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Survey results show support for new Spring Valley Elementary building

Survey results are in! Spring Valley School District residents weighed in on the future of the Spring Valley Elementary building, which is currently located downtown. File photo

The Spring Valley School Board heard an update on the results of its community survey Monday, Oct. 29 regarding the Spring Valley Elementary School building. The survey, conducted by the company School Perceptions, had a 36 percent participation rate, said Superintendent Don Haack. Haack reported the survey had one of the highest participation rates School Perceptions has seen.

"So they're pretty pleased with the result rate," Haack said.

He noted a nice distribution of ages among those who participated in the survey.

"I think we've got some good, honest feedback, from a good percentage of our people that can give us a good direction to go." Haack said.

Here's what the results said:

• 75 percent of respondents overall said they would support a referendum that includes funds to update or replace Spring Valley Elementary. Ten percent said no, and 15 percent said not sure.

• 67 percent of participants aid they would support the option of building a new elementary school. Six percent supported remodeling the current building, 8 percent said they would support either option, another 8 percent said they would not support either option and 11 percent said they were not sure.

• If a new school is built, 74 percent of participants said they would support a new elementary building at the middle/high school campus; 14 percent said they'd support a new school building at the football/baseball field site; 12 percent said they did not support building a new school and 7 percent said they were undecided or needed more information.

• Overall 54 percent said they would support a referendum that included building a track, and relocating the football and baseball fields at the high school campus; 29 percent said they would not, and 17 percent said they were not sure.

• When asked which option for adding gym space they would support, 58 percent of participants said they'd support expanding the gym at a new school, 6 percent said they would support maintaining the current gym, 12 percent said they would support either option, 12 percent said they would not support either option and another 12 percent said they were undecided or needed more information.

• 69 percent of participants said they would support a referendum that provides funding for additional gym space for school and community use, provided the gym option was acceptable to them; 15 percent said they would not support this, while 16 percent said they were not sure.

Haack said the survey results indicate the community would support about a $23 million referendum.

"That would be the maximum level that they would recommend ... running a referendum for," Haack said.

Haack said overall the district is pleased that the results were pretty clear.

"They gave us direction to go," Haack said. "The board now has a lot to think about and a lot to discuss over the next few months to come to a decision to see if they would like to run a referendum in the spring."

Haack said the board will look at the survey results and, should it decide to put a referendum on the April ballot, would need to vote on that by mid-January at the latest.

Tax levy

Monday, the board also approved the 2018-9 tax levy, which is down about 3.5 percent from last year. The levy is set at $2,987,884. The mil rate will be set at 9.77, which is about a 3.55 percent decrease from last year.

"We had a little more state aid come in this year," Haack said. He said property values also didn't go up "hardly at all" in the school district. "Since enrollment is steady, the increase in state aid allowed our tax levy to decrease just a little bit.

"Our budget is in good shape. We anticipate having a balanced budget without too much trouble. This year we purchased three school busses already and we'll still be able to come out with a balanced budget so that's good.

"We're pleased with the way things are going. Things are moving forward the School District of spring Valley and we're doing well."

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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