Thursday, April 8, 2010
The survey was conducted by The Research Partnership of Wichita to establish a baseline of public perception on K-12 funding and to determine Kansans' willingness to pay higher taxes to provide more money to schools.
The poll found that 81% of people surveyed say they do not support a proposal that would raise the state sales tax 1%.
"If you don't know what they public perception is about those services, it's impossible to get reliable information," said Dave Trabert, Kansas Policy Institute.
Three key findings jumped out from the data:
1. Kansans are grossly misinformed about school funding. Schools are receiving much more money per-pupil than assumed by most Kansans; most Kansans also believe that both State aid and Total aid are down or flat compared to five years ago but both categories have double-digit increases.
2. Kansans are overwhelmingly opposed to paying higher taxes to give more money to schools under current conditions. When not prompted with leading questions about avoiding further cuts to schools but simply asked if they would be personally willing to pay higher taxes based on several school funding scenarios, they rejected tax increases by margins of 39 to 70 points.
3. While one might expect those with children in school to be better informed about school funding, they are actually less informed than those with no children in school. They are also strongly opposed to paying higher taxes to give schools more money; they are more likely to say they would be willing to pay more if spending was down or the same as five years ago but very unwilling to pay if total aid is up.