The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 4, 2014

School board surveying former families of district

By Brenden West
Assistant Editor

CLINTON — The Clinton Community School Board has begun surveying families who have open enrolled out of the district, according to school board member Eric Gettes.

Officials have divided up roughly 220 families and have made contact with several, Gettes said. When reached, board members ask parents a series of questions relating to why they chose to leave the district.

"The goal is to gather information regarding reasons why people have chosen to open enroll their children into other districts," Gettes said Monday following the district's regular board meeting. "We'll then analyze that data."

An early hurdle in the research has been outdated contact information for the families. That's why Gettes is reaching out to local media to try to spread word.

Student enrollment dropped by 106 according to a January report from the district. This shortfalled finances by $636,000 and led to 11 position cuts in February.

It also prompted the study, Gettes said.

"We have a formal survey with specific questions that we ask them and we're recording their answers," he said.

The district is encouraging families who have not been contacted by a Clinton School Board member to visit the district's website and reach board members themselves. Otherwise, Superintendent Deb Olson said families can reach her at her office line at (563) 243-9600, ext. 32.

Gettes said the board does not wish to badger families whose children are open enrolled out of the district and will not try to lure them back. He hopes to collect information so the district can make informed decisions and retain more families.

"The encouraging thing to me is the people I've reached have been very willing to talk to us and share their thoughts," Gettes said. "Too early to say if there's any patterns or anything."