By Mark Baldassare
The elections this year offer the first statewide look at Californians’ willingness to raise revenue for their local schools since passage of Proposition 30, the tax initiative to benefit education that voters passed in November 2012. While it’s too early to know how many local school districts will test the waters by placing a construction bond or parcel tax on the ballot, there are undercurrents in our new survey that spell trouble ahead for local school ballot measures. In short, the public’s sense that schools are in crisis has diminished.
Our annual PPIC Statewide Survey on Californians and Education shows that likely voters view fiscal conditions in education as generally improving. The proportion who say that the state budget situation is a “big problem” for California’s K–12 public education has dropped by 10 points—from 72 percent to 62 percent—between April 2012 and today. More importantly, the proportion of likely voters saying that the level of current state funding for their local public schools is “not enough” has also dropped by 10 points between April 2012 and today—from 59 percent to 49 percent. In other words, the likely voters who currently view state funding of their