Upon completion of our survey process, we invariably close our summary report presentations by reminding districts the importance of “trusting the data.”
But what does that really mean?
Facility/Capital Improvement Projects
When conducting a community survey to prepare for facility/capital improvements, school leaders usually put a variety of facility improvement ideas in front of their community with corresponding tax implications. How do you listen to the survey feedback and “trust the data”?
Align your projects according to priorities presented in your feedback.
Finalize your plan with a budget that taxpayers said they would support.
Don’t try to sell people something they’ve told you they don’t want to buy.
It may seem obvious, but it is critical that the district’s facility improvement response and plans closely align with the results. If a district strays away from the priorities of the community, you will confuse – or worse yet – alienate your taxpayers.
When trust is broken, voters will reject your plans. The last thing any of us want is to have your community feel their input was not valued and their voice not heard.
When conducting operational funding surveys, we need to look at the results slightly differently. By nature, these projects seem less complicated. We often ask “yes” or “no” questions about funding to maintain programs and current staffing levels. It is just as critical to listen to the results and trust the data, but it is also important to look a bit more deeply into what may have been behind the feedback.
Did the respondents understand the need?
Was the amount asked for reasonable?
If there were many undecided responses, what additional information is needed?
Once again, by listening to your results, you will be showing your community their voice was heard.
What about the comments?
It can be tempting to look deeply into the open-ended comments. They are often candid, honest, and sometimes critical. While we value that feedback, only about 33% of respondents typically make comments, and even those folks don’t agree. Be careful not to let comments drive your ultimate decisions. By following your quantitative data, all respondents are represented.
Remember, at School Perceptions, we are in this together. We want to help you “Measure what matters” so that we can support you in making strategic decisions.
The School Perceptions Blog and Resource Center features the voices of our team members. This post was written by Daren Sievers, Project Manager.