Wichita School Bond Issue: Who Is Running the Survey?

A recent newspaper article reports on a telephone survey regarding a proposed bond issue for USD 259, the Wichita, Kansas public school district. (“Pro-bond group conducts survey,” May 22, 2008 Wichita Eagle.) The article starts as follows:

The citizen group that supports a proposed $350 million bond issue for Wichita schools is conducting a telephone survey to gauge public opinion of the bond.

Sarah Olson, co-coordinator of Citizens Alliance for Responsible Education (CARE), said the survey is “part of our ongoing campaign strategy” and was paid for with donations.

But both Olson and co-coordinator Randy Thon said they don’t know who is conducting the survey, how much it cost, how many people will be called, or the nature of the questions being asked.

With the two leaders of CARE knowing so little about this survey, Wichitans are justified in wondering who is really conducting this survey. Is it the board of USD 259, the Wichita public school district? Or is it Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey Architecture, the school district’s architect, and who happens to share the same street address as CARE?

Mr. Thon is also quoted in this article as follows: “We’re putting all our efforts forward in doing this right the first time — getting information out to people and getting them to understand how important it is,” he said. I might remind Mr. Thon that on February 11, 2008, the Wichita school board called for a special election to be held on May 6 so that voters could express their support — or not — for the bond issue. So there has already been a “first time” for this bond issue. That “first time” was postponed at the request of Mr. Thon’s organization.

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