The Big Walnut Local School District recently closed its 2014 Survey. District Assistant Superintendent Angie Pollock presented a brief overview of results culled from the survey’s 430 respondents during the Thursday (June 12) Board of Education meeting.
As an indication of how the District is growing and changing, 26.4 percent of respondents have lived in the Big Walnut district more than 20 years, 28.1 percent have lived in Big Walnut from 11 to 20 years, 27.9 percent from 5 to 10 years, and 17.7 percent have been Big Walnut residents less than five years.
The Village of Sunbury is home to the majority of survey respondents, with 24.2 percent living in the village, 15.4 percent of respondents were from Harlem Township and 15.4 percent were from Genoa Township. Porter Township and Kingston Township each claimed 7.6 percent of survey respondents, the Village of Galena had 6.2 percent, Berkshire Township had 8.8 percent and Trenton Township had 10.7 percent. School staff members accounted for 2.1 percent of the respondents, and 1.9 percent of respondents were non-residents of the school district.
Of the respondents, 36.7 percent were associated with Big Walnut High School, 25.4 percent were students, parents of students or staff at Big Walnut Middle School, 28.7 percent were associated with Big Walnut Intermediate School, 18 percent from Hylen Souders Elementary, 25.7 percent from General Rosecrans Elementary, and 21.3 percent from Big Walnut Elementary.
On a grading scale of A, B, C, D or F, 42.6 percent of respondents gave the district an A (Excellent), 45.1 percent gave the district a B (Good), 9.8 percent gave the district a C (Satisfactory), 1.2 percent gave the district a D (Poor), and 1.4 percent gave the district an F (Unsatisfactory).
Asked how well the Big Walnut Local School District is achieving its mission to inspire and guide each student to reach his or her maximum potential, 38.3 percent said Very Well, 43 percent said Well, 9.4 percent were Neutral, 4 percent were Not Sure, 4.5 percent said Not Well, 0.9 percent said Not Well At All.
Asked if they believed in the Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education’s leadership and vision, 23 percent said they Strongly Approve, 47.1 percent said they Approve, 17.9 percent were Neutral, 6.3 percent were Unsure, 4.5 percent Disapprove, and 1.4 percent Strongly Disapprove.
Asked if they approve or disapprove of District teacher performance in the classroom, 35.4 percent of respondents said they Strongly Approve, 48.6 percent said they Approve, 10.1 percent were Neutral, 2.6 percent were Unsure, 2.8 percent Disapprove, 0.5 percent Strongly Disapprove.
Asked if the District has done a good job using money in an effective and responsible manner, 30.9 percent said Excellent, 38.7 percent said Good, 17.9 percent said Fair, 4.3 percent said Poor, 1.9 percent said Very Poor, and 6.4 percent were Unsure.
Respondents were asked to pick up to three top priorities the District should focus on during the next two years. Improving student academic performance was chosen by 51.6 percent of survey respondents, followed by reducing class size at 41.6 percent, and expanding classroom technology at 38.7 percent. Other responses included expanding classroom space at 21.6 percent, stricter budgeting and financial management at 22.1 percent, teacher training at 16.2 percent, and increasing parental involvement at 12.2 percent. A total of 54.6 percent of respondents selected other priorities than the ones highlighted in the survey.
Asked if they were satisfied with how well the District communicates with respondents, 30.5 percent were Very Satisfied, 46 percent were Satisfied, 6.8 percent were Dissatisfied, 2.1 percent said they were Very Dissatisfied, and 14.6 percent were Neutral.
Ways that respondents said they preferred to receive School District and Building news were: direct email, 75.1 percent; automated call system, 73.2 percent; District websites, 47.1 percent; Facebook, 13.9 percent; Twitter, 4.2 percent; school newsletters and fliers, 19.5 percent; School Board or committee meetings, 1.7 percent; all others, 31.6 percent.
In 2010 district voters approved a 5-year, 7.5-mil emergency operating levy. Asked if they were aware that the levy expires in 2015 and result in reduced daily operating finds, 67.8 percent of respondents said they were aware the levy would expire, 32.2 percent said they were not aware that the levy would expire.
Of respondents who said they would not support a levy renewal, 37.5 percent said it would be because school related taxes are too high, 9.4 percent said the School District does not need the money, 19.8 percent said the School District has access to other sources of income, 16.7 percent said the School District should scale programs back and work with less, 24 percent said they were opposed to funding education through property taxes, 4.2 percent said they would not support a levy because they do not have children in District schools, 34.4 percent said they do not believe the School District has taken good care of the funds it has, 21.9 percent said they do not understand how the School District uses levy money, 21.9 percent cited other reasons why they would not support a levy renewal at the polls.