February 14, 2007
Loud and clear, the people say "Support public schools!"

This is a real eye-opener.

A big majority -- 71 percent -- agreed that "the school finance plan was only a temporary band-aid because all of the new state tax dollars were dedicated to property tax relief," according to the poll conducted by Republican, Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group and Democrat Paul Harstad of Harstad Strategic Research.

While the state's preliminary budget proposes cuts for some public education programs, such as pre-kindergarten, the poll shows that 66 percent of Texans want more state spending on public education. Only 5 percent of Texans want to cut public education funding, according to the poll.

Texas lawmakers have made school property tax cuts their top priority. But Texans have different priorities, according to the poll that puts public education on top with 33 percent followed by health care, 23 percent; illegal immigration 22 percent; and property tax cuts, 10 percent.

"The message from Texas is clear -- last year, the Legislature's school finance plan represented, at best, a first step," said Donna New Haschke, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, which commissioned the poll. "Should the Legislature adjourn this year without taking a second or third step toward addressing public education funding as a top priority, they will have failed to meet the needs of the school children of Texas and the expectations of their constituents."

There's a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the results and compares them to previous years' tallies. The data have been remarkably consistent going back to 2002. What it unfortunately doesn't provide is sample size and demographic information about the poll. If I had the time, I'd try to contact one of the pollsters and ask for that stuff. It'd be nice to know, that's for sure.

I will note that this story about a bipartisan/business pro-public school coalition offers some corroborating evidence to that survey:

The group cited a poll of 1,000 Texas voters conducted this month showing 54 percent believe state lawmakers are not spending enough money on education. A similar poll conducted last month by Republican and Democratic pollsters for the Texas State Teachers Association found 61 percent of respondents believed that.

So that's reassuring. I'd still like to see the crosstabs, though. Not because I doubt the results, but because I want to know as much as I can about them. Full information is always best.

Eye on Williamson has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 14, 2007 to Budget ballyhoo