GAINESVILLE - Gainesville School Board members learned Monday night that location is the leading factor in where parents want to send their children to school. School Superintendent Merrianne Dyer presented her School Choice Summary Report to the Board.
"Gainesville City Schools has offered open parental choice for 11 years and this year we surveyed parents to see their primary reason for selecting a school," Dr. Dyer said. "Predominately location is anywhere from 40 to 46 percent of what parents say is most important."
At Gainesville Exploration, the city's largest elementary school, 56 percent of the parents said location was most important, and Dr. Dyer said that helps inform the board that there is a need to build another school in that area, namely, the planned Mundy Mill school.
"The other reasons ranked from the quality of teaches and staff, that was the second reason, the third reason closely following was the magnet program, and then about four to six percent at every school said there were other reasons," according to Dyer.
The Superintendent said the survey was a big help in letting school officials know what people value in their schools.
"With our geographic locations one of the interesting things we found is that one fourth of the people that replied said location was the reason they selected a school even though they did not live in the transportation zone of the school they selected," Dr. Dyer said. "They selected a location near their place of work or near a relative."
Dyer concluded that the survey showed that parents, families and the community are happy with parental choice. Dyer said parental involvement is 90 percent or above at every school.
"With other data we have, with our parent and family satisfaction ratings growing every year, it really shows the power of when people get to choose their school," Dr. Dyer said. "With the charter system they have autonomy making decisions at the school level. People want to choose, they want to have choices and they want to have a voice in their school."