In the wake of three failed operations referendums, the Green Lake School Board plans to offer a school climate survey to assess public sentiment about the district’s direction.

Board members spent time tweaking the survey’s questions Monday before sending the proposed survey to committee for further review.

School District Administrator Ken Bates said he expects the board will craft a survey that will incur minimal cost while maximizing feedback. It’s likely to be available via traditional mail and online, Bates said.

Talk of a survey came during a meeting where the board also addressed the daunting question of the $430,000 deficit projected for next school year.

The board kicked around various ideas, from reducing fringe salaries to wooing students from other district’s International Baccalaureate (IB) waiting lists.

“Fringes have gotten out of control,” School Board member Sydney Rouse said. “... When you want to save money, you’ve got to look where your greatest expense is.”

Although the district’s enrollment rose slightly this past fall, some board members worried it may be a temporary reprieve.

“I’ve talked to some parents, and if we have one more failed referendum, they’re out of here,” Gordy Farrell said.

Dennis Deyo said the biggest problem might not be lack of money, but lack of students.

He further suggested Green Lake School should place more emphasis on being the best, not necessarily being unique.

“With the resources we have, I think we should expect more — more student achievement,” he said.

The board has considered the possibility of a fourth referendum sometime in 2011, although no decision has been made.

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