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Poll Says Chappaqua Locals View Schools Favorably

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – According to a recent survey, the majority of district residents have a positive view of Chappaqua schools. At the same time, 96 percent of those polled said the district’s school taxes are too high.

The results of the poll, which was conducted by market research firm Penn, Schoen and Berland on behalf of the school district, were announced by the firm’s vice president Nick Crofoot at Tuesday’s board of education meeting. According to Crofoot, 252 district residents were surveyed in early October. It included questions such as, “how favorable or unfavorable is your opinion of Chappaqua Central School?” and “how would you rate the quality of education provided Chappaqua Central School?”

Crofoot said there were three objectives for the research: to evaluate perceptions of the district among its residents, to determine how important residents perceive various programs, and to assess attitudes about local taxes.

According to the results, 96 percent of residents polled have a favorable view of the schools, and 91 percent believe the education provided is either “good” or “excellent.”

An area that did not receive a positive response was the school’s taxes, for which 96 percent said that taxes are “already too high,” compared to 29 percent who said a modest increase would be justifiable. “Have you ever taken a poll when the respondents said the taxes weren’t too high?” joked board member Jeffrey Meester.

Still, Crofoot said that in the end, residents understood that they are probably necessary to maintain a certain level of education. “I think that the community recognizes the value of the education system,” he said. “No, they will be happy if school taxes go up, but they recognize that there’s a value in what’s being provided by the school district.”

Crofoot also asked residents to rank 17 different programs, activities and services in order of importance. Ranking highest was “an excellent academic education,” “student’s problem solving and applying critical and creative thinking to content,” and “energized and passionate teaching.”

“Broad athletic opportunities” ranked lowest among those polled in terms of importance, according to the results. Arts and clubs also received low scores. “What people in the community value the most, first and foremost, is education,” said Crofoot. “Less important are the things that take place outside of the classroom.”

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