Friday, February 08, 2002

Poll: Yes to school rebuilding


But no to new tax

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In a poll released this week, 80 percent of Ohioans surveyed said modern school facilities contribute to better education.

        However, only 43 percent said they would somewhat favor or strongly favor a property tax increase for a new school if asked in November. The percentage of respondents in favor of the increase jumps to 63 percent if the new school would be built for use also as a community center open year-round and beyond regular school hours.

        “This poll would seem to say (school districts) have a better chance of getting levies passed if school leaders are more inclusive in their thinking,” said Chad Wick, president and CEO of Cincinnati-based Knowl- edgeWorks Foundation.

        The poll, presented Wednesday to about 120 educators, Ohio Department of Education staff and state legislators, comes as Cincinnati Public Schools considers a $1 billion plan to modernize its facilities. Every district in Ohio is being offered state funding to modernize all their school buildings by 2012.

        KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Ohio's largest public education philanthropy, commissioned the poll. Paul Werth Associates, a Columbus-based research and public relations firm, conducted the poll through 505 telephone surveys in September and a follow-up round of 323 surveys. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, said Charlie Hauser, the company's vice president of research.

        Some other findings:

        • Ohioans overestimate the cost of higher education for in-state students by about $6,000 per year. They estimate a year's tuition to be $11,418 on average at public four-year colleges or universities.

        • Just over half of the respondents — 53 percent — said increased spending on education will directly result in improvements in academic performance.

        • About four out of five people polled — 83 percent — agree or strongly agree that students should be tested every year in reading and math in grades 3 through 8.

        The poll can be found online at www.kwfdn.org.

       



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