Survey: 92% say Kent schools worth the taxes

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

According to a recent survey, 92 percent of respondents in the Kent City School District strongly agree or agree that the quality of education in the district is worth the tax dollars taken in by the district.

The survey, mailed out to residents in November and December of 2012, was conducted by Pamela Freeman, a researcher at Kent State University's College of Education Health and Human Services who also has children in the school district. There were 488 responses to the survey.

The results, released at Tuesday's Kent Board of Education meeting, found 7 percent of the respondents disagreed that taxpayers got their money's worth out of the district, while 1 percent strongly disagreed. The grant-funded survey was due to be returned to researchers before the Kent Board of Education voted to place an 8.9-mill levy on May's ballot. Asked if the district was fiscally responsible with taxpayer money, 20 percent strongly agreed, 55 percent agreed, while 17 percent said they did not know and 8 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

"One of the things that really strikes me about this is the low levels of awareness of the (district's) financial cost-saving efforts," Freeman said.

Many respondents professed ignorance to aspects of the district's efforts that save approximately $4.2 million per year, including seeking energy efficiency and not replacing all retiring staff members. For example, 50 percent of respondents said they did not know teachers agreed to a voluntary, district-wide wage freeze in the previous two school years.

The district's average letter grade for overall performance from those surveyed was a B plus, and 95 percent of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the district's teachers.

When asked what was the most important permanent improvement issue facing the school, about half of respondents said parking and classroom improvements at Holden Elementary School.

Of those surveyed, 24 percent said adding classroom space at Theodore Roosevelt High School, while 23 percent said replacing or renovating Franklin Elementary School.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126

or tgallick@recordpub.com

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