In their discussions regarding a sharing agreement, the Ruthven-Ayrshire school board conducted a survey to get feedback from the community. At a special board work-session Sunday night, they discussed the results of the survey as a part of an overall continued discussion of the sharing agreement.
"We wanted to make sure all the community members had a chance to include their input," Board President Barry Fisher said when the board released the survey. "We want to get as many people as possible."
In the week that the survey was open to the public, 227 parents, students and community members filled out the form to offer their input into the board's future decision.
The survey concluded that 34 percent of the community preferred a partial-day sharing agreement, while 66 percent preferred a whole-grade sharing agreement.
"The parents were more for the partial-day sharing, though the students were a bit more for the whole-grade sharing," Ruthven-Ayrshire Superintendent Andrew Woiwood said.
Seventy-three percent of community members preferred to share with Graettinger-Terril, while 27 percent preferred sharing with Emmetsburg.
"A lot of the comments centered around the existing athletic agreement, and the fact that we're the same size," Woiwood said. "Sharing with them would help retain that small school sense of community."
With regards to the school locations, 63 percent preferred to have the high school in Ruthven and the middle school in Graettinger. Course offerings and opportunities for college preparedness was given noted importance by over 50 percent of the community.
In addition to the academic offerings that another district would offer Ruthven-Ayrshire, the board noted opportunities that Ruthven-Ayrshire would offer the school they would ultimately share with.
"The big thing that we have is an industrial technology program," Woiwood said.
The survey results prompted more discussion among board members, though no decisions will be made until more information is determined.
"A lot of information was handed to them," Woiwood said. "One discussion led to another. But, from the people who had been around here a while, they said this survey got the most responses they'd ever seen."
Ruthven-Ayrshire will continue discussing a whole-grade sharing agreement with Graettinger-Terril, though they will also continue to discuss a partial-day sharing agreement, to "keep the options open."
A public forum is scheduled for Dec. 20, as a final opportunity for community input before the ultimate decision is made.
As they continue with the discussions, the board is appreciative of the support they've seen from the community.
"We had a very good turnout," Woiwood said, "a very good representation of the community."