Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Few Pasco parents respond to school survey

LAND O'LAKES — Maybe Pasco parents are simply satisfied with the public school system.

That's one possible explanation for the third straight year of dismal response to the district's annual parent survey.

"Sometimes people respond because they're involved, and sometimes people respond because they're mad," superintendent Heather Fiorentino said. "Apparently we don't have a lot of mad people. That's a good thing."

What's not so good is the district's inability to get more parents to offer their views through the questionnaire, which aims to provide both school and district leaders insights into what they do well and what needs to be done better.

Two years ago, after moving to an online version of the form, just 6.4 percent responded. Last year, the rate inched up to 11.8 percent — better, but still poor enough to warrant a cautionary note from the district's research department not to read too much into the data.

This year's response? Just 11.875 percent. (By contrast, nearly one-third of parents returned the survey in 2004.)

"We are still struggling with some of that," research and evaluation director Peggy Jones said. "We've got a lot of competition with other surveys, and for peoples' time."

Fiorentino and others sound reluctant to give up any avenue for parents to provide feedback.

"We put a premium on parent participation," School Board member Allen Altman said.

But if the parents aren't availing themselves of the option, Altman continued, perhaps the district might want to look for other ways to gather its information. With budgets tight and cuts looming, the all-school survey could prove an area for savings.

"They've got to do something different," said board member Marge Whaley, who suggested that responses were better when the survey was done on paper rather than on the Internet. "We'd all love to move into the electronic age. But obviously, we all aren't there yet."

Jones said the district already has started looking at other methods to get feedback. It ran a blog while drafting a five-year plan, for instance, and while not many people posted comments, several thousand stopped by to read it. Many parents and community members also attended town hall meetings on the plan, which calls for new ways to gather data.

"We're still exploring those," Jones said.

She did not dismiss the survey as a complete waste. Several schools had strong responses, after all, and their principals and advisory committees can use the results.

Cox Elementary led the way, with 57 percent of parents returning the form. Others with good responses included New River Elementary (38 percent), Shady Hills Elementary (34 percent) and Paul R. Smith Middle (27 percent).

Jones planned to look at what those successful schools did to boost returns, in hopes of replicating those efforts next year. She intended to have a report on what the survey indicated to the School Board before the end of the month.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at

School survey responses


about 33%


6.4 %





Few Pasco parents respond to school survey 04/02/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Athletic trainers, signing bonuses, student vaccinations and more


    SAFETY FIRST: Pasco County school district leaders decide to retain high school athletic trainers, which had been slated for elimination, amid pleas from …

  2. Rays morning after: Why Alex Cobb was out of the game and Alex Colome was in


    Alex Cobb obviously did a really good job pitching the first eight innings for the Rays on Tuesday.

    So why didn't manager Kevin Cash let him pitch the ninth?

    Because he had Alex Colome available to do so.

    Cobb had thrown only 98 pitches, so workload and fatigue were not factors.

  3. Police commander among 6 charged in deadly 1989 UK soccer deaths


    LONDON — British prosecutors charged six people Wednesday in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster where 96 soccer fans were crushed to death.

    Police, stewards and supporters tend and care for wounded supporters on the pitch at Hillsborough Stadium, in Sheffield, England, on April 15, 1989. British prosecutors on Wednesday June 28, 2017, are set to announce whether they plan to lay charges in the deaths of 96 people in the Hillsborough stadium crush _ one of Britain's worst-ever sporting disasters. [Associated Press]
  4. Supreme Court term ended much different than it began


    BC-US—Supreme Court, 1st Ld-Writethru,899

    AP Photo WX109

    People visit the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017, as justices issued their final rulings for the term, in Washington.  The Supreme Court began its term nine months ago with Merrick Garland nominated to the bench, Hillary Clinton favored to be the next president, and the court poised to be controlled by Democratic appointees for the first time in 50 years.  Things looked very different when the justices wrapped up their work this week. [Associated Press]
  5. SPC's Bill Law leaves with pride for the faculty, concern for students — and a story about hotdogs


    ST. PETERSBURG — The local community college had already made a name for itself when William Law Jr. first arrived on campus in the early 1980s as a vice president. Still, the school, then named St. Petersburg Junior College, was just a shadow of the sprawling state college it would later become.

    Bill Law, outgoing St. Petersburg College president, said he is proud of the college cultivating stronger relationships with the community.