Board Meeting July, 17, 2013 with Audio
A few notes about the meeting to start:
David Gorman was sworn in and took his seat on the board. Charlie O’neil was elected Board Chairman. Replacing Mark Hyzer.
Bob Buttke was re-elected as vice chair. Not disclosed at meeting but good to know: the district is participating in armed shooter drills at the schools over the summer. However these drills are not mandatory and will only include staff whom volunteer to participate in the training.
Bond Survey Results
There were many graphs regarding key demographics, as well as sections with multiple questions such as “push” questions (questions designed to push takers towards saying yes). Sections of agree/disagree questions, district ratings, building condition questions and so on. * Select here to see the full report.
There were a total of 277 people surveyed
Page 2 – 22:00 in recording ….
Corbett school district operation and performance:
42% gave a rating of excellent.
29% gave a rating of pretty good.
19% gave ratings of either fair or poor.
Reasons for the excellent rating…. 31% personal experience… 28 % high national ranking and from what they heard. Reasons sited for poorer ratings were things such as “need to budget money better”, disapprove of charter school, and too many out of district students.
Rating physical condition of existing middle school:
44% gave a fair or poor rating.
26% gave a excellent or pretty good rating.
30% were not sure.
18 Million Bond Measure
13% not sure
Some of the “push” questions regarding protecting the communities investment, increased safety of students by seismic upgrades; plumbing, electrical & heating improvements to save money, which did get higher agreements spanning 57-62%
When asked if they were assured the number of out of area students would not significantly increase with the bond, 51% favored this statement.
50% felt the district doesn’t need athletic improvements included in the bond & they will vote no on any bond including those.
Priority Rankings of Projects
64% Want seismic upgrades to the multipurpose building @ $700,000
62% Want seismic upgrades to existing high school gym @ $1.4 million
58% Want to replace the existing middle school with a new 20,000 sqft school @ $6 million
37% agreed with expanding the high school gym for theater, meeting space & community fitness center @ $6.5 million.
29% agreed with constructing an 8 lane track @ $1.5 million
18% agreed with resurfacing football, baseball & softball fields with synthetic turf @ $1.9 million.
18 million vs 15 million Bond
35% preferred 15
24% preferred 18
29% said neither option
1% said they’d support either
7% were not sure
4% cited “other”
Conclusions in report;
Large number of respondents give the schools a positive performance rating. “Need to budget better” tops reasons for poor rating.
Well under half of respondents rate condition of building poorly.
Over half of respondents oppose an 18 million bond measure. Main reason cited was “unnecessary projects”.
Slightly over one third favor a an alternate 15 million bond.
Regardless of bond amount the district chooses, messages need to be woven into a clear and concise strategy highlighting components that resonate the priorities of the community. It will be very important to emphasize how the retiring bond debt will impact actual property taxes.
There appears to be an underlying concern from respondents regarding out of district students not paying their fair share and a general concern about fiscal accountability that the district should address. ( Perhaps from the 2010/2011 accounting error that sent our school board into an emergency special board meeting to place a levy on the ballot on the last day of filing! Read about that here. )
End of Report
There was a conference call with a woman named Melissa from the group. ( 17:45 in recording )
The Nelson Report whom conducted the survey, going over & discussing the written report. She stated they are saying no to 18m due to components people do not agree with not necessarily saying no to any bond. Appear to favor 15 m bond that excludes gym expansion, track & synthetic sports fields. She also stated several times the district would be wise to address the multiple concerns regarding the charter school and out of area students in order to get a bond through.
Charlie O’neil stated he thought people were confused on the prioritizing questions and that must be why the other items ranked so low.
Charlie also stated that the board is educated and understands the need for the out of area students but clearly the community is not educated and doesn’t understand and he’s not sure how to address that any more than they have.
Randy Trani stated he felt if they had included the fact that 4,000 sqft of the gym expansion is going to be 4 more classrooms that people may have approved the gym expansion.
Note: that would make the actual school size (classroom usage) not 20,000 sqft as disclosed but actually 24,000 sqft. The existing school I believe is 15,000 sqft so from 15 to 24 that is quite a substantial increase in size. Perhaps that is why that info was originally left out? There was also a meeting with district staff and discussion is now open for adding another 4,000 sqft to the new school for staff use, bringing the new total to a possible 28,000 square feet. Vs the proposed 20,000 sqft and existing 15,000 sqft building.
Randy Trani also stated he felt the district has two shots at this, one in Nov. and one in the following May election. He also feels they should put more stock in the recommendation of the facilities committee recommendation than the survey because they spent 3 months educating the committee vs 15 minutes to survey respondents.
Note; the committee started with over 60 participants, that number dropped to 19 people. Many cited frustration with the process and feeling as though they weren’t being heard, for dropping out meeting participation.
Personally I am appalled at the thought they would choose to listen to 19 people vs 277!
Also to me it’s pretty clear from the results the 3 main priorities people are agreeing on and willing to pay for. The multi purpose building upgrades @ 700k, the seismic & safety upgrades to the existing gym @ $1.4 million and the replacement of the existing school with a 20,000 sqft building @ $6 million. All of those items total $8.1 million! Why not listen to the community you asked and just go for that amount? Maybe restore a little community trust along the way by saying “hey we heard you and we’re going to follow what you want for your community and your kids.”
I’m all for dreams, heck I wanted the theater space, as anyone
who’s attended a school program knows it’s crazy cramped now. But when I heard for that 6.5 million we’d only get a space that seats 300 in the theater area, there’s a lot more than that we squish in to existing space so I don’t see that as much of an improvement, especially not at that cost as most goes to other items. Either way it’s obvious the majority of people do not want that high cost addition.
Time to put the dreams aside, be realists and live within our means. Listen to the community and get our kids the improvements they need to get a good safe school to attend. I fear if the board ignores the survey results and continues campaigning for the 18 million they are not putting our kids first because by doing so they are running the very real risk of ending up with nothing, no money to address the needs because of dreams of having the wants. That would be a true heartbreaking disservice to all of our children.
– Karina Lande.
Community Member and parent.