Our community will decide the future of our schools. It is our responsibility as a community to make decisions that are good for our entire community. It’s important that community members have all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Following the 2015 referendum, community members made it clear that they need more information to make a decision about the best plan for the future of schools for our districts youngest learners.
That being said, residents are very supportive of the direction the School District is going. According to a scientific survey of 300 adult residents of Independent School District 318 (ISD 318) conducted between June 25 and July 1, 2015:
- 88 percent agree that the community receives a good value from its investment in its public schools
- 89 percent rate the job performance of teachers and other instructional staff as good or excellent
- By more than a 2 to 1 margin, residents give the School Board, superintendent and district administration a positive job approval rating
Business Community Support
A survey of members by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce found a slight majority were in favor of the 2015 referendum and many comments indicating that quality education should be a priority for the community, but that more information was needed.
The Chamber Board formed an Educational Facilities task Force. This task force concluded:
Moving forward, the EFT will stay engaged with the ISD 318 School Board and other agencies and organizations to help facilitate the necessary community conversations that will hopefully bring about consensus regarding the methodology to provide the highest level of education for our students.
- This is a complex issue. To move forward will require a new level of conversations about the education facility needs of the community.
- The data sources used by ISD 318 leading up to the referendum process were found to be sound.
- The Bigfork and Grand Rapids High Schools and the RJE Middle School are in good shape but there is a need to not only expand, but to significantly repair and up-date or outright replace the existing elementary school buildings.
- Educational needs have changed greatly since decades ago when these schools were built.