ELKINS - Survey results indicate many residents are pleased with how the Randolph County Board of Education has distributed levy funds, and would even support another excess levy to support education, officials said.
Chris Hamrick, an art teacher at Tygarts Valley High School, conducted the survey as part of an internship in Superintendent Terry George's office.
Hamrick said the levy survey was George's suggestion.
"We wanted to learn if folks were willing to continue the levy so that it provides educational opportunities for students in our community," Hamrick said. "I developed an on-line link that will show exactly where the levy money is being spent."
Hamrick surveyed parents and guardians; students; teachers and staff; and other members of the community. Students and parents were sent a link on the online program Engrade, with directions to complete the survey. Hamrick said Randolph County staff members received an email with a link to the survey.
Local residents wishing to complete the survey can go to the Randolph County Schools website at boe.rand.k12.wv.us/ and click on the yellow bar at the bottom of the page to complete the questionnaire.
The survey asks the community, among other things, about whether levy funding should be used "for music/choir, the arts, field trips and extracurricular activities including sports." According to results Hamrick presented to the BOE this week, 35.71 percent of respondents strongly agreed; 24.11 percent agreed; 19.64 percent disagreed and 20.54 percent strongly disagreed.
When the survey asked parents and guardians whether "the excess levy is effective in increasing your student's achievement," the results show that 20.81 percent strongly agreed, 45.09 percent agreed, 21.97 percent disagreed and 12.14 percent strongly disagreed. When students responded to the same question, 10.42 percent strongly agreed and 50 percent agreed, while 22.92 percent disagreed and 16.67 percent strongly disagreed. For teachers and staff, 42.28 percent strongly agreed and 39.02 percent agreed, while 13.01 percent disagreed and 5.69 percent strongly disagreed.
The survey also asked parents and guardians if "the extra supplies funds, provided by the levy, (have) been beneficial to your school costs and your student's achievement." According to the results, 23.7 percent strongly agreed and 38.73 percent agreed, while 25.43 percent disagreed and 12.14 percent strongly disagreed. When students were asked the same question, 14.58 percent agreed and 43.75 percent strongly agreed, while 29.17 percent disagreed and 12.5 percent strongly disagreed. Teachers and staff answered the same question: 52.03 percent strongly agreed and 33.33 percent agreed, while 12.2 percent disagreed and 2.44 percent strongly disagreed.
When parents were asked if the levy was effective for the needs of the students, 21.97 percent strongly agreed, 44.51 percent agreed, 21.97 percent disagreed and 11.56 percent strongly disagreed.
When students were asked the same question, 12.5 percent strongly agreed, 50 percent agreed, 27.08 percent disagreed and 10.42 percent strongly disagreed.
Among teachers and staff, 52.03 percent strongly agreed and 34.96 percent agreed, while 8.94 percent disagreed and 4.07 percent strongly disagreed.
The survey also asked each group if they would recommend a new levy at the appropriate time and 30.36 percent of the community strongly agreed and 15.18 percent agreed, while 12.5 percent disagreed and 41.96 percent strongly disagreed.
Among the parents and guardians, 26.59 percent strongly agreed and 36.99 percent agreed, while 21.97 percent disagreed and 14.45 percent strongly disagreed. For students, 16.67 percent strongly agreed and 45.83 percent agreed, while 22.92 percent disagreed and 14.58 percent strongly disagreed. For teachers and staff, 54.47 percent strongly agreed and 28.46 percent agreed, while 8.94 percent disagreed and 8.13 percent strongly disagreed.
The combined results of members of the community, parents, guardians, teachers and staff, when asked if they would recommend a new levy at the appropriate time, showed that 37.86 percent strongly agreed and 26.97 percent agreed, while 14.49 percent disagreed and 20.67 percent strongly disagreed.
"The results show that the public tends to agree that the levy money is being spent where it should be," Hamrick told The Inter-Mountain Wednesday. "And not only that, they seemed to be in support of approving another levy when asked at the appropriate time."
"As a teacher, I see the impact that this levy has had on students everyday, whether it's allowing the school to provide them with supplies like pencils and notebooks, to utilizing technology to not only familiarize students with new devices and programs, but also to give them access to tools they would not be able to have otherwise," Hamrick said. "It also allows the administration to fund maintenance for each school, including replacing roofs, gym floors or installing air conditioning systems to ensure that students have a comfortable and safe environment for learning."
Asked Wednesday how many people were surveyed, Hamrick said he did not have that information available as of press time.
"This is not a scientific study," George said. "But I think it gives us an idea of the general support for how the levy has been received and it appears that the majority of those polled appreciated what the levy allowed individual schools to do for Randolph County's students. I want to congratulate Mr. Hamrick on his hard work in preparing this survey."
Starting at the end of April, George and Hamrick will visit each school in the county, holding open public forums to gain further input from the citizens in the county regarding their feelings about the levy.
"We want to ask the public if they are pleased with how the levy money was handled and to see if they will support putting another levy for renewal in 2016," George said.
The full results of the survey will soon be available via a link to a subpage on the Randolph County Board of Education's website, Hamrick said.
Contact Chad Clem by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.