Maintenance-only option remains point of contention

By Alex Johnson


What type of information does the Burlington Area School District School Board want to gather from the facility planning survey that will shape a referendum later this year?

That is the question that the board discussed at Monday’s meeting. Among the topics were survey length, demographics and approach to a more successful referendum after the 2017 referendums failed to pass.

Previously, the board had voted to move forward with Bill Foster and School Perceptions, a company that helps school districts survey their community.

Board President Jim Bousman proposed the survey start with an explanation, followed by a thank you to the community with an estimate of how long survey completion will take, and then a list of qualifiers, or various demographic categories that could be gender, income level, or whether someone is a parent, teacher, or student in the district.

Bousman also proposed the survey ask why the community did not vote for last year’s referendum with various reasons listed for the survey-taker to check, adding that asking will “help (the board) make decisions on what we go to referendum with.”

Concerned about the length of the survey, board member Susan Kessler said asking about last year’s referendum would be “too much…just too much.”

“(The survey) has got to be not pages long,” board member Roseanne Hahn said. “They’re not going to bother with it. People are busy.”

The board further discussed how to present the various facility planning options that will ultimately be voted upon in the referendum.

All four options include a maintenance package with the first option being a maintenance-only package that fixes and updates district buildings but, according to board member Barry Schmaling, “Does not meet the needs of the district.”

To read the full story — including descriptions of the four referendum options currently under consideration — see the Jan. 11 edition of the Burlington Standard Press. The newspaper is available at retail outlets throughout the area.