“83% of local voters see improving local schools as either extremely important or very important, compared to 80% who view improving the local economy the same way. This does not surprise me at all, because in the long run our local economy is heavily impacted by the quality of the schools we have,” commented Dr. Marc Ecker, FVSD Superintendent. “High quality schools attract good businesses, whose employees want good schools for their children, and are essential to maintaining a highly productive work force and strong, safe community.”
Maintaining local streets and roads, protecting property values, and improving public safety were in the next tier of priorities, according to Dr. McLarney, followed by preventing local tax increases and protecting the environment at the bottom of the list of concerns.
65% of voters rated local elementary schools as excellent or good, compared to 13% rating them fair, poor or very poor and 23% not expressing an opinion. For middle schools, the numbers were similar – 60% excellent or good, 13% fair, poor or very poor, and 27% with no expressed opinion. 43% saw local schools as better than others in Orange County, 31% as about the same, and only 5% view them as worse, with 22% not expressing an opinion. (Numbers may not add to 100% due to rounding.)
“We have been explaining that our school district is the second lowest in state funding per student of all districts in Orange County,” explained FVSD Chief Budget Officer Christine Fullerton. “Just to move up to the third lowest funded district would give us $150 more per child each year – approximately a million dollars annually. 64% of voters agreed that the Fountain Valley School District has a great or moderate need for additional money to repair and upgrade school facilities and technology, which likely reflects an increased understanding of our fiscal situation compared to other school districts.”
The Community Perception Survey also showed that 69% of local voters agreed that “If we want our kids to succeed in college and careers, they must be skilled in the use of today’s technologies and have a solid background in science, math and technology.”
“Voters have a high opinion of the quality of education provided by the District, but also recognize that it is a moving target and requires continued investment in facilities, technology and training,” said Dr. McLarney in conclusion. “Top voter priorities fall into three areas: modernization and repair of facilities, upgrading instructional technology in the classroom, and upgrading science labs, libraries, and computer systems to keep pace with technology and the demands of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education.”
The Fountain Valley School Board is not considering any specific proposals at this time. The survey was designed and conducted by True North Research Inc. of Encinitas, California and consisted of 400 interviews conducted between November 14 and November 20, 2014 with a statistical margin of error of +/- 4.87%. Copies of Dr. Timothy McLarney’s presentation are available below in PDF form for download.
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About the Fountain Valley School District
The Fountain Valley School District, founded in 1876, is comprised of 10 schools serving over 6,300 students from Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach. Fountain Valley School District seeks to promote a foundation for academic excellence, mastery of basic skills, responsible citizenship, and a desire by students to achieve their highest potential through a partnership with home and community. To learn more, visit our website at www.fvsd.us, or join us on Facebook.