Ferguson-Florissant Community Survey Stresses Programs, Finances

Community feedback gathered through telephone, online survey will be used to guide district’s on strategies , possible Tax Levy Proposal

By Carol Arnett

The Ferguson-Florissant School District has launched a community survey which officials say they  will use to help guide planning for the future of the district. The survey will be conducted over two weeks through live telephone interviews with district residents and via online form available on the district’s website at fergflor.org. Each computer can only take the survey once.

Respondents will be asked for input on a range of topics including plans for the future and satisfaction with current district programs. The 50-question survey is estimated to take approximately 10 minutes by phone or 15 minutes if completed online.

The survey starts by asking residents to grade the district on several items, including class size, teacher performance, the quality of the education, technology, facilities, discipline, and board and administrator performance.

The survey then informs residents that the district cut approximately $800,000 in cuts this year due to several factors, including a decrease in state funding, the reduction in value of Boeing property in the district, and lower homeowner property values.

The survey adds that next year, the school district may need to cut as much as $8 million. Because of this, the district is considering asking for a tax increase. The survey then lists several areas where the funding might be used, and asked which ones would be more likely to make residents support a tax increase.

The survey then asked residents if they would favor or oppose an increase of varying amounts, from approximately $67 per year on a $100,000 house to $114 per year on a $100,000 house.

Part of an increase might be used to help maintain the number of staff positions,  which would help the district avoid an increase in class sizes, expand alternative education programs, cover increased cost of text books and to maintain athletics and other extracurricular activities and programs.

In addition to questions about the tax proposal, the survey asks residents on input on some long-term planning ideas, including expanding the Early Child Education programs, updating safety and security systems, replacing windows and air conditioning units, and updating technology every five years instead of every seven.

The survey also asks residents how they get news about the district and if they voted in the last school board and school bond issues.

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