Fallon reports key findings

Stephanie Stuart sent out an email stating that the futurefacilities website has been updated with the findings from Fallon’s two focus groups:

http://futurefacilities.champaignschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Key-Findings-for-Focus-Group-Sessions.pdf

 

I have not yet had an opportunity to read it, but glancing through it it seems interesting. I’ll provide more comments later.

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11 Responses to “Fallon reports key findings”

  1. G. David Frye Says:

    I read it. Thanks for the link.

    My take: Wow. They have done a very impressive job of summarizing the situation. I think it’s spot on.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    I would have to agree. It will be extremely interesting to see how the opinion polls (phone calls to about 500 people) shape up considering that they (Fallon) are starting from the basis of these Key Findings.

    Moreover, I hope that the school district can take to heart the points highlighted by Mr. Fallon on page 4, specifically that of perceptions that are formed and subsequently shared among social circles and circulated as fact; perceptions and opinions surrounding school assignment, academic performance (especially at the higher levels) and communication overall. While I think Mr. Fallon’s conclusion definitely bears merit (“[t]his suggests that outreach to engage the public about the facilities needs should center on the benefits that can be achieved and ideals to be pursued, rather than bricks and mortar”), I would’t want the other findings to be washed over or drowned.

    As a sidenote, his observations and thoughts about the challenges of mass communication are quite interesting. Given the number of times this topic came up, I wonder if this is perhaps a high-priority item that should be pursued by the board and the district. Or rather, I very strongly feel that this topic is easily in the top three!

  3. pattsi Says:

    As a researcher, I have the following problems with this report: there is no information as to exactly how many session, how many citizens were involved, how long the focus groups lasted, and how the participants were chosen. Second issue, the report does not include in an appendix the schedule of questions used during the focus group. And last, were the sessions video taped for future use and opportunity to double check what is written in the report?

    As to the report, my major interest has to do with the report about the answers to the opening question and the last paragraphs of the report. The largest part of the property tax bill goes to Unit 5; yet based on this report, there is little driven interest as to how these tax dollars are used and the results thereof. Since there is no schedule of questions included in the report, it is very hard to judge the validity and reliability of what is written. Other than most people would probably agree with it. And this brings up the issue as to why a consultant firms needed to be hired when a willingness to listen to the community would have yielded the same information with no cost.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    From a parent who attended the parent focus group (copied with permission):

    I finally got in and looked at it. I’m not sure I’m satisfied that it accurately reflects the overall positions of the focus group I was in. I guess I feel it was a little random in what he chose to highlight/quote, and what he chose not to. Maybe it was summative, but since I was considered an “outlier”, my random opinions didn’t get represented. I don’t know the statistics of the thing… Also, I’m not sure with the specific questions asked, if I’m completely comfortable with the conclusions. As an example, about the question about how likely it was to get tax referendum passed, we were only asked to address the likelihood of getting the $ money for ALL 6 of the items on the list (New HS, renovations to Centennial, SS, Dr. H, all middle-schools, no trailers, etc.). We couldn’t give any opinions on the likelihood of a single priority issue (as an example). Maybe that was clear in the focus group mandate, but I’m not sure it came out that way in the summary. Also, he is a professional, so I assume he has his methods for getting at the real issues…

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    @Pattsi: just curious, did you take advantage of the phone number? 🙂

    If you have any questions about the information discussed herein, please feel free to call me at
    614-341-7005. I will be glad to assist you in any way that I can to utilize the focus group
    data.

  6. pattsi Says:

    Just a reminder to the blog readers, each focus group participant was paid $75 along with those who turned up, but not chosen to participate. This is public money, but the whole process is not public.
    Charles–no I did not call the provided phone number. Right now it is not worth the time. It might be in the future should this report be given disproportional weighting in this process. I wrote my comments so other might take them into consider and come to their own list of concerns or acceptance. Why don’t you call the number and make whatever inquires that you have.

  7. charlesdschultz Says:

    Way ahead of you – I called before I posted the phone number. I also realized it is the phone number listed on the Fallon Research site, so it is already a public, catch-all number. I left a message but have not heard back, yet.

  8. charlesdschultz Says:

    Mr. Schultz, in response to your telephone inquiry regarding research, due to the small staff and high volume of work performed by this company, we cannot accommodate requests from individual citizens to discuss particular aspects of the studies we conduct. Thank you for contacting Fallon Research & Communications, Inc.

    I find it very interesting that they emailed me. I called but did not leave an email address. Unfortunately, that doens’t make me feel any better.

  9. pattsi Says:

    Red flags are flying. How much is this firm being paid from taxpayer monies to do this work?

  10. G. David Frye Says:

    I’m not sure why I’m bothering to write this, but I’m going to anyway.

    COULD YOU PEOPLE JUST CALM DOWN?

    OK, I feel better now.

    Look, the summary was just that, a summary. It wasn’t a comprehensive report of the results. Read the large footnote at the end of the document. it is qualitative, not quantitative.

    Next, it’s study sessions, not a poll or referendum. Its purpose was to assign some relative importance to the issues we have all been talking about. I felt that, overall, it does a good job of summarizing the issues. Does it account for every opinion expressed? No. Does that bother me? No, because I think they are being reasonable about including the things the board needs to focus on most.

    Finally, it’s a consulting company contracted by the school board. IT IS ONLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE BOARD. If you have issues with the information they’re putting out, don’t you think that needs to be expressed to the board, not the company? Where did you get the idea that the consulting process was something we were entitled to direct? The simple answer to Pattsi’s last question is, not enough to personally interact with individual community members about their methods and results. it’s not what the board contracted for.

    It seems to me there’s a lot of second-guessing going on here. Isn’t it a little premature? The board is not very far along in the process. I’m not saying you shouldn’t express a real concern that you might have that the process or methodology is wrong, before the work is done – but at such an early stage I would think it would need to be a firm belief that the board is going down the wrong path, and which you can clearly express.

  11. charlesdschultz Says:

    *grin*

    For the record, I am glad that at least two readers have a difference of opinion. Now if only we could find some more…..

    I recently read about this thing called “solution focused brief therapy”. It makes me wonder if it would help in discourses like this.


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