A survey commissioned by the Aledo Independent School District to examine the failure of its Nov. 2017 bond election revealed voters did not approve of the bond package based on concerns about the district’s debt, the impact on property taxes and a lack of information and transparency.

Michael Baselice, President & CEO of Baselice Associates, a public opinion research firm, presented the board with the results of the survey via conference call during a Thursday meeting.

“We had 275 respondents we interviewed,” Baselice said. “We did this survey to look at the image of certain entities within the school district, and we wanted to measure support and opposition to that bond proposal. We wanted to look at the reasons for support and opposition. Then, we wanted to look at some agreements and disagreements with very specific statements about the school district and the bond, and dig a little bit deeper.”

The Nov. 2017 bond election included two proposals: a $64.1 million option to build a new middle school and renovate McAnally Intermediate School to use as an elementary school and a $8.76 million option to renovate the district’s agriculture and career and technical education facilities and purchase land for future facilities.

Both proposals failed, with 71 percent of voters rejecting the first proposal and 66 percent rejecting the second.

The survey accepted responses from registered voters only, and also asked how involved they were in local politics, including whether they’d voted in other local bond elections or city council and school board elections.

Fifty-five percent of respondents were parents, and 45 percent were non-parents.

The number one reason people voted against the bond was the perception that the district spends too much money and has taken on too much debt, according to 27 percent of the survey respondents.

The second reason was the impact of bond elections on property taxes, according to 18 percent of the respondents.

Six percent of respondents also thought that the bond were not needed.

However, 77 percent of the respondents agreed that the district will need new school buildings to keep up with growth, and 68 percent said they did not want to put students in portable buildings.

Positive perceptions of the district have taken a hit over the past three years, Baselice said.

“Back in 2014, the district had an 88 percent overall positive image. Now, it’s 81 percent,” he said. “The positive dropped seven points, and the negative went up six points. You can see a seven point increase in the negatives with parents, and an eight point increase in the negatives among non-parents.”

The same held true for the board of trustees.

“When we look at the board of trustees, we see the negative image went from 10 percent three years ago to 24 percent,” Baselice said. “The parents we surveyed have probably the biggest change in terms of a negative image. The positive image of the board of trustees decreased 20 points in three years, and the negative image went up 19 points, from four to 23.

“The positive image doesn’t change here, statistically speaking, among non-parents. But the negative image did increase.”

The survey also compared the district’s ratings to statewide ratings for Texas public schools overall to see how they measured up to the averages.

“When we look at the board of trustees, we see a bit of a difference,” Baselice said. “The negative image of your board of trustees is double the statewide average, whether you’re talking about parents or non-parents. The positive image is pretty close to the state average, but the negative is certainly higher.

“When we look at the statewide average for central administration, your negative image is 21 percent among parents and 25 among non-parents. These are two and a half times greater than the state average, and the positive image is a bit lower.”

The survey also found that the people who had positive opinions of the district were less likely to have voted at all, Baselice said.

“Some of the people who are the most pleased with the school district who were more supportive of the bond… are the ones who didn’t vote. The people who voted are the ones who had the highest disapproval rating of the central administration. Intensity rules the day when it comes to elections… The intensity here is on the side of the people who disapprove of the job being done by central administration.

“When we look at the board of trustees, we see something very similar. The net approval ratings are very different between those who voted and those who didn’t vote. You can see the intensity, again, among those people who voted, that they disapprove more than they approve.

“By 3 to 1, the people who did not vote approve more than they disapprove of the job being done by the board of trustees. So, this is an early sign that votes were left on the table.”

You can view the full results of the survey once it’s posted to the district’s new website,