Arizona voters said education is the most important issue facing the state, a recently conducted poll shows.
The 600 respondents, the majority of who are registered Republicans who do not have school-age children, rated education as the most important in Arizona. It beat out immigration and border security, the economy and jobs.
While the survey accounted for only a fraction of registered Arizona voters, the results are heartening for Expect More Arizona, which sought the poll. The group supports a world-class education for Arizona children.
“We are encouraged to see such strong support from voters statewide for Arizona’s educators and students,” said Pearl Chang Esau, president and CEO of Expect More Arizona. “We look forward to working together with policymakers and elected officials to make education a top priority and advance the preferences of Arizona voters.”
Delving deeper into the education-related concerns of the respondents, the survey identified the top two issues as increasing funding for schools and teacher pay. Only 1.5 percent of respondents called Common Core the most important issue, and 1.7 percent pointed to “illegal immigrant children.”
A high percentage of respondents showed interest in higher teacher pay.
The December survey also touched on the special election to be held in May for education funding. About 66 percent of those surveyed Proposition 123 is an important step toward solving education funding issues in the state.
A higher percentage of respondents, however, supported using surplus dollars over the passage of Proposition 123 to increase funding for schools. It showed 63 percent said using surplus funds is a good source compared to 53 percent who favored funding through the proposition.
Proposition 123 would put $3.5 billion into Arizona’s schools over the next 10 years and resolve a years-long lawsuit. It would put an additional $50 million annually in the first five years and $75 million annually for five years after that in money owed to schools.
But a study by the Children’s Action Alliance found that the plan falls far short of the funding Arizona’s schools received before the recession.
Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4175. On Twitter: @AlexisHuicochea