Tim Collins is superintendent of the Hastings School District

In June, of this year, the Hastings School District surveyed over 400 residents on a variety of questions related to the Hastings School District. The survey was very specific in making sure that the same number of females were interviewed as males. In fact the survey also pinpointed, and interviewed, residents from all age groups above 18 years old. This is the second time, during my tenure as superintendent of the Hastings School District, that we have conducted such a survey. The last time such a survey was conducted was in 2006.

Our community gave the school district high marks in regard to the quality of education and the fiscal management of the school district. The recognition of the quality of education was very similar to the survey results from 2006 and also illustrated that our survey results in this area are way above the national average. In the area of fiscal management the trust and confidence of the community has increased since 2006. This is not to say the trust and confidence was low in 2006 - but it is great to see that we have gained even more trust and approval of fiscal management since that point in time.

The fact that the survey came back giving the quality of education high marks does not surprise me. Over the past 15 years the school board members have had the opportunity to ask some of our graduating seniors how they feel about the quality of education that they have received. Each and every year we hear from the senior class that; all staff care about them, they have been challenged, teachers are willing to stay after to help them, and the community has provided them with a variety of educational opportunities both during the school day and in extra-curricular activities. These same students share these thoughts with their parents and grandparents which are then reflected in our survey results.

I am hopeful that our upcoming bond and levy vote will bode well from the results relating to the quality of fiscal management. The results outlined that 78 percent of the community would be in favor of reinvesting in our facilities if there would be a zero tax Impact on their property. We are proposing a zero tax impact bond reinvestment of $49.5 million. On the operating levy side of the ballot approximately 58 percent of the respondents were in favor of increasing their taxes to support the learning that takes place inside of the bond funded facilities.

The hard work and extra effort that our staff puts forward on a daily basis, year after year, is recognized by our community and the high marks on our survey are a reflection of that dedication and commitment. These high marks, combined with the fiscal management confidence, gives me a positive feeling as we move forward with our two ballot questions in November.