California voters split on Jerry Brown school plan

Mar 24, 2013 by

jerry E_brownjrFifty percent agree with the governor’s proposal to give more funds to school districts that serve low-income children. A separate Brown plan to give local districts more funding control is favored by 59%.

SACRAMENTO — California voters have yet to strongly embrace Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial plan to shift money from rich schools to poor ones, an ominous sign as he works to win support for the idea from skeptical lawmakers and the state’s powerful teachers unions.

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that 50% of respondents agreed with such a move, to help school districts that serve low-income children and English-language learners.

But a significant minority, 39%, opposed the plan, which is embedded in the governor’s budget blueprint and is the centerpiece of his education agenda. Brown has described his bid as “a classic case of justice to unequals.”

Support broke along ethnic and socioeconomic lines, with 67% of Latinos backing the proposal, compared with 42% of whites.

Voters solidly endorsed a separate Brown proposal to give school districts more control over the state funds they receive, with 59% in favor. Only 41% approved of a legislative effort to make it easier for local governments to raise more education money through parcel taxes — a priority for many Democratic lawmakers.

In the past, Democrats and their allies in teachers unions have resisted upending the way schools are funded. Brown’s most contentious proposal this year would give all districts a base grant, with extra funding for each student who is low-income, struggling with English or in foster care.

“Our future depends not on across-the-board funding, but in disproportionately funding those schools that have disproportionate challenges,” he said as he unveiled his plan in January.

With race and class at its core, the proposal could open a thorny debate.

“The challenge for the governor here is to make a case that this is not a divisive issue but a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats” proposal, said Drew Lieberman of the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which conducted the survey in conjunction with the Republican company American Viewpoint.

via California voters split on Jerry Brown school plan –

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