Many of you participated in either a random sample phone survey, or the online survey recently offered to parents/guardians, and we appreciate your input very much. As I understand it, the response to the online parent/guardian survey was astounding, and well exceeded industry standards for self-reporting surveys.
In many ways, you told us things we already knew. For instance, we know that there is a division in the community around the four-day week. While both surveys reported that more like it than don’t, there is a significant population that does not care for the schedule.
The conclusion drawn from the survey by Springsted Inc. is that there exists no mandate from the community. However, according to the consultants, “the data collected from both surveys suggest ‘staying the course’ since the underlying factors prompting the change in the first place have not changed and the damage of switching back and forth over time and creating uncertainty would be detrimental to families and the school district.”
In brief, the phone survey reflected that 51.7 percent of the community supported staying with the current schedule, while 36.3 percent preferred a return to the five-day week. Again, the phone survey sought to reflect the opinions of the entire community, not just parents and guardians. The margin of error for the survey was +/- 5.5 percent.
The online parent/guardian survey returned a result of 56.3 percent in favor of staying with the four-day week, and 38.4 percent opposed.
The school board reviewed these results last Thursday evening, and after much discussion decided to review open-ended comments left by those surveyed before making a decision about the schedule. We are hopeful direction from the school board will be forthcoming this Thursday, March 7. Whatever the school board decides, there will be much planning to do for next year.
Once again I would like to thank all of you who took the time to inform us of your thoughts on the four-day week. Your guidance is critical to the decision making process.
— Dr. Deb Henton is superintendent of the North Branch school district