
Questions regarding additional projects, such as an outdoor athletic field and auditorium were also asked.
Foster pointed out that the percentages of non-parent resident answers for the athletic field at a cost of $3.8 million were similar. Total percentage of definitely yes or probably yes was 41%.
Total percentage of probably no or definitely no was 42%. Seventeen percent said they were undecided.
The auditorium would cost $9 million.
Definitely yes and probably yes garnered 21%, while probably no and definitely no had a total of 53%.
Twenty-six percent was undecided. There was support for both projects from both parents and staff, but Foster said the majority of the general community is non-parent and non-staff.
After Foster had answered questions from those who attended that meeting, it was adjourned and the CAC reconvened in the instructional media center to discuss the next step – formulating he group’s recommendation to the school board.
During that meeting, more questions were asked by the committee members, with Foster and Matt Wolfert from Bray Architects providing answers. The purpose of the CAC was to discuss the options possible for updating Van Brunt Elementary School and Horicon Junior Senior High School, then give a recommendation to the school board.
The board will then make a decision on the next step based on the CAC’s recommendation. The process began in August, with the committee meeting an average of twice each month for approximately two hours each time. The two schools were visited and committee members toured each facility to look at the needs. The CAC and the facilities and finance committee from the Horicon School Board were scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Dec. 20.