In early October, Advocates FHSD ran a short survey to better understand our audience and sentiments towards the potential consolidation and redistricting of the schools, among other issues.
Over 33% of our community responded and 682 people shared their thoughts about potential consolidation and redistricting. (Based our group size, this gives us a 3% margin of error - in other words, a lot of confidence in these figures).
Let’s dig into the data and see where the community stands.
About our data
The survey ran for just over a week from September 29th to October 10th before we closed it.
When distributing our survey, we focused on two main places to source respondents -
At the time of our survey launch, this allowed us to reach just over 2,100 individuals - a resounding 33% of our community which is quite high for a survey response rate)
Due to how we collected the data, we were able to check to see if anyone had taken the survey twice (since they may have seen the link in both email and on Facebook). Only 12 responses were duplicates, and in those cases we removed the first submission and analyzed the latest response.
This gave us a total of 682 completed responses. Based off of the 2,100 people we could reach, this gives us only a 3% margin of error - in other words, a lot of confidence in these figures.
Overview of who responded
97.5% (n=655) of respondents lived in FHSD or had children currently enrolled in the district. We also had a number of parents of future or former students, alum, employees, and grandparents respond.
Most respondents (78%) were between 35-55 years old.
In the future, we’d also like to find additional venues to share our survey that might reach other community members in the FHSD to broaden our reach to other ages that are less represented in our Advocates FHSD groups.
Community Stance on exploration on consolidation
Most members oppose exploring building reduction and school consolidation.
This indicates that even the idea of exploration is not well supported within the Advocates FHSD community
Most community respondents are not likely to support consolidation even if explorations show that the logistics and cost reduction would be a viable long term cost savings.
From this response, we see that even if the explorations came back saying consolidation would help our district, our community is largely not be in support and would want to find other solutions to managing the budget.
Here are a few of the open-ended comments elaborate on the community stance in their own words:
“Consolidation will directly affect my family. I am motivated to stop it and am happy to help fight it.”
“We need to hold this current board accountable for not being transparent and not working for the betterment of our schools. We need to teach diversity and inclusion, and we don’t want to consolidate into a mega high school that limits opportunities and creates traffic and financial problems. They should leave our high quality school communities as they are and find other ways to work on the budget.“
"The question about consolidation has not been supported by the community historically and was not during the 2014 bond, otherwise we would have consolidated before investing millions in our current infrastructure.”
“I am not necessarily against consolidation if it is properly planned, approved by the community and makes fiscal sense - short and long term. The current environment seems hasty, and has not proven itself to be worthy of support. In fact, given the apparent lack of forethought at this point, it warrants strong opposition, in my opinion.“
"If the district can demonstrate a solid plan for consolidation and financial benefit - I will accept it. I don’t want it - but I’m not closed minded to it."
Politics and Voting
As highlighted in past blog posts, many of our district funding issues come from how education funding is managed at the state level. While we didn’t ask questions in this survey about upcoming elections, we did explore who in our Advocates community voted in the previous school board election and how politics might have influenced their votes.
You may notice that the answer to “I have not voted” is different between these two charts. This is expected due to the questions themselves. We know from talking to some of our respondents that there are individuals who recently moved to this district and might not have been able to vote in 2020, but had in other districts or previous years.
When looking at this data, we see an opportunity to continue to engage voters and encourage folks to invest in voting in the future, especially at the local and state level.
“At 35 years old, I never understood how important voting for school board members were … until now. I feel that most people don’t realize the power they hold and the decisions they are able to make. Since joining this Facebook group I have learned so much about it and we’ll always from here on out vote in an election”
On Advocates FHSD
Our group has grown rapidly over the past several months. Our mission to help provide education to the community around what’s going on in the district has been our main focus. From our survey, it seems we are helping the district.
The community is looking for information, cares, and wants transparency from the board.
94% of respondents feel “much more informed” (65%) or “slightly more informed” (29%) after joining the Advocate FHSD group and email newsletters
While we’re happy to be a resource and continue our mission - We can’t help but wonder: Could people be seeking information from the community members willing to do the legwork to find answers be because despite running on a platform that included transparency, this school board is not fulfilling those campaign promises?
We continue to iterate and adapt how we work based on feedback from our members. We appreciate the feedback given by the community in this survey and through other venues (feel free to reach out via email or facebook!).
Welcome to AdvocateFHSD! We’re so happy to have you here. Strong public schools = strong communities. Here, we strive to engage and inform the FHSD community, and empower residents to be the best advocates for our students, teachers, administrators, and district.