Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2007

Survey results positive for district

February 8, 2007

Survey results for a 2008 bond issue are in and apparently in Eudora USD 491's favor.

Ken DeSieghardt of DeSieghardt Strategic Communications presented his company's research to the board of education Monday.

DeSieghardt began by presenting the board with three traits, or legs, he found common in bond issues passed by other districts.

He identified successful districts as having interested patrons, patrons who think the district is doing a good job and a proposal with items deemed worthy of financial support.

"Clearly you have the elements of all three legs," DeSieghardt said. "You are also blessed with the fact your election proposal is going to be in November, so the areas where there are some questions among your patrons, you have time to address."

In all, DeSieghardt's company polled 250 residents in the community. He separated those called into two age groups ---- those who have lived in Eudora for 10 years and those who have lived in Eudora for more than 10 years. His company also spread the calls geographically over Eudora.

The survey's first section required the interviewee to grade the district on a number of factors. The criteria included the overall responsiveness of district personnel, safety of students and quality of teachers.

Compared to other district's he's worked with,, Eudora scored extremely high, DeSieghardt said.

"It's a love fest," he said.

Less than two percent of those interviewed gave the district a failing grade, he said.

"The patron population is extremely happy with what's going on here, and there is no groundswell of concern," he said.

Next, the interviewees asked the residents how they would vote if the bond referendum were held the following day.

According to the results, 53 percent of those surveyed said they would vote in favor of the possible bond without hearing what it might entail.

Surveyors offered the public the opportunity to voice their opinion on various proposed aspects of the bond. The possibility of a new elementary school or technology center seemed to garner strong support, DeSieghardt said.

The possibility of a new football stadium or district operations center didn't fare as well.

"This is not unusual because the further away you get from a classroom project the more likely some people are going to say 'I'm not sure that is something you should invest in,'" DeSieghardt said.

The fact the two options scored low means the district should focus efforts on educating the public about them, DeSieghardt said.

His survey also broached specific topics, including what should eventually be done with Laws Field.

According to the survey results, 48 percent of those interviewed wanted to keep the stadium as is, six percent voted to tear down the stadium but keep the field for community use and 15 percent supported tearing down the stadium and selling the land.

A combined 31 percent didn't know or didn't care.

After hearing what the bond issue might entail, support for the project jumped to 61 percent with two percent leaning in favor of the bond. Thirty percent said they would oppose the issue and three percent leaned toward opposition.

"What it tells me is that it's a very good report but we can't take anything for granted," Board President Kenny Massey said. "We still got our work cut out for us to continue the educational process."

In all, the district should look at the totals in a positive light, DeSieghardt said.

"The blessing you have is a long time to make sure people understand, and the curse is you have to keep the interest going to make sure people don't forget to vote," DeSieghardt said.

The district will start the next phase of bond development by reconvening a citizen advisory group to start finalizing the scope of the bond.

The board set a special meeting to meet with the advisory committee to be at 6 p.m. March 1 at Eudora Middle School Library.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.