Survey gauges residents' attitudes on Janesville School Board
JANESVILLE Janesville School District officials have spent time and energy in recent years surveying staff, parents and students.
The idea is to find out how satisfied those groups are with the school district.
The theory is that the higher the satisfaction, the better job the district is doing.
The goal is to improve the ratings from each group.
The surveys satisfy the desire to measure performance and improvement, which is part of The Studer Group process that the district employs.
Principals and central-office administrators—including the superintendent—are evaluated on their satisfaction scores, although not on those scores alone.
"What gets measured gets done," officials are fond of saying. That's also a Studer Group idea.
Now, a survey is being used to gauge the school board's performance.
The board recently asked 39 people who frequent school board meetings to answer a six-question survey. Twenty-seven responded. Officials said it was impossible to tell how many were school employees because the survey was anonymous.
-- 71 percent said the board is always or almost always "well prepared for meetings."
-- 71 percent agreed the board always or almost always "actively listens to the material that is being presented."
-- 74 percent agreed the board always or almost always "shows respect to presenters."
-- 74 percent agreed the board always or almost always "asks fair questions to presenters."
-- 63 percent agreed the board always or almost always "treats its fellow members with respect."
-- 85 percent agreed board meetings are always or almost always "run a dignified and professional manner."
No one who responded to the survey checked "never" or "seldom." The only other option was "usually."
Board President Bill Sodemann, who brought the survey idea to the board, asked his fellow members Tuesday whether they'd like to continue surveying meeting-goers. The board voted 8-0 to do so. Greg Ardrey was absent.
"If we're going to ask our administrators and other leaders to be accountable, we need to be, as well," said board member David DiStefano.
Sodemann said he'd like the board to get better results in coming years. The board would shine when compared with the legislatures in Madison or Washington, D.C., Sodemann said, "However we're in Janesville. We do things different here. I think we should try to improve."
Board member Karl Dommershausen said there should be an effort to get more people to take the survey, including those who watch meetings at home.
Board member Deborah Schilling suggested a question be added to gauge how well board members respond to questions and concerns from constituents.
A few of the respondents added comments. One complained that viewers at home don't understand what each agenda item is about and suggested a brief introduction.
The same person wrote: "Brevity should be a concern to board members. Sometimes individual board members expound at length!"