School district seeks community input via online survey

FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon school officials are asking families to weigh in on a number of topics administrators say are key to planning for the district’s future.

School leaders are asking community members to take two surveys this month as they work with a private firm to assess the school corporation’s future and options for accommodating its growing enrollment.

The surveys, which can be found at the bottom of the district’s homepage, focus on facilities, curriculum and technology. So far, more than 250 people have filled out the surveys since they launched last week, but Superintendent Shane Robbins is encouraging anyone with a stake in the Mt. Vernon community to take them.

Participants in the survey are asked to weigh in on everything from paint colors to parking spaces as schools work to gauge community members’ priorities for improvement in the growing district.

In recent years, Mt. Vernon has seen its enrollment spike as McCordsville has grown, especially at the high school, which is now exceeding its capacity, principal Bernie Campbell has said. The school has a capacity of 1,500, and about 1,512 students were attending the school earlier this year.

The study, which is being conducted by Odle McGuire Shook, an Indianapolis-based architectural firm, is exhaustive; it measures economic activity, county birth rates and demographic trends among other data.

As the school corporation makes decisions about the district, it’s important to have community input, Robbins said. The surveys should take only about 15 minutes to complete, he added.

“A school district is a big part of every community,” Robbins said. “We truly want to hear everyone’s opinions.”

Del Jarman, who is heading up the study for Odle McGuire Shook, said his company and administrators are taking their time with the study to fully understand the community’s needs and desires.

Surveys are almost always part of a feasibility study because they help the company identify themes among constituents. They are the easiest and most efficient way to draw input from a cross-section of the school community, including parents, teachers, students and citizens, Jarman said.

The surveys will help kick off smaller group discussions among teachers, students and parents, he said.

Robbins plans to close the surveys mid-March as the district begins spring break.

The study is expected to be complete this fall, Robbins said. A task force of about 20 community stakeholders has been established and has met to review preliminary data about the number of homes in the district, birth rates and other demographics. The group will meet again in April to review survey results, Robbins said.

Once the study’s final results are packaged for administrators and school board members to examine, the report will lay out several options. Those possibilities will be priced out, including everything from projected utility costs to a rough timeline of when any renovations will need to be completed.

At a glance

Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. is asking community members to take two surveys as it proceeds with a facilities study to asses the districts future growth and how to accommodate it. The surveys will close mid March and can be accessed on the school corporation’s homepage at mvcsc.k12.in.us.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the links.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.