Belvidere School District Phone Survey

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Belvidere school district's first phone survey is in the books. The questionnaire dialed out to 400 people, revealed both what the district needs to change and what the district needs to keep the same.

"They give our teachers high marks, which I knew we had the teachers, which just certifies that we do," said Belvidere School Board President Julia Norem.

But while teachers and the overall district received high marks, the question of how citizens plan on funding the district is another question that lacked such a clear answer.

"It re-enforced that people put a high priority on education, but at the same time we're having a tough time figuring out how to pay for that on property taxes," Norem said.

In April, the district suffered another referendum blow when voters rejected two requests including a $54 million package that would have built a new high school, elementary school and added classrooms to the middle school.

Norem says the survey tells the board to take future referendum plans slower and with an eye towards keeping construction cheap.

"It was pretty clear that they'd like to take those things one step at a time. It was too much so it was clear of what we need to do just the high school," Norem said.

And with a more scaled down referendum likely to hit the ballot next spring, Norem says the survey also gives the school board a better idea of how it can better voice the needs of the students.

"We need to do a better job of communicating the need for more classroom space and the education fund and particularly we need to communicate that better for that don't have kids in school," Norem said.

There will likely be a steering committee formed in the coming months to decide exactly what would go into a new referendum question.

The price tag and whether to propose building a mega high school or two separate high schools are questions still to be discussed.