District will attempt to match referendum desires with cost tolerance

By Alex Johnson


A general outline and format for a community survey regarding a proposed facilities referendum was accepted by the Burlington Area School District Board of Education following a session Monday with a consultant.

The board met with Bill Foster of School Perceptions, a research firm that aids districts in survey creation and data analysis.

The community survey will precede a planned November referendum regarding upgrades to the district’s various buildings – most notably the four elementary schools, Karcher Middle School and administrative buildings.

Helping to gauge where residents would like to see their tax dollars go will be an eight-page survey, folded in a booklet style, which is a style used by about 90 percent of School Perception’s surveys according to Foster.


Survey approaches

Two different types of strategies came from discussion on how to ask the community their tax tolerance, he said.

The first strategy, proposed by Foster, looks at the intersection of what the community wants to happen in the district and how much they are willing to pay.

This type of “reverse-engineering,” said Foster, allows the board to learn the desires of the community and how much residents are willing to pay.

The other strategy takes the four upgrade options the board has proposed and asks the community which option they would vote for in the official referendum.

“Our goal is to go through a process to build the scope of the survey, and specifically what questions we’re going to ask (and) what message we’re going to be sharing through the survey,” Foster said.

The four facility options currently under consideration include: a maintenance-only package for all district buildings; remodeling of Karcher Middle School in addition to a maintenance package; a half renovation-half remodel of Karcher in addition to a maintenance package; and replacing the current Karcher with a new middle school in addition to a maintenance package.

To read the entire story see the Feb. 1 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.