When nearly half of Arizona voters grade the state’s K-12 public education as only “fair” or “poor,” it’s not surprising that schools/education is ranked as the most important issue for the governor and state legislature to address, according to a recent survey of Arizona voters conducted by the Goldwater Institute. Poll results also demonstrate public support for parental choice and equal per-pupil funding for education.
Forty-three percent of surveyed Arizona voters ranked schools and education as the number one issue for their state government to address. Only 16 percent cited crime, making it a distant second. While 41 percent of voters rated Arizona K-12 education as good to excellent, a higher proportion (49 percent) rated K-12 education as fair to poor.
Among other poll findings are the following:
- Eighty-five percent think all Arizona children should be treated equally and receive the same amount of money for their education.
- Seventy-three percent think parents should have the right to send their children to any public school that has room for them, regardless of school attendance boundaries.
- Seventy-two percent favor tax-deductible donations as a mechanism to allow communities to raise additional funds for local education, with 70 percent favoring tuition tax credits and 60 percent favoring local tax levies.
- Sixty-two percent prefer a one-half cent sales tax over local school district property taxes to fund school construction.
- A majority, 54 percent, think the state should provide funding for school construction, with 29 percent favoring funding through local property tax.
One thousand registered Arizona voters were surveyed between February 26 and March 6, 1998, in an effort to explore school funding issues. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 2.3 to 3.2 percent.
George A. Clowes is managing editor of School Reform News. His email address is [email protected].