Poll finds strong Pa. support for increased education funding

    Education groups are touting a poll they say shows voters are more concerned than ever before about adequate funding for Pennsylvania public schools.

    Pollster Terry Madonna, who designed the study, said it did not stack education against other items competing for limited state revenue. But the responses still show education is a top priority for voters this year, he said.

    “The one thing we can say for sure is the voters of this state are deeply concerned about education — funding education changes — some of which we’ve identified in this poll,” he said.

    The survey found nearly three-quarters of respondents support putting more state money toward education and using a funding formula to ensure fair distribution.

    Lawmakers are considering plans to create such a formula.

    And the director of the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators said he wants to keep pressure on the Legislature.

    “We want to make sure they don’t drop the ball … sometimes there’s lots of talk and then not a lot of delivery, so we want to make sure that whatever happens, happens, it’s done well, and it’s actually implemented and sustained,” said Jim Buckheit.

    The survey, conducted in early February, polled 800 Pennsylvania voters statewide and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

    Among the other findings:

    More than eight in 10 Pennsylvanians (84 percent) surveyed said they believe public schools have a “very strong” or “some” effect on economic development;
    Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) said they believe the state investment in public schools needs to be “much larger” or “somewhat larger”;
    More than two-thirds (67 percent) said schools with greater number of students in poverty should “definitely” or “probably” receive more state funding.

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