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District 54 to use outside consultant for survey

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – For the first time, Morris School District 54 will be using an outside consultant to administer its annual Climate and Culture Survey.

“There will be no question about the integrity of the data,” District 54 Superintendent Teri Shaw said. “Not that we had questions about the integrity of the data – that wasn’t the driving factor. We just wanted to make the survey better.”

The Climate and Culture Survey, now in its fourth year, is an electronic survey administered to teachers throughout the district that gathers data about their working environment and relationships.

Through the survey, administrators can pinpoint strengths and weaknesses within the district. The data collected plays a large part in the development of the district’s annual Strategic Management Plan.

Last year, 79 faculty members completed the survey.

Shaw said the board works to improve the survey in some way every year. In years past, the survey was administered by District 54 Principal Christopher Maier.

Now, Scott Day – an associate professor of education at the University of Illinois at Springfield – will administer the survey, meaning he will email the SurveyMonkey link to faculty, collect all of their answers and present the data collected at a future board meeting.

The board approved the appointment of Day during Monday’s School Board meeting.

“There’s three surveys we do. There’s the culture and climate, there’s one the public does and this year, there’s one the students are doing,” District 54 School Board President Scott Hastings said. “Those are usually done in-house. This one is the only one being done outside the administration.”

The district will pay $1,000 for this year’s survey administration.

Hastings said that because previous surveys were administered by someone within the district, they were significantly less expensive.

“It is $1,000, but for what we gain out of it, I think it’s definitely worth it,” Hastings said.

Shaw said Day was recommended to the district because he specializes in climate and culture and has ample experience with the survey.

In other business, District 54 held a public hearing during Monday’s meeting about the selling of its working cash bonds to fund the district’s education fund.

This year, the district will sell no more than $1.77 million working cash bonds, which is slightly less than last year’s amount of $1.89 million.

Shaw said the amount is decreasing this year because the district’s equalized assessed value, or EAV, of property was slightly less this year.

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