The Wilkinsburg Public School District has a storied past, but in recent decades, it has been struggling. District and borough officials want to change that, and they are asking residents for their input.
Elected officials are conducting a survey asking what the community wants to see its school district and borough provide in the future.
The school district and Community Leadership Team are asking residents, workers and business owners in the borough to take the 17-question survey.
Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp. Executive Director Tracey Evans said the survey will help the leaders look at long-term strategies to support the school district and economic goals for Wilkinsburg.
The survey asks a series of questions about how respondents are connected to Wilkinsburg and how they feel about the performance of the school district.
Part of the survey asks for a rating of how important qualities like the environment of the schools, the academics and support from teachers and how fast the schools respond to issues are to residents.
Another section asks how satisfied residents currently are with the same qualities.
The Wilkinsburg school district has suffered several incidents in recent years that have hurt its reputation, and it was ranked the most violent school in Pennsylvania in 2012 by a study done by the Commonwealth Foundation.
Seventy-nine violent incidents per 100 students were reported by the high school, according to the study.
Evans said the survey is a step forward for the school district, the community and all the other stakeholders.
“We’re hoping that by doing this survey and having some meetings and talking with the residents and working with the school district and the borough that we can really be able to speak together as a community, so if there’s changes to be made, that we can start to agree on them and speak together,” Evans said.
Though the survey focuses mostly on the school district, it is open to people who do not have children in the school.
“They pay taxes and the majority of property taxes in Wilkinsburg do go to the school district, so that’s a big percentage of what people have to pay each year,” Evans said.
Residents can pick up surveys at Wilkinsburg schools, the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corp., local businesses, nonprofits, churches and online.