As the Star-Banner reported Friday, Marions United commissioned a poll earlier this month to gauge our community's views on a potential school funding referendum. The results were positive.
Marions United For Public Education presented the following referendum to poll respondents. This is what voters would potentially see on their November 2014 ballot:
Shall the Marion County School District’s ad valorem millage be increased by a total of one mill, beginning July 1, 2015, and ending four years later on June 30, 2019, for necessary operating expenses including reading, physical education, art, music, library, media, and vocational programs; meet class size requirements; and retain qualified teachers, with oversight of these expenditures by an independent citizens financial oversight committee?
The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, surveyed 1,000 likely 2014 voters in Marion County with a margin of error of +/- 3 points.
Here are some highlights from the poll's results:
- 55% of poll respondents said they would vote 'yes' on the referendum, 36% would vote 'no' and 9% said they weren't sure.
- 44% said the referendum's inclusion of art and music made them more likely to support the referendum, 21% said less likely, 29% said it didn't make a difference, and 6% weren't sure.
- 43% said the inclusion of meeting class size requirements made them more likely to support the referendum, 23% said less likely, 28% said it didn't make a difference, and 6% weren't sure.
- 37% said the inclusion of an independent citizens financial oversight committee made them more likely to support the referendum, 26% said less likely, 29% said it didn't make a difference, and 8% weren't sure.
Here are the demographics of the poll's respondents:
- 54% were women and 46% men
- 46% were Republicans, 35% Democrats, and 19% Independents/Other
- 77% were white, 9% Hispanic, 8% African-American, and 6% other
- 43% were older than 65, 33% were 46-65, 18% were 30-45, and 6% were 18-29
There's a long way to go between now and next November, and these results are only a current snapshot of public opinion. Nonetheless, it's clear that Marion County voters are ready to boost local investment in our schools to support good programs like art, music, PE, vocational etc. that have been greatly damaged due to years of budget cuts.
We're proud to report that on Thursday, November 21st, the Marion County School Board moved forward with an almost identical referendum (only minor changes were made to the version that was polled).