West Ada’s own survey shows overwhelming support to build new schools

An overwhelming majority of the more than 10,000 West Ada School District patrons surveyed by the district say they would choose to build and renovate schools to handle continued enrollment growth.

West Ada’s own survey results show that over 71% of respondents named “New Construction” and “Renovations and Additions to Existing Schools” as their top choices on a question that allowed patrons to select two of four options. The other two options received much lower support with about 40% asking for school boundary changes as one of their two top choices; 15.3% chose “Portables/Temporary Buildings.”

West Ada administrators say they sent 84,536 texts and emails to parents asking them to take the survey, and that 10,161 completed it. All 10,161 responders answered all 41 questions, according to summary data shared by the district with Idaho EdNews.

The survey follows years of population growth in the district of some 40,000 students. How to address the growth has been a discussion point for months, and could be a precursor to a record-setting bond proposal that would ask property owners in the district to pay for the construction of new schools and renovation of others.

  • A June analysis from the district shows a tentative 10-year project timeline for districtwide upgrades, starting with construction of three elementary schools in the district’s north, west and south regions. The projected price tag in that report: over $334 million.
  • West Ada presented the analysis to the Eagle City Council in June and discussed a similar one  during a joint meeting with the Meridian City Council in April. Watch the April meeting here.

The district sent the survey out last month as part of an effort to “plan and be strategic as possible about” further efforts to address growth in the wake of a spike in construction costs and an emergency legislative session earlier this month that earmarked $330 million in new funding for K-12.

The district’s survey also gauged general opinions about the district and support for upgrading things like parking lots, sidewalks, bus loops, playgrounds, fine arts and career-technical education facilities.

Over 64% of respondents said the district “meets expectations.” Just over 24% said the district operates “below” their expectations, while 11.43% said it operates “above” expectations.

Other results tied to addressing enrollment growth include:

  • 95.72% either “agree” or “strongly agree” that West Ada should have a plan in place to “address capacity” of its schools.
  • 78.07% agree or strongly agree that classrooms are “overcrowded.”
  • 86.83% either agree or strongly agree that the district should address renovations to older building to provide adequate education spaces.
  • “Safety and security” for schools received the highest vote tally for things to consider when building, renovating or replacing schools, at 57.43%.
  • Inadequate space for “extracurricular programs, physical educations, music and arts programs, parking, etc.” received the highest tally of deciding whether a building be replaced or renovated, with 47.61%.
  • 75.97% either “somewhat support” or “fully support” renovating current campuses.
  • 69.88% either somewhat or fully support a new elementary school, 94.86% either somewhat or fully support a new middle school and 72.75% said the same for a new high school.

Districts spokesman Greg Wilson said the district sent out 84,536 emails and texts regarding the survey to district household contacts from PowerSchool, a K-12 software program that districts use.

“We also posted the survey for our patrons on Facebook and (locally focused social networking app) NextDoor,” Wilson added.

Click here for the full batch of results.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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