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Superintendent says school choice survey "definitely" worth cost

Superintendent says school choice survey "definitely" worth cost

By Matt Grant. CREATED May 25, 2012 - UPDATED: May 25, 2012

FORT MYERS - When it comes to school choice versus neighborhood schools, everyone in Lee County, it seems has an opinion.

"I think if parents want their kids to go to school out of their district," a viewer said, "they need to transport them there and cover any costs that might occur."

The Lee County School District spent more than $118,000 to survey county residents on their opinion. The results show students overwhelmingly favor choice while adults were mixed.

The issue did not come up in superintendent Dr. Joseph Burke's "State of the Schools" speech Friday so we asked him about it after it was over.

"The district spent a lot of money on this school choice survey," said Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant. "You've had a chance to look over the results, was it worth it?"

"Oh most definitely," said Burke. "It was worth it. We got very clear indications from a broad sector of the community about what they want."

While the community's split on choice, Burke points out the survey got feedback on other thinks like public perception of the district and programs people favor.

"And we can use that to make some informed choices going forward," said Burke.

So where does the district go from here? We asked school board chair Mary Fischer, who doesn't think choice will change.

"I think that we allow people a choice within a confined area because we do want to save on transportation," said Fischer. "Programs, I think, are very important to the students and so we will be continuing with a modified choice plan."

But board member Don Armstrong says that's news to him. He plans to keep fighting for neighborhood schools and expects the issue to come up during the election and at future board meetings.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com