Poll shows voters believe state should provide more funding for public schools
The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) has released poll results that show Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly value public education, support an increase in state funding for the 500 school districts statewide, and support public school choices, while opposing the use of taxpayer funds for private school tuition. The polling, commissioned by EPLC, was conducted by Susquehanna Polling and Research, which is based in Harrisburg.
The results of the new Annual Pennsylvania Education Issues Poll showed that Pennsylvanians place high value on quality public education and believe that a strong educational system is essential for a strong economy. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed agreed that "high quality public schools are vital for the success of Pennsylvania's economy,"? and 95 percent agreed that "all students in Pennsylvania should be legally entitled to the opportunity to receive a quality education."
Also apparent in the results is bipartisan support for increased funding for public education at the state level. From a list of seven issues, the registered voters surveyed listed "increasing state funding for and improving education"? as the second most important priority for the governor and legislature, trailing only job creation and improving the economy.
In addition to supporting a higher level of state funding in general, and specifically for the significant increases provided during 2008, 2009 and 2010, respondents expressed support for increasing state funding in poorer school districts to reduce the funding disparity with wealthier districts. Sixty-two percent were in favor of doing so, 23 percent opposed.
On another question, 82 percent agreed with the statement that adequate funding for school districts "should be maintained in both good and poor economic times, even if it means lawmakers must make politically difficult decisions concerning additional state revenues and/or cuts to other programs."
The poll showed strong support for providing important academic opportunities to all eligible students within the public school system, such as arts education, advanced placement courses, and career-technical courses. By 53 percent to 35 percent, voters also expressed support for charter schools within the public school system.
However, by a ratio of more than 2-1, 67 percent to 30 percent, voters said they opposed using taxpayer funds to support "tuition for students attending non-public schools like religious or private schools."
The survey was conducted between October 24th and 31st, and included responses from roughly 800 registered voters statewide. More detailed results can be found at www.eplc.org.
Poll Highlights: PA Voters Reaffirm Strong Support for Public Education and Schools (PDF)
Final: Top Line Survey Results (PDF)
Source: Excerpts from EPLC Press Release, Nov. 21, 2011.