'Picture Rockwood' Feedback Summarized

During Monday morning and evening sessions, Picture Rockwood citizen co-chairs presented results of a recent feedback phase of the district's community engagement process. They again will be at presented Thursday's Board of Education meeting.

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" 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 during Thursday's (Jan. 10) Board of Education 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.

George Roberts January 08, 2013 at 01:34 PM
The citizens who attended were misled regarding district finances. At the beginning of the process the district projected a $6.6 million deficit this year - it is now a suprlus of around $2 million and might end higher. How can anyone realistically choose programs and projects when the numbers change this much?
Julie Brown Patton January 08, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Thank you, George; that is an important factor. On Thursday, we are publishing more about the financial aspects in part 2, as a continuation of key findings, per our editor's note in this article. Did you think the surplus part of this overall equation was well enough explained?
KM Kramer January 09, 2013 at 11:40 PM
It is unfortunate Rockwood continue to follow a route directed to what the district should have looked like five years ago, not what we should be planning for the future. Innovative ideas and forward thanking is what is needed, both in terms of learning curriculum, technology, and most importantly funding. Keeping quality teachers, providing them with the means to stay current in their subjects, and giving them a decant salary commensurate with the ability should be number one priority - you can have all the synthetic turf fields, fancy schools, state of the art last year's technology but without good teachers you don't have anything.


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