PEQUOT LAKES -- The Pequot Lakes School District is now mailing surveys to community members to find out how the school district is doing and to gauge whether they would pay more for phone services if they could call area cities, like Crosslake or Brainerd, for free.
The survey, which will be due back to the district by Aug. 25, will ask residents how they feel about Pequot schools, teachers and administrators, school facilities and how the district can meet community needs.
In addition, the district worked with area phone companies to include a question asking whether residents would support the possibility of Expanded Area Calling Service, or EAS. Telephone calls to and from Crosslake to surrounding telephone exchanges, like to Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Ideal Corners and Pine River, are currently long distance.
According to the survey, the Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce, Pequot Lakes Chamber of Commerce, the school district, Crosslake Communications and TDS Telecom are working together to determine the level of interest in pursuing local calling for Crosslake.
The survey asks whether residents would support local calling services for Crosslake to Pine River, Breezy Point, Ideal Corners and Pequot Lakes, even if it may increase their monthly EAS phone fee by $3 to a total of $6.
If the monthly fee were increased to a total of $12, the survey asks if people would pay that amount to be able to call Brainerd, Crosby, Nisswa and other communities within a 30-mile radius for free.
Another question on the survey asks whether the development of a plan which provides a flat fee of 5-8 cents per minute for calling other area exchanges would be a better alternative.
Superintendent Jim Oraskovich said about 5,000 surveys will be mailed out within the week. Typically only 13 percent fill out a survey and mail them in, but Oraskovich is hoping more residents will take a few minutes to complete the form.
The community survey may bring about changes in the district and could possibly allow for local calling for area cities, he said.
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