More than 80 percent of Patch readers responding to a poll asking whether should release the raw data from its community survey studying public opinion about capital improvements want the information made public.
Of the 135 people who responded to Patch’s unscientific survey, 112 want the District to release the information while 23 are content with the decision not to make the data public.
Just over a year ago, local voters rejected a referendum to make $133 million worth of capital improvements to and including upgrades to athletic facilities and replacing a structure at Highland Park nearly 100 years old.
Patch columnist Ed Brill, , thinks the only way to avoid imposition of the opinion of others is to let everyone see the information behind the memo published on the District website.
“I am not against investing the schools,” Brill writes. “I have two children who will attend HPHS as I did in the future. I want to see the tabulations. There is no way to spin them if they just show the raw responses to binary questions, even if the data is normalized first. Right now all we are seeing is qualitative interpretations from a market.”
Another reader, Walter Hainsfurther, realizes a lot of business decisions must be made by the District 113 Board and administrators before final determinations can be made. He is more concerned about those choices that the raw data.
“Some of them (the existing facilities)are unsafe and some may cost more to keep in good working condition over the 25-50 year period than to replace, Hainsfurther writes. “My point is that the survey is a guide, not an absolute. Leaders need to lead, but they need to be able to explain their actions, especially when the actions differ from what is the popular opinion.”
For reader David Greenberg, he sees political maneuvering in the process. “The inaccurate portrayal of positions and promises has been an enormous waste of time,” he writes. “But that's the fact in any political issue. It's not right, but it is what it is—the political game.”