More than 2,600 individuals in the Tri-Lakes community participated in a D38 survey organized with the goal of understanding how the public perceives the district and how voters may vote on a potential ballot initiative. The initial results are positive.
“We found there is great support for D38 within our community,” said Mark Belcher, director of communication. “Of our weighted respondents, 77% have a favorable opinion of D38, 75% support our teachers and 74% support the job we’re doing to educate kids.”
Belcher said there are areas for growth and improvement, too, pointing to a 52% approval rating in the area of financial transparency and accountability.
Those opinions bore out as respondents, which represent about 10% of the entire D38 voting community, considered a potential ballot initiative to improve teacher and staff compensation. The measure was explained as a potential $5.4 million ask to help make staff compensation competitive, and the question was asked of respondents two times; once before asking a series of educational questions, and a second time after those questions.
Prior to the educational questions, respondents responded 56% in favor of the measure, with 40% opposed and 4% undecided. Respondents were weighted to reflect the composure of the voting community.
After asking the series of informational questions, including one which shared the results of a salary study that determined D38’s staff is underpaid by about 10% compared to other regional school districts, support improved. When asking if individuals would support the measure a second time, support came in at 60%, with 34% in opposition and 6% undecided.
Moving forward, the district will continue to provide important data like this to the Board of Education as they consider whether or not to move forward with a ballot initiative.