BRADENTON - The results of a recent community survey on issues that the Manatee School District faces were presented in detail at Tuesday's Manatee School Board regular meeting.
The 943 completed surveys contained questions as to how the county should prioritize various issues relating to planning and the budget.
Participants in the survey were asked to prioritize the importance of various academic and non-academic programs and activities, as well as how certain indicators of academic success - such as teacher efectiveness and graduation rates - rated among them. Tuesday's presentation only focused on survey items that were deemed a high priority by the majority of survey takers (75 percent or more).
The survey was conducted by Manatee School District's Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC), which included persons nominated by the school board (Stephen Graham, Rodney Jones, Rosalie Shaffer, Dennis Maley and Jayne Giroux), representatives from local organizations (Pat Barber of the Manatee Education Association, Junior Salazar of the Latin Chamber of Commerce, Susie Copeland of the Manatee NAACP, and Jackie Dzelski of the Manatee Chamber), as well as district staff members.
Collected from parents, school district employees, community members (including local business organizations) and students - at community meetings, at schools and online, the results were called a "snapshot" of community opinion by presenter Rodney Jones.
Jones noted there was "a common strand" among different participant groups on many issues, from prioritizing core programs such as reading, science, technology and math, to high school graduation and "adequate support" for teachers, including competitive benefits and salaries to both attract and retain talented staff; and general safety on school campuses.
He also said that members of CBAC got a chance to sit with people taking the surveys to discuss the listed issues in more detail, a small action that he called helping the district move toward creating a more inclusive environment for community members.
During the middle of 2014, community meetings will be held to advise citizens how the survey results were utilized in district policy.
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