October 31, 2017

Community Survey on Educational Facilities Needs Coming Soon

The Sparta Area School District Board of Education is reaching out to all District residents in the next few weeks to gather input about educational facilities needs with a community-wide survey. The School Board approved the survey to gather citizen feedback on the need to add elementary capacity and address educational inadequacies.

The District studied current needs and future enrollment projections. Working in partnership with architects, educational leaders, the Facilities Committee and the Community Task Force, numerous options were considered as the District drafted a long-range facility plan that will meet the needs of all students.

“Developing a facilities plan that considers district growth and educational needs in the context of our current schools is extremely complex,” explains Dr. Amy Van Deuren, the District’s Superintendent.  “We also need to factor in the cost to update and operate existing facilities as well as future growth and development in our community.  What we do with our schools now will impact the shape of the community for decades to come.”

The District now has recommendations for each school building. These recommendations will be tested on the survey as well as the community’s willingness to support building a new elementary school and moving 4th grade students back into the elementary schools.

Van Deuren adds, “We went through an extensive process to develop our facilities plan and this survey.  We will continue to follow that process to ensure that in the end our schools reflect the needs and values of our community.  These are important decisions with lasting impacts.”

The District has upcoming community meetings where citizens can ask questions about the proposed plan and the survey.  These meetings will be held on November 7 and 21 at 6:00 p.m. in the Sparta Administrative and Education Center (AEC), 201 E. Franklin Street, Sparta.

The School Board recognizes that a finalized plan must reflect the priorities of taxpayers. Therefore, the district is urging all residents to participate in this important district-wide effort as they prepare to make important decisions about potential facilities projects.

To assist with data gathering efforts, the School Board is working with School Perceptions LLC, an independent Wisconsin firm with expertise in conducting school district surveys. All survey data is returned to School Perceptions and all information will remain anonymous.

All District residents will receive a paper survey in the mail on or around November 8, 2017 and can take the survey in one of two ways. The survey has a website listed that allows a respondent to log on and complete the survey, or respondents can complete the paper survey and mail it back to School Perceptions in the envelope provided. 

“Our schools are a critical part of our community,” shares Van Deuren, “as we work to improve our schools we want to ensure that they will meet the needs of our students and community both now and in the future.  Therefore, the voice of every resident is critical to this process.”

Survey results will be presented at the December 12 School Board meeting and will also be available on the district website at www.spartan.org.