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School district receives high marks in surveys
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MONROE - The Monroe school district fared well in both a district-wide staff survey and a community survey.

Bill Foster, president of School Perceptions, presented the survey results at Monday's school board meeting. Research company School Perceptions conducted the surveys this spring.

Staff survey

District administration and the school board scored particularly well in the staff survey, with strong support for District Administrator Cory Hirsbrunner.

"The school board is doing really great here," Foster said.

The staff survey had a higher than average response rate with 86 percent of staff participating, or 319 responses, he said. It went out in April.

Areas covered in the survey include academic expectations, work environment, health and wellness and student achievement.

Most respondents said academic expectations were just right, and those who said expectations were either too high or too low struck a "good balance," Foster said.

He noted that school staff feel stressed about initiatives, but that was "not unique to Monroe," considering government mandates.

About 88 percent of the participating staff said they were satisfied with their benefits, and 94 percent were satisfied overall working for the district. More than half of the respondents view the Monroe school district as better than neighboring districts.

Foster compared Monroe's survey results with a peer group, made up of 10 other Wisconsin school districts with a similar student population size and socioeconomic situation.

In most areas, Monroe scored about the same as its peer group, but it did score higher in many areas, including those relating to administration. Only one area, relating to student discipline, showed Monroe with a lower score than the peer group.

Community survey

The community survey was mailed to all residents within the Monroe school district in May. Respondents could choose to fill out the paper survey or take it online.

To analyze the data, Foster said he split the respondents into three groups: district staff, parents of students (non-staff) and non-parent/non-staff community members.

Almost all survey participants - about 91 percent - said they feel welcome at Monroe schools, and most indicated they were satisfied with the district.

Part of the community survey asked respondents to pick subject areas they wouldn't want eliminated if budget constraints forced the district to make large cuts. Technical education scored highly among all respondents and agriculture scored highly among non-parent/non-staff community members. German received the lowest score.

The survey also asked which services shouldn't be cut in the same situation: Non-staff/non-parent respondents gave the most support to services that help students with difficulty learning.

Participants were asked about referendums, showing a general willingness to support them in certain circumstances. Eighty-four percent of staff, 52 percent of parents and 58 percent of the non-parent/non-staff group said they would support a referendum to maintain current programs and services. A referendum for building maintenance garnered the approval of 66 percent of staff, 42 percent of parents and 52 percent of the non-parent/non-staff group.

One percent of staff, 11 percent of parents and 18 percent of the third group said no to any referendums.

Foster told the school board these results are "compelling to move forward with a plan" for a referendum.

That's not to say a referendum would definitely pass,

he said. The survey didn't

provide any specific plan for

a referendum. Passage depends on the type of referendum - recurring or non-recurring - and the amount the district asks for, among other factors.

But the board should look into the specifics, Foster said. "If you didn't go forward, you'd probably be criticized."