Community engagement – Public outreach and discussion
UPDATE: The Mercer Island Community approved this bond measure in February 2014.
Over the last year and a half the Mercer Island School Board, district staff and public leaders have worked extensively with the citizens of Mercer Island to craft proposals based on the values, priorities and appropriate needs of the community. This outreach has included:
• Conducting three community surveys with EMC research in May 2012, January 2013 and September 2013 to better understand the community’s school facility priorities and community perceptions of the school improvements encompassed by the defeated bond measure. A citizen task force of members of both the positive and negative campaigns for that bond, as well as two board members, assisted EMC with the development of the survey tools.
• Steering an extensive educational specifications process with the community to define the immediate needs of the schools district in the face of increasing enrollment throughout Mercer Island.
• Holding multiple listening sessions to provide community members with the opportunity to express their views regarding facility solutions in the failed 2012 bond. Those listening sessions were held in May, June
, August and September
• Inviting citizen comments to the Mercer Island School Board and district staff by email.
• Learning from community assessments that a successful bond measure will need to focus on immediate overcrowding issues, be smaller than the previous version, site a new school on the north end of the island and be straight-forward and easy to communicate.
• Contracting with Triangle Associates, a public engagement firm, to assist in community outreach to ensure many perspectives were heard.
• Working with the architectural firm Mahlum & Associates to develop three options for a new school on the North Mercer campus, then hiring Transpo Group to study transportation impacts of those three options.
• Defining potential impacts on other schools and other community needs, such as Mary Wayte Pool, the high school stadium and surrounding homes.
• Creating a MindMixer interactive website for citizens to learn more about options and to provide input in multiple communications formats.
• Communicating emerging facilities ideas to all Mercer Island stakeholders by mail, online and in local publications.
• Publishing the fall 2013 Mercer Island District News detailing the proposed bond package as approved by the elected Mercer Island School Board.