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Survey analyzes opposition to SPS’ $120M bond proposal

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The Springfield Public Schools Board of Education yesterday reviewed a post-election survey analyzing the district’s defeated $120 million bond proposal on the April ballot.

The survey — conducted by Opinion Research Specialists LLC and Accurate Hunch LLC — found 33.5 percent of respondents opposed the bond issue because they did not support a tax increase or felt taxes were already too high.

The bond proposal — which would have phased in a 24-cent increase to the debt-service levy to fund construction of several new elementary and middle schools — collected 51 percent of the votes, short of the needed 57 percent under Missouri law governing bond elections.

Other reasons identified by survey respondents included:
    •    poor communication by the district, 13.8 percent;
    •    a belief that SPS is not a good steward of taxpayer money, 11.5 percent;
    •    the thought SPS was asking for too much money at one time, 10 percent;
    •    voters were opposed for school-related reasons, 8.7 percent;
    •    a lack of trust in the SPS administration, 6.9 percent;
    •    the proposal was too ambiguous, 5.6 percent;
    •    apathy, ignorance or opposition to change, 3.3 percent; and
    •    did not have children in SPS, 1.8 percent.

Asked why voters supported the bond proposal, 35 percent of respondents said they had children in SPS or supported area children, according to the survey results.

The survey also asked SPS staff members to weigh in: 24.8 percent said opponents were against the proposal for school-related reasons and 26.7 percent thought those in favor had children in SPS or supported children in the district.

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