Wichitans Respond To Battle Over Busing

By: Cara Kumari
By: Cara Kumari

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Monday, Oct. 24, 2004

Last month, the school district sent out 25,000 surveys to a random selection of Wichita voters. It got 5,300 surveys back.

“There was a lot of information there and I was very pleased with the response rate,” said USD 259 school board president Connie Dietz. “Twenty percent is an excellent response rate.”

The preliminary report shows that more than 82 percent of respondents support ending forced busing. If busing were to actually end, the district would have to build several new schools in the bused area.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents indicated they’d be willing to pay for the necessary construction and/or renovation of schools.

“It certainly gives us some additional questions to ask and to make sure that we’re hearing loud and clear in the area of forced busing,” said board member Chip Gramke.

The results show 76 percent would likely pay to build new classrooms and hire teachers to reduce class size and 60 percent trust the district to spend tax dollars wisely.

The school board will be holding public comment hearings on busing starting Tuesday night. They say this survey and those comments will play a part in how the district proceeds on the issue.

A complete analysis will be presented to the board in December.

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