Monroe launches survey about failed referendum

Christopher Lang, Correspondent, @topherlang2 | Apr 17, 2018 | MonroeNow

Monroe Township School District education officials are seeking community members’ input about the failed referendum last month that asked for residents’ approval to build a new $68.8 million middle school.

“This is the first phase where we are trying to collect data and determine where we go from here,” Superintendent Michael Kozak said.

The district is hoping the survey will provide insight as to why the public rejected the plan.

Related: $68.8 million referendum bid fails

On March 13, residents voted 3,244 to 3,101 not to bond money for building a new middle school, that education leaders said was needed to address overcrowding. Leading up to the vote, education leaders spent months detailing the plan at community meetings in various locations and by providing detailed information on the district website.

However, one concern that remained on many people’s mind was the fact the district made it clear there would likely be two additional referendum projects to build another elementary school and expand the high school, but education officials said they did not know how much those would cost.

In the last 15 years, residents have approved two referendums, one to build the current high school and another that created Oak Tree Elementary School.

The post-referendum survey asks basic questions, such as if the respondent voted March 13, what schools their children or grandchildren attend and what source they use to get information about the school district.

The more referendum-specific questions include “Do you agree or disagree that overcrowding can negatively impact education?” “From what you have read or heard, why do you think the referendum did not pass?” and “From what you have read or heard, do you agree or disagree with the district’s enrollment study that projects enrollment will be more than 3,000 students over capacity in five years?” among other questions.

Related: Town reaches settlement for eminent domain property, but not final price

The survey ends on April 27, and does not require a respondent to submit their name. To access the survey click here. However, at this time, the survey was mainly sent to community members who have provided an email address to the school district.

Kozak explained on Monday that decision was made to ensure that residents were responding to the survey and not outside individuals. He said the referendum steering community is looking at how to best distribute the survey to residents whose email addresses are not on file with the district, but added that cost is a factor since a mass mailing is expensive and many people may not return the survey.