Lafayette schools survey results may be tainted after questions shared on social media

Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper may call a do-over on a survey sent to some employees about positions that face cuts to balance the district’s $23.5 million budget shortfall after the survey link was shared on social media websites like Facebook.

The survey was sent by email Monday to those school system employees, like classroom teachers, librarians and counselors, who are eligible to receive a supplemental check paid with excess tax revenue from a 2002 half-cent sales tax dedicated to boosting teacher pay. Cooper has asked the School Board to consider using up to $10 million from the sales tax fund for support worker salaries.

The employees surveyed are asked to rate the impact of support positions such as instructional strategists, nurses, social workers and counselors on student learning and whether they’d be willing to receive a smaller bonus check so those positions can remain funded.

Cooper said Tuesday that employees still have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to respond to the online survey.

He said the results will be shared with the School Board at its 5:30 p.m. budget meeting Thursday with the caveat the results are flawed.

“It’s unfortunate that people were sending the link everywhere,” Cooper said. “We know that the survey itself is a good survey, but the methodology — we’re just scared there’s too many ways to get inaccurate results.”

In round two, he said, employees will be asked to turn in their survey forms at a box in the district office.

“They will still remain anonymous,” he said. “It’s an old-fashioned method, but it looks like it may be the best option.”

The new survey process could start as soon as Thursday with those results reported to the board before its next budget meeting, tentatively scheduled the second week in July, Cooper said.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills