A second mailing inviting registered voters in the Menlo Park City School District to participate in an online survey ended up with an even bigger flaw than the original mailing, which lacked a return address and may have caused some recipients to discard it as junk mail.
In the second mailing, the survey access codes that are supposed to be unique to each mailing are actually all the same.
Those who receive the mailing can still take the survey, but the district now must take further measures to assure each person takes it only once.
Assistant Superintendent Erik Burmeister said on Nov. 21 that the error was made by the printing company used by Panorama Education, the consulting firm handling the survey. "This is certainly an unfortunate situation and outside our control," he said. "Panorama told us today that they are severing their relationship with their printer and they are going to make this right for the district."
Mr. Burmeister said the district "will continue to review our relationship with Panorama."
He said the survey "is not about the parcel tax. It's about getting feedback from the community on a myriad of topics. We simply added two questions about the parcel tax on this particular survey because of the timing."
He said that the district had planned a community survey before two parcel tax measures on the ballot last May failed to pass.
District residents had complained that the original survey invitation might be discarded by many people because it was in a plain white envelope with no return address. Panorama Education admitted its printing company had erred by leaving off the return address, and agreed to re-mail the invitation at its own expense.
While the first few people who tried to use the code from the second mailing received a message that they had already taken the survey, the website is now set up so that code can used to respond, Mr. Burmeister said. Panorama will watch for duplicate survey-takers.
Those who still have their access code from the first mailing, who haven't yet taken the survey, can do so using that code. The district will also send emails with the original unique code to those whose email addresses it has.
An official at Panorama said the glitch "should have minimal impact" on the data the district receives. "We will do all we can to check for any suspicious response (all negative, etc.) should there be any nefarious survey-taking," an email from Panorama says.