MARINETTE — During Tuesday’s Marinette School District Board of Education meeting, the board received the results of the rightsizing project survey that had been sent out in early March.

The survey was conducted by School Perceptions LLC. Bill Foster, the president of School Perceptions, said those who took the survey had the option to complete it either online or by paper and the results showed a majority of residents who completed it would be in support of a four-building reconfiguration of the district, keeping Merryman Elementary, Park Elementary, Marinette Middle School and Marinette High School open.

“We had 1,328 responses, and 517 came back via paper, which gave us a response rate of 17%. The board usually asks, ‘is that good?’ The answer is it’s very good. We usually see about an 18% response rate,” Foster said.

He said 56% of district parents and 61% of those who are neither parents nor district staff were in support of some kind of school consolidation, with 24% of staff members supporting and 64% unsure. The four-building option was favored by 55% of all residents who responded, including staff. 62% of staff members supported the four-building option with 22% opposed.

Fifty-eight percent of surveyed parents said they would support the four-building option, and 50% of the non-parents supported it with 32% opposed. Foster said a third of the undecided voters tend to vote yes, while two thirds vote no when all is said and done. “My theory is that people in Wisconsin are really nice and they don’t like to say no, so they say they’re undecided until it comes to vote and more will vote no. However in your case, that picks up an extra 6%, so you’re at 56%.”

Foster said the four-building option would be a $31 million referendum. According to Superintendent Wendy Dzurick, this option would save the district $568,000 annually in operating expenses.

Foster said the original plan put forward after the facilities study that prompted the project, the three-building option, was much less popular. Staff were nearly two to one against, and the same seemed to be the case for parents and non-parents.

He said the district’s mill rate has been generally declining, and if they were to have support for a project, the mill rate would be similar to where it was in 2014 and 2015. “That kind of puts it into context for people. There was also the disclosure (in the survey) that you’ve got some debt that’s going away in 2025,” he said.