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Residents’ opinions gathered through survey in District 191

Residents provided opinions on a host of issues, including curriculum, instructional technology and facilities use in a recent telephone survey in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

Results of the survey will be used in continuing to develop Vision One91, the district’s plan for ensuring its mission of “Each Student Real-World Ready.”

It is one more way that feedback is being gathered. During his first year with the district, Superintendent Joe Gothard talked with hundreds of students, families, employees and community members about opportunities and challenges in the district. From their feedback, Vision One91 began to develop.

Survey results echoed what Gothard has been hearing. For example, nearly 90% of respondents said that technology is absolutely essential or very important to classroom learning. That response is in the top 25% of metro districts they’ve surveyed, said Peter Leatherman, chief executive officer, who shared survey results with members of the District 191 Board of Education on Aug. 7.

“The results show our residents understand how important technology is for daily classroom instruction and preparing our students for college and career,” said Gothard.

Nearly 90% say there is a safe and secure environment in District 191 schools. Yet they support even more improvements in security. This is a common response on school district surveys, said Leatherman, since the school shooting in Connecticut.

According to the survey, an area that needs more discussion is the possibility of changing grade configuration so that grades 9-12 would be together at Burnsville High School, grades 6-8 at the junior highs, and kindergarten through fifth grade at elementaries. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed felt that the current grade configuration is fine as it is.

“I see great potential with a 9-12 high school in terms of providing more opportunities that prepare students to be successful and ready for college and careers,” Gothard said. “It would involve changes to the school to provide space and ensure it’s set up in a way that best serves all  students, but I strongly believe it’s worth pursuing because of what it could mean for our students.”

On the topic of finances, 85% said that the community receives a good value from its investment in the school district, a seven percent increase from the 2011 survey.

Overall, respondents support property tax increases for security enhancements, elementary classroom space, redesigning  Diamondhead Education Center and adding learning space at Burnsville High School for classrooms and athletics/activities.

The survey of 400 randomly-selected residents was conducted by the Morris Leatherman Company, which has done extensive polling for school districts and cities throughout the Twin Cities metro area. The firm most recently surveyed the District 191 community in 2011.

Further input into Vision One91 will be gathered this fall through meetings with community groups and through the website at

Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 17:00