Survey says residents want board to listen up

The Columbus Dispatch – July 29, 1992

Dublin school officials had better listen up if they want schools built, an $8,000 attitude survey of district residents says.

Residents remain polarized about district issues – particularly about where a second high school should be built – because the school board and administrators don’t listen or respond well, according to the survey by Saperstein Associates of Columbus.

If officials heed the survey’s advice, multiple property tax issues could be on the November ballot.

Fifty-four percent of 300 residents of the Dublin City School District who were surveyed by phone in early July said a $50.4 million bond issue failed June 2 because voters disapproved of the proposed high school site on the southeast corner of Brand and Avery roads, pollster Martin Saperstein told school board members Monday. A 2.1-mill operating levy to raise $2.5 million annually also failed in June.

Besides the second high school, money from the proposed June bond was to build a third middle school, a 10th elementary and a 200-student addition to Deer Run Elementary.

Several residents said repeatedly during the spring campaign that the issues would fare poorly because they weren’t separated. Board members said they put the requests in one package believing it would generate broader appeal.

”What everybody disliked about the package was more than what they liked about it,” Saperstein said after his presentation to the school board. Individual construction projects would be more likely to pass because ”different majorities support different issues,” he said.

Dublin school officials and administrators must communicate and listen better if future issues are to win, 49 percent of the respondents in the survey said. And three out of five people surveyed, or 62 percent, said the opinions of the average voter are seldom considered in major decisions.

At least 27 percent of the district’s residents said they oppose all property tax increases.

Of the sites offered for a second high school, 29 percent said build it at Hard and Sawmill roads east of the river on land on which the district has an option.

Another 29 percent want it in a campus setting near the existing high school at 6780 Coffman Rd., west of the river.

The remaining 42 percent were split among other locations or adding on to the Coffman Road building.