Poll finds support for Brown’s tax plan and his ed spending revisions

A majority of likely voters say they support the governor's tax measure headed for the fall ballot, but most also said they favor two major proposals in his budget - giving local school officials more say over spending and restructuring state school funding to favor disadvantaged students.

The new poll findings, released today by the Public Policy Institute of California, found a large majority of likely voters - 65 percent - favor imposing higher taxes on the state's wealthiest residents while 52 percent oppose raising state sales taxes.

The outlook for raising local taxes is also less than optimistic. Although 53 percent statewide said they would support a bond measure to pay for a local school construction project - that is less than the 55 percent threshold needed to pass a local school bond measure.

Also, only 51 percent said they would support a local parcel tax to benefit schools - falling well short of two-thirds majority needed.

As has been often reflected in polling conducted in the past by PPIC, a large majority of voters polled - 72 percent - again said they understood the state budget crisis presents a big problem for public schools. And, as in the past, most voters - 58 percent - they K-12 education is the part of the budget they most want to protect from further cuts.

Further, 67 percent said they are very concerned about schools laying off teachers and 62 percent are very concerned about having fewer days of school instruction.

That said, there is also growing evidence that voters do not believe providing more money to schools is the only answer.

Just 6 percent of likely voters said that increased funding alone would lead to significant improvement and instead, 48 percent said improvements would come if funds are used more wisely.

While many Californians believe that the state's budget situation is a big problem for public schools, few think that money alone is the answer," said Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the PPIC. "Most continue to say that significant improvements in the quality of education will take place when we spend money more wisely."

In terms of the governor's budget plan, an overwhelming majority - 81 percent - said they favor giving local school districts more flexibility over how money is spent. Most also favor decisions to be made locally: 53 percent support decision making at the district level; 36 percent would rather have decisions made at the school level; and only 6 percent support authority remaining at the state.

Brown also has proposed restructuring school funding by introducing a weighted formula favoring disadvantage students - something the PPIC poll found had a lot of support: 53 percent of likely voters would give more money to districts with more low-income students and 40 percent would give more money to districts with more English learners.

The results are based on random surveys conducted among 2,005 California adult residents over the seven day period ending April 10. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

To read more: www.ppic.org

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