BELOIT- The Beloit School Board discussed a community survey, as well as what the next steps will be in replacing departing Superintendent Dan Keyser at its June 21 meeting.
Rob DeMuse from School Perceptions presented findings from a community survey given to parents, staff and community members. The group has conducted over 10,000 staff, parent, student and community surveys for school improvement and helped over 850 district navigate the referendum planning process.
There were a total of 1,115 respondents to the Beloit survey. The majority of the respondents were above the age of 65 or between the ages of 35 and 44. 78% of the respondents’ primary residence is in the Beloit School District.
The survey asked questions like, “How do you like to receive school/district information?”
66% of parents said email, 56% of non-parents and non-staff said the Beloit Daily News, and 51% of parents said the district/school website.
The survey also asked respondents to agree or disagree with certain statements.
One example was “The district provides me with opportunities to offer feedback.” 64% of district staff agreed, 65% of parents/caregivers agreed and 38% of non-parents/non-staff agreed.
Another statement saw lower numbers. The statement, “The district school board is doing what it takes to make our district successful.” 25% of staff agreed; 32% of parents/caregivers agreed and 18% of non-parents/non-staff agreed with the statement.
There were also questions about possible referendums the district could bring forward if they so choose.
One question asked, “Would you support the district pursuing an operational referendum to maintain programs and services for students?”
58% of staff said yes, as well as 52% of parents, non-parents and non-staff also said yes.
Board member Amiee Leavy commended DeMuse for the simply layout of the presentation and the chance to see feedback.
“It was helpful to see the difference in support and uncertainty with a capital versus a operational referendum,” Leavy said to DeMuse, during the meeting. “But, in your experience, does that support tend to increase or decrease when you combine both capital and operational?”
DeMuse said to Leavy that the support for a referendum usually comes when people are actually ready to think about it. DeMuse said the best time to go for a referendum is when people feel like they’ve been communication with or at least have some inkling about what the projects are going to be.
Board vice president Megan Miller said of the survey feedback that she was not surprised by any of the feedback and sees it as an opportunity for education.
Keyser takes a bow
Superintendent Dan Keyser spoke at the meeting about the work he has done in the last two years as superintendent and interim superintendent.
Keyser said when he started he pursued partnerships with the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club and the public library. Since then, the district has expanded partnerships with Headstart, Rising Queens and Filling the Void. All those organizations work directly with many secondary schools, and work with district staff and students.
“It has been an honor and a privilege that I served with all of you and with this district in this community,” Keyser said.
Planning for Keyser’s replacement
Board president Sean Leavy said the board will meet with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) regarding the process for filling the superintendent’s position.
Member Amiee Leavy said she is still interested in bringing someone in for contracted services, rather than an interim or permanent superintendent.
“I believe it’s important that whoever comes in on a temporary basis is not eligible to apply for the permanent superintendent position,” she said. “I just think that would give clarity of the work ahead. They’re not auditioning for us or telling us what we want to hear. They’re very clear, and hopefully super effective.”