Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 22 October 2010 00:00
The Mineola School District Board of Education is in discussion to prep a phone survey if the bond vote were to fail on Oct. 26, according to district superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler. He said in a phone interview that residents should vote for the current bond if they want a cluster and the other bond if they want a north/south jurisdiction split.
However, he said there is a group of parents that are asking, “What if I want cluster, but not this cluster?”
Nagler said that the phone poll would be a way to gauge how and why people voted a certain way. Furthermore, it would determine their reasoning for voting no.
“If it were to fail, the survey would be done to see why people voted no for the bond,” he said. “Was it because they didn’t want a cluster? Or they didn’t want to spend the money? Or do they want a north/south.”
The questions on the survey have not been created yet, according to Nagler. Talks of an exit poll or survey were spawned at the Oct. 7 workshop meeting.
Trustee William Hornberger reported to the board that the Jackson Avenue School PTA discussed an exit poll for Oct. 26 at its meeting and was a “hot button issue” since the bond option has been under intense scrutiny by parents and residents. The board decided not to do an exit poll and wait for the results of the bond vote.
The vote will take place at Cross Street School, Hampton Street School, Jackson Avenue School, and Meadow Drive School. When a phone poll was brought to the table is unknown at this time.
Hornberger stated that the PTA did not go into specifics about what an exit poll or survey could say, but in anticipation of a “no-vote, are there some questions that [the board] could ask for the next steps?” said Hornberger.
Nagler said at the meeting that he told district council that if the board were to do an exit poll, he’d ask them to be responsible for it. “I don’t want to put children back out there as we did last time,” he said. “I asked the parents that they man the polls and run the exit poll and I received communication that district council did not want to do that.”
Nagler stated that he believes district council’s reasoning was that any exit poll to ascertain other information is going to confuse the issue. Furthermore, since the district is set on its path, to change the path now “would muddy the waters on how people are going to vote.”
The discussion at Jackson Avenue was related to the possible change of the path as it relates to the next step. “The dynamic was around an alternative to a cluster model if this [bond] doesn’t happen to pass,” Hornberger said.
“That’s what the poll would be addressing,” Nagler said. “Whether or not people voted no for this and people still want a cluster model.”
Trustee John McGrath said an exit poll should be done the, “old fashioned way. Put it up and see what happens. That is assuming this fails. I don’t think a survey at this point is going to help us that much. The survey in the final analysis doesn’t count, the vote counts.”
The district could hire a firm to conduct the survey, McGrath said at the meeting, but it has not been determined if the district will do so.
The bond option up for vote is bond option two, under reconfiguration option three. This reconfiguration option would see three schools close.
Meadow Drive, Hampton and Cross Street would close under this configuration. The Willis Avenue School would have a pre-K-1 model and Jackson Avenue would be a grade two through four institution. The middle school would hold fifth through seventh grade while the high school would use an option one configuration. Under option three, Hampton may be retained for the use as the district’s central office.
This model would see a full cluster, optimizing staff and class sizes and would showcase three-year transitions for students. According to Nagler and finance committee findings, this is the most cost-effective option in terms of savings.
The downside to this option is that all north/south students of the dividing line (Jericho Turnpike) would be traveling, and a bond would need to be passed. Nagler stated at the July 22 meeting that if bond option two fails, the district could still pursue bond option one.