Monday, May 2, 2016

The HMS Next Steps Survey

Below is the text of the D181 "HMS Next Steps Survey."  We are publishing this so that everyone can see the survey questions.  We encourage our readers to submit via comment to this blog your answers to the survey questions and in particular, any narrative responses you provided.  We hope that in the interest of full transparency, the D181 administration and BOE will publish for the community ALL of the narrative responses that are submitted, and do so in un-redacted form.  Just in case they don't, this blog will provide a forum for publication of narrative responses our readers wish to share.


"As part of the March 2016 General Primary Election, District 181 had presented voters with a referendum question, seeking authorization to sell up to $65 million in bonds for the purpose of building a new school that would replace Hinsdale Middle School. The referendum was defeated by a vote of approximately 56% to 44%. The Board of Education and administration are very interested in hearing community input on the failed referendum, and input on how best to move forward in addressing the school's facility needs. Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback!

Responses are limited to one per person to ensure all respondents have an equal voice.

There are several opportunities to share comments. Please do not identify yourself or any individuals in your responses.

You will need to click "submit" before exiting the survey to ensure your responses are recorded.

This survey will close on Wednesday, May 18.

A report on the survey data is tentatively scheduled to be presented to the Board of Education on Monday, May 23.

If you have any questions, please call 630.861.4924 or email Director of Communications Bridget McGuiggan ( Information about the District's work in determining the next steps for HMS will continue to be posted on the D181 website: > Our District > HMS Referendum.

Thank you again!


Elm Parent said...

I just completed the online survey. I voted no. As reasons for voting no, I checked: thought location was mistake, total project cost too high, total project cost kept changing, don't trust the district to spend this money properly, design was extravagant compared to the other middle school, process was rushed. I also checked other and stated that I lost confidence in the architect after the price was increased 66 % right before the BOE voted to go to referendum. I also said that the community should have been more engaged before any plans were presented, just as D86 is doing.

For question 9 I said to eliminate the running track, synthetic turf, 500 seat auditorium, and move the location of the parking deck.

For question 10 I said they need to develop a new and less expensive design before going to referendum again.

For question 11, I said depending on the location, I might favor a different site. I don't really care if all the students have to go by bus, but doubt that would be necessary.

For question 14, I said I supported a small annual tax increase over a longer period of time. Anyone living in Hinsdale when the school is built and for many years after should contribute tax dollars.

For question 15, I said $45million cost would be more likely to succeed.

For question 16, I said no referendum should be scheduled until enough time is allowed to develop a design that the community can support.

For question 17, I said I would vote yes on 2 taxing entity referendums if both seemed sensible.

For question 18, I said more parent meetings and door to door canvassing are needed to get information out.

Finally for question 19 which asked for anything else the admin and board should consider for a potential future referendum, I said, "Make sure you have administrators in place who will meet deadlines, be able to answer questions asked by the BOE, committee members and community members. As a first step, have the board approve the Master Facility Plan, prioritize the projects (as D86 has done), fully engage the community in that process and only then proceed to referendum on the project(s) that have priority. You need a road map that will be followed not just on one school, but for all 9. It is absurd that the Master Facility Plan has never been board approved."

Anonymous said...

I got a phone call survey as well. Questions basically same as the online survey. (Kansas phone #, in case you get a call and ordinarily banish unknown calls.) Interviewer asked me to pause on occasion to capture my comments, so at least at that level the questions covered the necessary territory and the answer capture technique appeared OK.

