According to the report, stakeholders “overwhelmingly approved” the district’s quality of education and student experience. However, respondents indicated there is room for improvement in stakeholder perceptions of the district’s communication and management of district finances.
Respondents indicated they didn’t feel they had enough information to make an informed decision about all quality areas in the district.
While respondents agreed with the board’s assessment of facilities needing improvements, they were also upset with recent district financial decisions, including the sale of the Hubble property and a perceived emphasis on building new facilities instead of maintaining existing facilities, according to the report.
Respondents who chose none of the proposed concepts were respondents who rated District 200 finances and communication poorly, rated Jefferson facilities highly and valued minimum capital facilities costs. These respondents were also more likely to list the board meetings as their main source of information.
Of the 1,035 responders, 34 percent said they supported 'Concept 2'—relocation of the district's main office, a new Jefferson site and renovation of the School Services Center (SSC) for operational facilities and technological services.
The least popular concept, which received 15 percent support from respondents was also the most expensive option at $38.6 million. The concept would call for relocation of the main office, renovation of the SSC and all top-priority capital improvements.
At $29.6 million, 'Concept 1' included a new Jefferson building and maintenance at the current SSC and unused Woodland school facility. The option received 27 percent support.
Twenty-four percent of respondents chose the 'other' category.
Who are the respondents?
Of the 1,035 respondents, 78 percent were Wheaton residents. Warrenville residents represented nine percent of the responses. Winfield residents represented eight percent of the responses, according to the report.
Most respondents, nearly 70 percent, were 45- to 64-years-old. About 30 percent of respondents said they were 25- to 44-years-old. About 41 percent of respondents said they have lived in Wheaton over 20 years.
Quality ratings of District 200
Respondents rated the overall quality of education and student experience at District 200 schools highly, 91 percent and 88 percent, respectively.
The quality of District 200 facilities, communication with stakeholders and management of finances received mostly mixed ratings. The community response regarding district finances was in the “lower rating” category.
The overall quality of the Jefferson facility received low ratings.
Stakeholders prioritized capital improvements that provide for the safety and security of students, create appropriate learning environments, accommodate students with disabilities and have an innovative approach to education.
They gave mixed ratings to the following priorities:
- Keeping repair and renovation costs as low as possible,
- Renovating facilities to support academic and extracurricular experiences for students,
- Keeping initial capital facilities costs as low as possible,
- Emphasizing technology,
- Having facilities on par with other districts,
- Investing in energy saving and other “green” solutions and
- Developing Jefferson in accordance with a long-range facilities plan.
They gave low ratings to the following priorities:
- Ensuring flexibility of the use of the Jefferson building,
- Providing adequate space to run district services and administrative operations,
- Including green space in renovation plans,
- Providing space for community use and
- Blending Jefferson design with the neighborhood.