The Ladue School District board met Monday night to discuss a proposed tax levy. CFO Dr. Jason Buckner shared the possibility of two types of levies: Operating Levy and Bond Levy. According to Buckner, the current levy is performing adequately in terms of providing enough income to meet operating expenses. He advised fellow board members not to make changes.
A community survey was recently conducted by Ladue to help determine which direction to proceed in regard to the levy. Board members are expected to receive a report stating findings soon. The proposed tax levy will be slated for further discussion at a future board meeting.
In addition to the proposed tax levy, the 2011-2013 Communications Report was presented by Director of Communications, Susan Dielmann. She highlighted research results from the 2009 Patron Survey conducted by Patron Insight to determine effectiveness of internal and external communications. She stated that the top four methods of communication patrons use to get their information are:
- Friends and neighbors
- Link Newsletter
- St. Louis Post Dispatch
By comparison, the district utilizes the following as primary communications channels:
- Link Newsletter
- District website
Dielmann stated that the communications office goals for 2011-2013 are to improve community perceptions, knowledge and support of the Ladue School District; Increase patron utilization of existing channels of communication for district information; and to create additional channels of communication and establish bases for evaluation.
Dielmann highlighted the ways in which the communications office will reach their goals: Implement social media, launch a new intranet site (Access Ladue), create a website for the Operating Tax Increase initiative, create opportunities for stakeholder engagement through parent organizations, staff meetings, and town hall meetings and build a crisis website on Google for emergency situations should district servers go down.
Although many communications channels were discussed, Access Ladue Intranet and Spotlight on Ladue website were featured. Webmaster, Dante Ducasse gave an in depth presentation showcasing the ins and outs of each of the two sites he created.
Access Ladue intranet site will provide a one-stop place for district staff members to access information such as benefits, forms, staff directory, calendar, room scheduling, and training center. The site is expected to be ready for use in the near future.
“It is a starting point of something great. Hopefully this will continue to grow and all staff members will have a place to access information,” said Ducasse.
The Spotlight on Ladue website is a communications tool for both internal and external communications and will highlight the accomplishments of Ladue students, staff and alumni. The tagline on the website, “Where all of our stars come to shine,” says it all.
Expected to launch in October, it will grow organically as new feature articles, videos and stories are uploaded. The information on this site will be archived and accessible for many years to come.
Dielmann said, “We can tell about an elementary school student that sells 500 lollipops for a charity as well as highlight Fulbright Scholars right here.”
The National Public Relations Association (NSPRA) 2011 Communications Survey was also presented by Dielmann.
“People were asked to rate the quality of educational services. Overall rating in the districts was 65 percent. Ladue was at 95 percent.”
NSPRA Members comprised of 1,627 school districts were invited to participate in this no cost survey. Out of 1,627 members, only 50 participated. Surveys were conducted February-April of 2011. Overall there were 43,410 participants. Ladue had 401 participants out of 2,011 invited. Results are compared to the other 50 districts who are all NSPRA members.
“You’re getting the cream of the communications crop. Not in terms of the best of the best necessarily, but these are people who are really making communications a priority. They belong to NSPRA. They took the time and effort to do the survey and coordinate efforts internally,” Dielmann said.
The top five types of information in which parents are interested are:
- Descriptions of the curriculum and instructional programs in place at the school
- Rationale/reasons for the decisions made by the school leadership (principal)
- Information about how well the school is doing in comparison to other districts
- Budget, tax, finance and election information
- School closing information