November 25, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
33°F
test

Survey shows support for school-funding fix

CLEVELAND — Nearly two-thirds of Ohioans support a proposed ballot issue that aims to fix Ohio’s unconstitutional school funding system, according to a survey.
A survey by Baldwin-Wallace
College’s Public Interest Research Center, conducted March 26 to April 12, found that 48 percent of Ohio adults supported the measure, and
16 percent strongly supported it.
A coalition of teachers unions and other education groups are pushing the measure.
Less than one in five respondents said they opposed the idea. About the same number had no opinion.
“I’m not surprised,” said Debbie Phillips, executive director of the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign, one of the groups circulating petitions in favor of the amendment.
“People are very frustrated by the current system.
The random statewide telephone survey of 777 adults had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus
3.6 percentage points.
The proposed amendment would declare a high-quality public education a fundamental right of every Ohio child and gradually reduce the local share of expenses for schools and increase the state share. Supporters need to collect 402,276 signatures of registered voters by Aug. 8 to put the issue on the November
ballot.
The Ohio Supreme Court first declared the state’s school funding system unconstitutional in 1997, saying a heavy reliance on the local tax base created inequality between districts because a poor district couldn’t raise as much money as a wealthy one.
Political analysts say public opinion on the proposed ballot issue can change dramatically once pro and con campaigns take shape and messages are sharpened.
“It’s real early,” said Steve Brooks of the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron. “For a variety of reasons, the Ohio public believes our school funding system needs to be fixed. If you ask them whether they’d vote for an amendment to fix it, they say, Sure.’”