I read with interest Doug Carpenter’s letter to the editor on March 27, in which he, as a private citizen, stated Whitney Berry’s letter about the district’s school consolidation survey was a “deceptive look at a small piece of the results.” I found it interesting that Mr. Carpenter did not respond to the larger and more concerning issues with these survey results.
In statistics, generalizability is the extent in which survey results can be applied to a larger population. For example, if one wanted to survey the population of Grand Forks to determine public opinion regarding Mr. Carpenter’s performance as a School Board member and past board president on the topics of fiscal responsibility, facilities management and public trust, one would want those completing the survey to be demographically similar to the city’s population.
Twenty-nine percent of individuals who completed the district’s facilities survey were Grand Forks Public Schools employees. From looking at the number of district employees and the adult population of the city, fewer than 5% of the city’s adults are employed by the school district. This means the district's survey results cannot be generalized. This concern, as well as the very small percentage of the city’s population who actually completed the survey, shows the results are worthless. It is concerning that the School Board used these results as part of their justification to hold a $86 million June referendum.
Mr. Carpenter, as a private citizen and as a School Board member, is not in a position to lecture us on statistics or fiscal management. Grand Forks deserves better.
Justin Berry, Grand Forks