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Paynesville community provides little feedback at school district planning meeting

PAYNESVILLE -- The Paynesville Area Schools has a better understanding of what the community wants for its school district, but the ideas came from few sources.

Superintendent Todd Burlingame said the district held its strategic planning and visioning meeting for the Paynesville community April 13 in the district auditorium but only 15 people showed up.

"I was expecting a bigger turnout, and I don't know if it was the weather. It was awful nice Monday night," Burlingame said. "... I was kind of hoping for 50 to 100, but we had 15 there."

The district scheduled the meeting to gain community feedback regarding the future of Paynesville Area Schools. In a previous interview, Burlingame said the district intended to find out where district residents wanted the district to be in five to 10 years.

Burlingame spent most of early Monday meeting with various groups of district staff to discuss a related survey distributed to students and staff. The anonymous survey was also posted on the district's Web site for Paynesville community members to fill out and submit to the district.

Unfortunately, Burlingame said, only 48 staff members and 33 residents filled out surveys. "That was kind of a little disheartening, too," he said.

From the limited input, Burlingame said, the district still built a general understanding of what district staff and community members want for Paynesville Area Schools. As posted on the district Web site, some of the district priorities mentioned by the parties included supervision of class sizes, the district's need to stay current with technology for its students, and the necessity of adequate funding for the district.

"It was a very good process," Burlingame said. "I think the people who were there felt pretty good about it.

"Everybody basically had the opportunity to share what they valued and what they would like to see in the future and where they would like our district to go."

Burlingame said the district administration and the School Board will meet Wednesday to organize the data and create a vision statement for the district. He said they will also create a list of the district's top six priorities at the meeting.