New London-Spicer Public Schools has been working extensively with community members to review, understand, and address the challenges facing the school district over the last year and a half.
In November 2020, the district put a tiered operating levy approach on the ballot which would have allowed for three increases to residential property taxes over the course of ten years. The plan was based on extensive community engagement with over a hundred community members participating in meetings and providing feedback on the district’s situation. The referendum was not approved by voters.
The district aimed to set a new direction in April and May of 2021 with a process to gather information and feedback from faculty and staff, as well as parents. This feedback was used for a community-based task force who held meetings throughout May and June to review the history of the district, current budget situation, and educational offerings, in order to provide feedback to the school board. Four community meetings were held in June to share more information with community members with both in-person and virtual options being offered.
A community survey was conducted by phone in May when 288 community members were asked about their thoughts on how to address the current financial situation. A majority of respondents said that the district should go to voters with an operating levy to address the issues.
Respondents said that the most important issues were:
- Providing help for struggling students
- Maintaining options for real-world experiences
- Maintaining options for college credits
- Providing mental health supports
- Avoiding cutting teachers and staff
- Maintaining class sizes
Learn more about the process that led to the referendum on the Setting a New Direction webpages