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School Survey Leads to Referendum Questions

(The Times photo by Betsy Reason)
Take a Noblesville Schools online community survey and give your feedback about a possible future referendum at www.nobsurvey.com with a deadline of this Friday.

It’s the first time since 2015 that Noblesville Schools has gathered comprehensive feedback from the community.

Since the district’s community survey launched on April 11, Noblesville Schools has already gathered feedback from many residents. However, there is still time to complete the survey before its deadline, at 11:59 p.m. Friday at www.nobsurvey.com.

The online survey says it takes about 10 minutes to complete, but I found it took longer especially since responding to some essay questions. The survey measures the district on academics, leadership, safety, communication, finances and more. Plus, the survey leads into questions about voters’ support for a referendum.

Here are the questions in the survey:

  1. Grades are often given to denote the quality of student work. Thinking about Noblesville Schools and their overall mission of educating Noblesville children for the world of tomorrow, what grade would you assign? A= Significantly exceeds expectations; B=Exceeds expectations; C=Meets expectations; D=Meets few expectations; and F=Fails to meet expectations.
  2. Using the same grading system, please grade Noblesville Schools on each of the following:
    • Caring for kids
    • School leadership (principles, assistant principals, counselors)
    • Responsiveness to student needs
    • Instructional techniques
    • Responsiveness to parents/community
    • Safety
    • Providing engaging learning opportunities
    • Innovation
    • Addressing mental health issues
    • District leadership (superintendent, school board)
  3. The online form also asks the community to write in feedback with opinion.
  4. Evaluate Noblesville Schools on the following, rating each item on a scale of Excellent to Poor:
    • Maintaining appropriate class sizes
    • Keeping taxes affordable
    • Spending tax dollars effectively
    • Providing services for our students
    • Providing opportunities for extracurricular activities
    • Staying current with integrating technology
    • Ensuring students and staff from all walks of life feel welcome, respected and supported (race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, special needs)
    • Providing safe transportation services to and from school
  5. Please read the following statements and rate each on a scale of 5 to 1 where 5=Strongly agree, 3=Neither agree nor disagree, 1=Strongly disagree.
    • I’m willing to continue to support Noblesville Schools financially through taxes to make sure the quality of our district remains competitive with other area school districts and competitive nationally.
    • It’s very important that teachers are paid competitively so we don’t lose them to other higher paying districts.
    • Supporting public schools is essential to protect the investment we’ve made in our homes.
    • People move into Noblesville because of the reputation of our schools.
    • I can’t afford to continue to support Noblesville Schools financially through referendum taxes, no matter how good the cause.
    • Noblesville Schools provides the same or better quality education as other Hamilton County school districts.
    • State standardized testing scores and school rankings are an important part of my evaluation of a school’s quality.
    • It is important to maintain state funding for public schools.
    • Noblesville Schools has created a learning culture that is beyond what other Hamilton County school districts are doing.
    • Noblesville Schools is one of the best school districts in the state of Indiana
    • It is important to ensure students and staff from all walks of life feel welcome, respected and supported (race, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, special needs).
    • We get excellent value for a Noblesville Schools’ education relative to the taxes we pay for our school district.
    • The success of Noblesville Schools directly impacts economic development, job creation, property values and quality of life in Noblesville.
    • Noblesville Schools is now better equipped to address mental health issues today than it was prior to the 2018 school shooting.
    • Noblesville Schools are safer now than they were prior to the 2018 school shooting.
  6. Indiana funds private and charter schools more generously than most other states, which can put state funding for public schools at risk. How concerned are you about the impact state funding of private and charter schools has on public schools? Response choices: Extremely concerned, very concerned, somewhat concerned, not very concerned, not at all concerned.
  7. The next question, there are two options, Option A: School districts’ educational priority should be to focus on real world learning to set up students for success in whatever path they choose. Option B: School districts’ educational priority should be to teach to the standardized test to set up students for success on those tests and improve school rankings.
  8. Where are you most likely to get your school information? Select your first choice: Noblesville Schools website, from district employee, social media, HCTV online, from students, local print publications, meetings, emails from school/school district, school electronic newsletter, word of mouth, other.
  9. The next few questions are about a potential referendum vote followed by questions to determine how representative this survey is to the Noblesville community. A referendum covers the shortfall of state funding by providing additional funds to schools and is voted on by the community. Noblesville School’ current operating referendum is set to expire in the next few years.
    • If you were to vote today, would you support continuing the operating referendum at its current tax rate?
    • What if Noblesville Schools proposed an operating referendum at a tax rate lower than the current one? Would you support continuing the operating referendum at a lower tax rate?
    • Let’s assume Noblesville has a variety of needs, but not enough money to meet all of its needs. Would you support a referendum, and vote yes, if funding was needed? Support a referendum to provide academic programming for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), arts, literacy? Support a referendum to maintain safety and security? Support a referendum to provide professional development for our teachers? Support a referendum to keep technology up-to-date? Support a referendum to provide facilities to meet future growth? Support a referendum to provide safe bus service to and from school? Support a referendum to pay our teachers a competitive salary? Support a referendum to provide extracurricular opportunities for sports, performing arts and clubs? Support a referendum to maintain appropriate class sizes?
  10. Are you currently registered to vote in the Noblesville School District?
  11. How likely are you to vote in the 2022 elections, considering the items on the ballots would include a statewide primary, general election and school board elections?
  12. Do you have any children under the age of 18? What schools are your children attending? How likely are you to continue to enroll your child or grandchildren in Noblesville schools? The questionnaire also asks your age range, gender, last grade of school completed, if you’re employed by the district, and how long you’ve lived in your home in Noblesville. So if you’re a parent of a Noblesville Schools student, this is your opportunity to give feedback. Be honest. State your opinion. Then also ask yourself what you think about a possible referendum.

– Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.