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Survey shows some support for Willmar's proposed levy

WILLMAR -- The majority of people responding to an online survey support the idea of renewing an operating levy for the Willmar School District.

The results of the survey were released this week by the district. The survey had 448 respondents from the district, 80 percent of them parents in the district.

Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said the survey is not scientific. It was sent to everyone the district has an email address for, and it was available to anyone in the community on the district's website. It would cost thousands to commission a scientific poll with telephone interviews with randomly selected participants, he said.

Still, the poll did reflect some of the district's demographics, he said. Half of the respondents have lived in the district between 10 and 30 years. Three-quarters are between the ages of 35 and 54.

The survey indicated that 62.5 percent of the respondents would support the renewal of the $498.49 operating levy that is about to expire.

The support dropped to 58 percent for an increased levy.

Asked to explain their support for a levy, 58 percent chose, "Education is important," as a reason.

Respondents' views in other areas:

- 67 percent trust the district to do what is right for children; 26 percent said they did not trust the district.

- 76 percent rate the quality of education excellent or good; 23 percent rate it fair or poor.

- 44 percent rate Willmar quality of education better than neighboring districts; 30 percent rate it about the same; 11.7 percent rate it worse.

- 67 percent say the district is held accountable for the quality of education it provides; 25 percent say it is not held accountable.

- 74 percent believe high-quality public schools increase property values in the district; 18 percent do not believe that.

- 82 percent believe good public schools help in recruitment and retention of employees at community businesses; 11 percent disagree.

In cases where the percentages do not equal 100 percent, other respondents answered with "I don't know."

The full survey results will be posted at

-- Linda Vanderwerf

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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