The Blaine County School District didn’t present the results of its 2019 Community Survey as expected on Tuesday night, citing legal concerns about some of the results.
The district’s lawyer believes some of the remarks in the comment section of the survey could be considered defamatory or invasive of personal privacy rights, potentially putting the district at risk, school board Chairman Keith Roark told attendees at this week’s board meeting.
This weekend, district representatives will meet with the attorney to determine whether any redactions are necessary, Roark said—but, he emphasized, any potential redactions would come out of the comment section only, not the numerical results of the poll.
“I know there are people out there right now saying ‘Oh, they’re playing hide the ball again,’” Roark said. “We are not hiding the ball.”
More than 1,700 people responded to the district’s 2019 Community Survey, according to the Idaho School Boards Association, which administered the poll. Responses including 1,686 in English and 57 in Spanish.
The 20-question survey asked respondents to rate their satisfaction with the School District in a range of categories using a scale of 1 to 5. It also asked their opinions—in an open-ended question—on the strengths and weaknesses of the district’s overall performance, its facilities, its curriculum, its board and its superintendent.
The district had planned to release the results publicly on Jan. 21. Instead, it will present the survey in a special meeting Jan. 29 at 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, Roark gave the public his “personal assurance” that the full results of the survey—with the possible exception of some comment items—would be released.
“We do not intend to hide anything other than that which might place the district at jeopardy should it in fact infringe upon somebody’s privacy rights,” Roark said.