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Californians want to spare schools from budget cuts, but are divided sharply over whether new taxes are the answer, a new statewide survey reveals. The Public Policy Institute of California polled 2,502 adults statewide about their perceptions of public schools and what needs to be done to fix them. Their findings include:

  • San Diego and Orange county residents are happier with their schools than people in the Bay Area. While 61 percent of Bay Area respondents hold negative views of their local schools, only 49 percent of Orange and San Diego county residents feel the same way.
  • Black and white Californians were more worried about public education than Latino or Asian respondents: 72 percent of black respondents called the quality of education “a big problem,” while only 38 percent of Asian respondents agreed.
  • Raising property taxes to pay for public schools isn’t popular in Orange and San Diego counties, where 53 percent of respondents said they’d vote against such a measure.

That last finding could bode poorly for a San Diego Unified parcel tax proposed by school board member John de Beck. School district staffers are researching the tax for potential placement on the November ballot. De Beck estimates that a $97.50 per parcel tax, exempting seniors, would yield more than $92 million for San Diego Unified schools.

Can’t get enough data? Read the full survey here. Or check out the LA Times’ article about the study.

EMILY ALPERT

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