Superintendent of Schools Dr. Fred Maiocco shared results of the first community attitude survey with the Board of Education at its May special meeting/work session. Between April 25 and April 30, 363 registered voters were surveyed by The Nelson Report, in order to gauge community sentiment for the proposed bond, project priorities, key messages, and tax rate.
According to an executive summary, 47 percent of voters were initially favorable to the $104 million question. That level of support grew to 63 percent favorable when voters learned that the bond would include substantial safety and security upgrades and bring relief to overcrowding in schools.
The survey also confirmed the most urgent priorities for the district: replacement of Rocky Heights Elementary School, constructing an additional elementary school, expanding Hermiston High School, other district wide improvements, and replacement of Highland Hills Elementary School.
In a side-by-side comparison, voters were asked to consider a smaller package recommendation of $84 million, which would eliminate the replacement of Highland Hills Elementary School. The $104 million bond measure was 11 points more favorable than the smaller package, with the strongest support coming from 35-44 and 18-24 year olds.
In a statement, Dr. Fred Maiocco said, “This initial survey result is very favorable and indicates the community recognizes the challenges that come with student enrollment growth. We will continue to share more about these challenges with the community throughout the summer and fall.”
Hermiston School District is considering a proposed bond program totaling $104 million for consideration by voters in May 2017.
The survey, conducted in late April, is part of the district’s community outreach effort. Previous phases involved focus groups and technical analysis, including committee work by the Citizens’ Review Committee and the Facility Master Planning Committee.