|Board of Education Hires Firm to Conduct Survey|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00|
Tipp City schools’ officials said they think it’s important to have a professional survey done before asking district voters to approve money to build new school facilities.
The Board of Education agreed at a work session Dec. 3 to hire one of three firms that submitted proposals for a survey of registered voters.
They’ll be asked to answer questions designed to help district leaders decide if there is enough support to pursue a bond issue for new/renovated schools.
The Board of Education has been working for nearly four years with a facilities committee to narrow options for updating facilities for prekindergarten through eighth grades. The district is on the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s (OFCC) state list for potential 26 percent funding of a classrooms project.
The survey also would include questions about possible 100 percent locally funded initiatives, projects that are desired but do not quality for state funding. Possible projects discussed have included a new/updated athletic stadium, a theater/auditorium for kindergarten through grade eight, a community center and a building using sustainable strategies such as wind and solar, among others.
Superintendent John Kronour said survey proposals were received from two marketing firms operated by individuals and one from the Center for Urban Development at Wright State University.
He said all three firms are “very reputable.”
His recommended the survey contract go to Fallon Research and Communications Inc., a firm run by Paul Fallon of Columbus. His proposed survey for $10,000 fell between the lowest cost by the Center for Urban Development and the highest by John Fox Marketing/Consulting of Cincinnati.
Kronour said he liked Fallon’s proposed follow-up measures. He said he’d talked with other superintendents who had used the company’s survey services and were pleased.
Kronour and the board said the Wright State survey was less expensive, but did not include margins of error in survey findings and did not include cell phone numbers in its survey calls. Because of a growing number people giving up landlines in favor of only cell service, Kronour and the board said they felt that option was not a good one.
Board member Kate Johnsen said the magnitude of the project being contemplated by the board and district justifies the cost of a survey.
“What we are looking to do is huge in scope, long range. I think it is important that we have good data moving forward,” Johnsen said. “It is a waste of time and energy if we try to put something together that our community is not going to support.”
Board member Scott Dixon pointed out that consultant Mike Ruetschle said he knew of no district that had moved forward with a large-scale construction project without first doing a survey.
“I think it is time well spent to try to figure out what our voting public is thinking and then, hopefully, acting accordingly,” Dixon said.
Board member Tom Merritt said he thought it would be “silly not to” do the survey.
A scientific survey only makes sense, Kronour said. “I don’t want to spend hours and hours of work and not have any chance of passing a levy,” he said. “It (a survey) could say now is not the time.”
Kronour said the initial survey timeline has the survey being developed this month and conducted in January. Results would be shared with the board and the facilities committee before the vote on selecting a facilities plan option in April or May at the latest.
The OFCC is scheduled to decide on the district’s proposed plan, and accompanying funding, in July.
The board is expected to finalize the hiring of a company for the survey at its next meeting Dec. 16.