Earlier this year we received an email from a concerned citizen alerting us to a survey the Battle Ground School District conducted of personnel. We were told that there is a lot of unrest among the employees of the district. We were urged to obtain a copy of the final report. So…we started the process. First, we contacted Administration and were told that there was a survey done but that the results are normally kept private and not shared with the public (even though public time and money is used to conduct and analyze it).
We waited until after school was out and began our public request process. It drug out for over a month until we were told that the results were still in draft form and as such could not be released to the public. We then circled back and asked for details. Here are the questions we posed and the responses we got:
Q1: When was the survey conducted?
Response: Between April 22nd and May 21st 2017
Q2: How many employees were surveyed?
Response: 1585 Classified and Certificated (no numbers on how many responded)
Q3: Can we get a list of the questions?
Response: Yes. (They are in the attachment you can download and open at the end of this article)
Q4: Why can’t we get a copy of the results?
Response: A climate surveys distributed to Battle Ground School District employees falls under an exception to the Public Records Act. Per RCW 42.56.280 “intra-agency memorandums in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended are exempt under this chapter, except that a specific record is not exempt when publicly cited by an agency in connection with any agency action.” Climate surveys are used in preparation of evaluating building administrators. Personal information in files maintained for employees of any public agency to the extent that disclosure would violate their right to privacy is also protected per RCW 42.56.230 (3). [Note: There is nothing in any question that calls out a person’s name or other detail and even if it/they did the information could be hidden]
Q5: Will the results be published and if so when? If not why not?
Response: Update: August 30th: The answers will not be published because the information collected on the survey is used for principal evaluations and, therefore, exempt from public records request.
Has your school district conducted a “School Culture Survey”? Have you asked for the information and a copy of the report? If you do we’ll be happy to share the information here with our readers.