I basically reiterated a couple points: 1) lack of trust in administration, 2) magnified by half-truths and omissions in communicating a 3) proposal that was clearly poorly planned, rushed, and 4) didn't deal with the largest issue - a curriculum that was a steaming mess and that had deteriorated over the past few years with no sign of turnaround. Noted the problem with current HMS building is real, but new building design based on same sort of trendy edu-thinking that resulted in the crappy current HMS. Think the building should be replaced, but need a real plan that is cohesive, been tested with feedback from critical eyes, and isn't just a repackaging of the current curriculum in a new package.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with 11:32's comments. However, don't be so sure that your comments will make it to the final report. I was called for the 1st phone survey last year and was asked if I would vote for building a new HMS, I asked if I could provide my own answer because I felt more options should have been provided as answers. They agreed to write in my answer of something to the effect of: "Yes, if it's in another location. No, or only a remodel if in the current location in Downtown Hinsdale." The woman interviewer specifically said to me: "So many people have been saying that they do not like the current location of HMS!" Yet, this opinion never made it to the final report. Even if only I and 2 other people said this, it should have been in the report. Surveys are to gather the community's ideas and thoughts.

I believe that skewing and ignoring data was a major reason the referendum failed. The thought of going to referendum without even knowing how much voters were willing to spend on a new build, a remodel, or a 3rd middle school was very wrong.

That being said, I must admit the new survey is much, much improved over the old survey. Many more options and ideas. I wish some questions regarding our thoughts on remodeling or redistrictig were asked as well. But to the point of he previous poster, the lack of trust in the administration and certain board members makes me wary that the results will not be 100% honest. I hope they chose to me more honest and transparent in providing the results to us his time. If they are not, more time will be wasted and the needs of our children will continue to be ignored. Many people here are smart enough to tell when important details are being withheld. If all options are not professionally and ethically vetted and priced out in a price conscious, transparent manner, any new referendum will fail again. I hope that doesn't happen.

jay_wick said...

My sense, from talking to the surprisingly large percentage of folks that have grown up in the area, as well as others that choose to live in district, is that there is strong contingent of those that appreciate the access to the kind of "independence" afforded to HMS students by its proximity to the retail center of town. One cannot help but see the kids that do "hang out" after school and understand those positive feelings. Any site that is more than a few blocks away from the existing HMS would make such things far more improbable.

Similar trade-offs can certainly be ascribed to things that the BOE sees as "lighting rods for critics" -- the utility of a large auditorium is hard to deny when one sees activities like the district wide art show overwhelm the space at the community house. If those that prefer "classically styled" facade refuse to compromise on a more affordable building method then I guess "function" will be sacrificed for "form" to try to appeal to the more influential groups.

Given the ongoing paralysis in the much more critical statewide budget crisis, no sane person can see a solution that does not involve the unpalatable combination of higher local property taxes, increased statewide income taxes AND cuts to student services to cover the mismanaged pensions. This is larger backdrop that I fear will make drive voters to reject even the most well thought-out proposals.

Simply put, the "history" offered by consultants of what factors are needed to pass referenda may no longer be useful in the new territory of completely dysfunctional state legislators.

Anonymous said...

We live within walking distance to HMS, but I do not think the entire community should have to pay for an overpriced new middle school just so 6th - 8th graders (my children included) can have a place to hang out after school. How inane! My children can walk to and hang out in Downtown Hinsdale, parks, the pool, or the library all summer, after school, and on weekends. Better yet, they can bring their friends to our home so I can keep an eye on them. Kids under 14 shouldn't be loitering downtown or wandering shops alone in the business district.

HMS is a major public investment that cannot be made based on emotional and personal preferences. Save those decisions for items you pay for entirely yoursellf - like where you buy your house or what kind of car you drive. The decision must be logical and cost conscious. Where is the district's sense of fiduciary duty to taxpayers? Decsions made without logic are the reason why the state of Illinois is in the worst financial shape than any other state in the country.

People from Monroe have to drive their kids to CHMS. All Elm kids have to be driven to HMS. How on earth can anyone find it fair or equitable to make HMS convenient for some but not others - especially when the cost will slam all of us?
There is no benefit to a downtown HMS if the exorbitant price tag will compromise the future funding of the arts, sports, technology and, most importantly, teacher professional development. The refusal of the district to offer any economically prudent choices, especially in light of Illinois' bankruptcy is an extremely careless, immature decision that is wasting time because overpriced referendums do not pass in times of economic uncertainty.