Exit survey: Vast majority in favor of improving Elementary School

Nearly 90 percent of respondents to the exit survey given at the May 16 school budget vote agree that some repairs and improvements are necessary at the Elementary School.

In order to assess public sentiment regarding the condition of the district’s facilities and plans to repair or upgrade them, the BKW Central School District deployed an exit survey during the May 16 school budget vote.

Of the 337 voters who took the survey, 88.8 percent of respondents agreed that our facilities are in need of improvement. More than 80 percent of those who took the survey said that improved facilities would lead to better academic performance.

That feedback mirrors a survey of teachers and staff that BKW conducted in March. That survey showed that 99 percent of staff would like to see improvements made to the Elementary School and 96.7 percent felt that improved facilities would lead to an increase in academic performance.

“I think this shows, to some extent, that the community agrees that BKW needs to do something to modernize the facilities that serve our youngest students,” said Superintendent Dr. Timothy Mundell. “Our building and classroom space have served us well, and I commend our staff for making the best of facilities that are, in some cases, more than 70 years old. But it’s time to prepare our students for their future.”

Feedback on taxes, price tag

When asked how much they would be willing to invest in improvements to the Elementary School, 86.6 percent of respondents said they would pay an additional $21-$50 in additional taxes per $100,000 in assessed home value. When broken down further, 61.7 percent of respondents indicated they would pay an additional $31-$50 per $100,000 in assessed value.

Only 13.4 percent of respondents indicated they would not financially support school improvements.

When asked how much, overall, the district should spend on a capital project, a plurality of respondents (42.3%) said the BKW community should invest $13-15 million in a capital project that includes repairs, maintenance, and upgrades to academic areas.

Details forthcoming

Respondents to the exit survey indicated that they would like to know more about the effect on local taxes, the impact on academics, and want details of the work most of all.

When asked what information would help them make an informed decision on a capital project vote, 46.9 percent of respondents indicated they would like a better understanding the relationship between improved facility condition and increased academic performance. The same percentage want more information on the impact on local taxes.

What respondents want more than anything, however, are the details of the work being considered. More than two-thirds (67.5%) of respondents indicated that knowing the details of the work the district is proposing at the Elementary School would help them cast an informed vote.

“I understand the public’s desire for the details of the improvements,” said Mundell. “It’s the district’s intention to be as open and transparent as possible with this process. We’ve included the community in this process since it began and will communicate more detailed information as we get closer to finalizing the project. There is still a lot of work to do before we ask our community to vote on a capital project, and I invite you to join us at board meetings or reach out to me directly. My door is always open.”