South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Survey provides insightful data about what community values most

To the editor:

In a recent issue of the Call, a letter writer stated the Mehlville School District contracted for the post-Proposition C public survey.

In reality, the survey was developed free of charge by the district’s Communications Advisory Team, or CAT. The only cost was a nominal fee to purchase a distribution list to ensure that the maximum number of district residents was reached.

The CAT is an all-volunteer group of district residents, who have professional communications experience. Formed in 2008, the team supports the district’s communications efforts and does all work pro bono.

The survey was an opportunity to listen to what residents had to say about the failed ballot initiative. It’s easy to make generalized assumptions, but Mehlville officials were eager to hear directly from voters. Ballot initiatives give only black-and-white, yes-or-no results. They do not yield any information about the underlying reasons for those votes.

Clearly, many Mehlville residents wanted to be heard. Some 1,800 residents, parents and non-parents alike, answered a lengthy survey and took the time to write in more than 500 comments.

The survey provided insightful information about what the community most values as the district weighs critical next steps and faces difficult budget decisions.

While some assert that no more information is needed — that the voters have spoken and are unilaterally opposed to any form of tax hike — this is not supported by the survey.

Most respondents advocated for a conservative plan, but still preferred a small tax hike to deep cuts. Respondents generally were well informed and had definite opinions about what they would or would not support — favoring smaller class sizes and improved technology over large-scale building projects.

The Mehlville School District is charged with providing a first-class education in a fiscally responsible manner. Communications vehicles such as this survey offer ongoing opportunities for public input as our community moves forward together in these financially challenging times.

Debbie Parker

Communications Advisory Team member

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