Since last fall, Rockwood School District parents, teachers, patrons and leaders have sought to better understand what the majority of the district's stakeholders would like the district to look like 10 or 20 years from now, so current strategic plans and finances can be shaped around that vision. Rockwood is Missouri's third largest school district, according to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education statistics, and St. Louis County's largest school district, so capturing its future into "one picture/perspective" was a pretty tall order.
How to fund whatever that future "picture" is has been at the heart of these conversations.
Another spotlight will be cast during Thursday night at the Rockwood Board of Education meeting on what is being deemed the "priorities" identified through this strategic process. Following is a primer regarding steps leading up to this week's summaries.
Results of a multimonth, three-phased community engagement were provided to about 40 attendees on Monday, via both a morning and evening session to accommodate different schedules. The first phase centered on a series of four "Narrowing the Pictures" community workshops held during September through November at the Rockwood Administrative Annex in Eureka.
Read related articles for more background:
'Picture Rockwood' Community Workshops Start Next Week
No Hidden Agendas Says 'Picture Rockwood' Committee
Rockwood School District: 'Picture' Less Financial Backing
New details were shared Monday from the second phase of engagement that occurred primarily in December. Members of the Picture Rockwood facilitating committee met with a variety of groups, sent personal letters and emails, and spoke with students and journalists to collect more input. Rockwood directors also used the district's various communications forums and school websites as additional tools to solicit feedback.
In addition, qualitative and quantitative data was collected by a third party organization last month:
- A total of 747 feedback/input forms were completed by district patrons.
- A telephone survey was completed with 400 respondents.
- Another 500 respondents' information was completed through an online survey.
Key Findings from the Telephone Surveys were:COMPONENT PERCENT OF RESPONDENTS WHO RATED COMPONENT AS "HIGH PRIORITY" Curriculum management plan 75.6 Increase academic interventions 69.8 Increase salaries to St. Louis County median 63.3 Infrastructure upgrades for technology 60.8 Maintain current class sizes 59.9 Hire more teachers to reduce class size comparable to neighboring school districts 51.1 Lower current class sizes 43.4 Tuition-free, full-day kindergarten 38.2
Other key findings from the telephone survey results were that facility improvements were in the high priority range of 60-plus percent, except for installing synthetic turf, which received a high priority level of only 32.7 percent, according to data released Monday. About one-third of respondents indicated they would favor increases of the tax levy amounts listed in the apple and orange pictures. A total of 63.3 percent of respondents said they would favor a no-tax rate increase of $39 million bond issue for "improving district facilities."
Next, the Picture Rockwood co-chairs will present their recommendations at the Board of Education during Thursday's (Jan. 10) directors' meeting.
Editor's Note: Return to Patch this week prior to Thursday's board meeting for more key findings and recommendations that are expected to be presented Thursday evening.