Board discusses survey process


At their last meeting, the Leander ISD board was presented with a study process for a possible bond. 

Robert Stein, a Lena Gohlman Fox professor of political science at Rice University, explained that he has created public opinion polls for school districts for 17 years. He proposed two surveys to collect information about the potential bond. 

The first survey would be released from May 15 to June 1 with about 52 questions. According to Stein, the survey would take about 11 minutes to complete and would consist of telephone interviews with 500 probable bond voters. District facilities, staff, educational program and overall performance ratings would all be incorporated. Information on student enrollment and growth, district finances, voter demographics and people’s reasons for supporting or opposing the bond initiative would all be included within the survey.

Stein said a second poll is only conducted if the first one has a soft support base.

“If you can’t get a first poll with more than 60 percent approval from voters, that’s concerning,” Stein said. “60 percent sounds like a lot, but it can evaporate in a minute.”

The second survey is recommended if there are issues with the first one. If a second one took place, it would probably be released in September and measure the support for the bond, evaluate any issues from voters on the bond and detect prospective voters who might be misinformed about the proposal. Stein said once a school district loses a bond election, the chances of passing a second bond will drop.

According to Stein, a fast-growing district like Leander ISD has an electorate that is always changing. He said Leander ISD is unique because there is not much turnover in the population, just growth. 

Leander ISD has an electorate with 87 percent of citizen age voters registered in Williamson and Travis Counties. The

average is 62 percent.

“When you have that many people of citizen voting age registered to vote, that tells me there is an active and informed public,” Stein said. 

Stein’s services will give the district a survey instrument and sample design, a written report of the survey findings as well as a presentation of the findings to the board , live telephone interviews and consultations with a prospective bond committee. Discussion will continue on this matter at upcoming meetings.