School district extends deadline for online survey

Thursday, February 14, 2008 | 6:37 p.m. CST; updated 9:02 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — An online survey asking teachers and staff of Columbia Public Schools where $5 million in cuts can be made is being extended to Feb. 20.

The results will be made public and will report percentages of yes and no answers and comments.

“We are going to provide the media with the data,” spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said. “It will be the same thing we provide to the board.”

The online survey is a way for the Columbia School Board to find out what programs, equipment, supplies and other resources could be eliminated from the school district’s budget.

Baumstark said the optional survey is being extended to give all employees a chance to respond. At 3:30 p.m. Thursday, there were 710 responses. The district employs 2,009 full-time equivalents, although the number of employees is higher. School officials did not say how many individuals the district employs.

“It’s such an important topic we want to make sure our staff has enough time to weigh in,” Baumstark said. “We’d like to have all employees participate.”

In addition to paring the $5 million, the district is asking voters to approve a $10.3 million property tax levy increase in the April 8 election.

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