Education

Voters support extending taxes to pay for public schools, poll finds

File photo. A new poll finds voters support at least a partial extension of Proposition 30, a November 2012 ballot measure that has pumped about $13 billion into California public schools.
File photo. A new poll finds voters support at least a partial extension of Proposition 30, a November 2012 ballot measure that has pumped about $13 billion into California public schools.
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

A new poll out Thursday suggests broad backing for education funding in California, even if that means extending higher taxes due to expire next year.

The PACE/USC Rossier School of Education poll found that 63 percent of voters support continuing at least a portion of Proposition 30 — the 2012 ballot measure that increased the state sales tax by a quarter cent and nudged up income taxes for those earning $250,000 or more. 

"We’re seeing that perhaps there’s a little bit more optimism about where the schools are going," said University of Southern California education professor Julie Marsh, who helped develop the latest survey. Marsh said voters seem willing to fund that progress. 

Those surveyed who believe California public schools have improved increased from just 7 percent in 2012 to 17 percent in 2015. The poll surveyed 2,411 registered California voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for the overall sample. 

So far, Proposition 30 has pumped about $13 billion into California public schools.

"I believe it's been critical," Marsh said. "Districts and schools are counting on that continued funding source."

The tax increases are set to expire at the end of 2016 unless reauthorized.