Overall, parents of Union R-XI students feel welcome at their child’s school, feel that their child is safe and are respected by teachers, according to the results of a climate survey mailed to district parents.

District administrators shared the survey results with board of education members Wednesday, July 16.

“We use these to evaluate what the perceptions are,” Superintendent Steve Bryant said. “We take those and try to learn from them, to see if there are (negative) perceptions there and how we can correct them.”

Each building’s administrators will use the results to evaluate processes and in the decision-making process at the school.

Parents were asked questions such as if they felt their children were welcome and safe at school, if teachers show respect for students, if there is adequate supervision at the building before, during and after school and more.

The surveys asked parents their opinion on a 1-5 scale of “strongly disagree,” “disagree,” “neutral,” “agree” and “strongly agree.”

“Overall I felt like the surveys were positive. There were some aspects that I feel need to be looked at individually by buildings, but it’s a good tool,” said Ron Sohn, school board member.

Most answers averaged in the agree and strongly agree range, though some in various schools were lower.

A total of 465 parents filled out the email surveys, which were sent out in May. Board members said they were pleased that more parents seem to have filled out the surveys.

Aaron Bockhorst, board member, suggested creating a committee with administrators, board members and parents to address some of the problems.

“I think this is a prime opportunity to do (get parents involved in a committee),” he said. “Because there are issues that aren’t school specific. There are issues that are district-wide.”

Bockhorst said working with a committee would show that the district is committed to making improvements and addressing problems.

In the comments section, several parents had negative remarks about transportation.

Bryant said that there already has been a conversation with the new manager at First Student. The district is in the position to get out of the bus contract if it needs to and owns its own buses.

Bryant said the previous manager did a poor job of servicing the equipment.

He also said parents are disgruntled that students can’t be dropped off at several different locations on different days.

“Our obligation is home to school and school to home,” Bryant said. “When you start changing drop-off locations daily is when you mess up dropping a kid off.”

Board members agreed that the district needs to keep an eye on bus problems in the coming school year.

Some parents had miscellaneous criticisms, while others lauded the administration and teachers.

“Each building has things I hope (building administrators) take seriously and work on and it becomes your goal to address those things, because there were some things that are building specific, that were highlighted that need to be addressed and can only be addressed at the building level,” said Virgil Weideman, school board member.