Like a long-haul trucker, the Tigard-Tualatin School District is asking: “How’s my driving?”

The district is looking for feedback from a new online survey asking parents and community members what they think the district should focus on over the new few years.

The survey, which will be on the district’s website through Oct. 25, asks parents what the district’s strengths and weaknesses are, and asks how the school compared to other nearby districts.

The district is also expecting to receive about $2 million in tax increases and cuts to the state’s Public Employee Retirement System approved last month in Salem, and will be looking to add back some cut programs over the next few years.

The survey asks where that money should be spent.

This isn’t the first time the district has asked for parent input on school priorities. The district has done it twice in the past several years. In the past, parents have felt left out and unheard, even when they participated in surveys in the past, said parent Becki Pederson.

“The problem was I came away hopeful like things would change, but all the ideas we wrote down didn’t seem to show up anywhere in the district. Things seemed to get worse instead of better, and I felt my time had been wasted and my voice wasn’t heard.”

But those days are past, said new Superintendent Ernie Brown, who took over this year from former Superintendent Rob Saxton.

And that’s not the end of the district’s outreach to parents. School Board Chairwoman Dana Terhune has said that improving communication between parents and the district is a major goal for the year.

The district also plans to hold focus groups with select parents next week about school priorities.

A group of parents, administrators, teachers and community members will meet in November, and plan to use the feedback from the surveys and focus groups to identify areas the district needs to focus on.

To take the survey, visit the district’s website and click “2013 Online Community Survey.”

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