Tecumseh Public Schools ranks high in scores in county survey
Tecumseh Public Schools Supt. Mike McAran is pleased with the recent county survey that recorded residents’ level of satisfaction with their respective school districts. “I’m proud of how our schools are perceived in the county, but especially by district parents,” he said, “and I’m proud of how our students are doing. They’re number one in the county in the Michigan Educational Assessment Pro-gram (MEAP), and that’s a credit not just to the students but to our teachers and administrators. Parent satisfaction is high according to the county survey.”
McAran was referring to a survey that was completed by the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD). The survey polled 1,060 county residents, including at least 60 parents of students in every school district. LISD statisticians cautioned against broad interpretation of the results as they apply to respective districts, but McAran said that Tecumseh’s results were indicative of the reports that the school board and other sources that he is in contact with are receiving.
“Overall, we are getting a B, which isn’t perfect, but it’s good,” he said. “I would like to put a banner across the boulevard about leading the county in MEAP scores. I think the kids and the teachers deserve that kind of recognition. People talk about losing students to other districts, but really we are attracting students from other districts. One of our top attractions is small class size. We average 23.6 students per class in our elementary schools. Not many other districts can make that claim.”
The poll was devised by the independent research firm Banach, Banach, and Cassidy in consultation with the Lenawee County Association of Superintendents and when it was released, LISD Supt. James Philp said that the results should not be used for district-to-district comparison.
Respondents were asked to grade their school districts and personnel on a traditional report card scale.
In response to the question, “What grade would you give your school district?,” approximately half of the respondents in the TPS district said that they ranked the schools at a B, with 20 percent of the respondents rating the district at A.
The pollsters were a little more specific in the follow-up question, “What grade would you give the quality of your school district’s educational program?” Once again, respondents in general gave TPS a B. Overall, 82 percent of respondents gave the local schools a B or an A.
The survey was conducted before the lengthy and demanding interviewing of TPS superintendent candidates to replace McAran, who is retiring at the end of the school year. If the survey had been conducted after the public had taken note of the work of the school trustees in that process, the board may have received a better grade than the B it received. But even at that, 45 percent of those polled rated the Tecumseh School Board above average.
Tecumseh teachers and administrators received equally high grades. Teachers were given B or better by 69 percent of respondents, while principals and other administrators received B or better by 68 percent of those polled.
The survey also revealed that Tecumseh and county residents feel strongly that teachers are the greatest strength of their respective school districts but it also showed a community-wide concern that the school districts face their biggest challenge in dealing with budget concerns. Tecumseh, for its part, is not in financial straits, McAran pointed out. The district, which has a $24 million budget, is currently in the black with a fund equity balance.
McAran said that one of the things that the district has done to cut expenses is to collaborate with other districts on services and staff. “We’re totally on board with that,” he said. “Right now we collaborate with Adrian on transportation and mechanic service, with the ISD for financial service, and with Dundee for food service. The bottom line is that it helps cut our expenses,” he said.
The question of collaboration, pro or con, was included in the survey and was overwhelmingly approved by respondents, with 57 percent recommending cooperation between districts where cost saving was possible through shared services or staff. On the other hand, Tecumseh school district residents had no desire to consider consolidation with a neighboring district, turning down the notion 66 percent to 28 percent.
One of the most revealing questions regarded satisfaction with the home school district. Residents were asked whether “the quality of my school district’s educational program is the same or better than the educational program in neighboring school districts.” Nearly 71 percent of TPS residents agreed that the district was as good or better than neighboring districts in educational instruction and offerings and nearly 84 percent said that the district offers enough extracurricular programs.
“Overall, people think that we’re doing a good job,” McAran said. “It’s a credit to all of our staff, teachers, administrators, and support staff. We have a great team doing a great job.”