LWSD Responds to reader question about error in levy proposal

We received the following letter from a reader asking us to look into an apparent error regarding the Lake Washington School District levy. Below is the original letter to Kirkland Views followed by a response from Kathryn Reith of the LWSD.

Editor:

See slide 13 of the district's survey of 1000 households.  According to this, the proposal they are running was the least favorite option.  I showed Dr. Kimball this slide at a public meeting and he said it must be incorrect and I should email him to get correct data.  I haven't heard a response yet.  Perhaps you can straighten this out.  Either the district has made a huge error on their public website, or they made a huge error in their levy.

Sincerely,

George Hu

source: http://www.lwsd.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/News/Levy-2011/levy-survey-results.pdf

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Thanks, Rob. I really appreciate the opportunity. Here’s our response:

The district had different sets of data that informed this decision. In addition to the data from the survey Mr. Hu refers to, the district also had data from over 1000 people who attended public input sessions and/or took a survey online. In that data (slide 6), the item currently on the ballot was the one most favored. These individuals had more opportunities to learn about the implications of different choices. They were also more likely to be individuals directly affected by these issues

The other set of data, the random sample survey that Mr. Hu refers to, was contradictory in its results. Mr. Hu is right about the results on slide 13, which showed that respondents favored a solution using only portable classrooms. This question was the only one with a price tag: the level of support was highest with the cheapest option and lowest with the most expensive option.  But these same people also asked that we keep high schools below 2000 students (slide 15) and also supported adding permanent classrooms (slide 12), neither of which is possible with the option of adding portables to the two high schools. The only option that both keeps Eastlake and Redmond High Schools below 2000 students and involves permanent classrooms is the one that is currently on the ballot. Essentially, the board could not meet the community’s price tag preference and its priorities at the same time.

While the slide Mr. Hu refers to seems to indicate a clear picture, an examination of the rest of the data shows a much more complex view. In the end, the school board made a decision keeping all of the information on community priorities and preferences in mind.

Kathryn Reith Communications Director Lake Washington School District