Press Release for Monday, April 15, 2002

Survey shows support for education tax increase

SURVEY SHOWS MOST DUVAL COUNTY TAXPAYERS WILLING TO PAY MORE TAXES FOR BETTER SCHOOLS

JACKSONVILLE – Most Duval County taxpayers are willing to pay more taxes to improve schools, according to a new survey conducted by the Florida Center for Public Policy and Leadership.
The survey, which was done in collaboration with the Florida Institute of Government and the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida, shows nearly 52 percent of those surveyed supported more taxes to improve county schools while 44 percent indicated they were opposed.

Dr. Matthew Corrigan, director of the Florida’s Center Public Opinion Research Laboratory, said the survey shows that the citizens of Duval County are willing to put more resources into education where appropriate. “The answer to this question and others shows a pattern that indicates taxpayers want improvements in the system and are willing to pay for them,” he said.

Dr. Adam Herbert, executive director of the Florida Center said the survey findings provide some very important insights into the perceptions of our fellow citizens regarding public education. “This survey is the first conducted by the Florida Center. In light of the importance of education to the future growth and development of Duval County, we wanted this topic and our community to be the focus of the Laboratory’s initial survey,” he said.

The telephone survey was conducted over a four-day period (April 1-4) by 35 UNF students in Corrigan’s class and in the class of Dr. Terry Bowen, director of the Institute of Government. The survey has 449 respondents and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent.

The survey is the first major public opinion poll completed by The Florida Center. The Center’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory examines critical issues confronting Floridians. It serves as a resource for public policymakers, faculty researchers, government agencies, non-profit agencies, businesses and students at Florida’s universities.

Other major findings of the survey include:

  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents thought the Duval County School System was good or excellent while 46 percent thought it was fair or poor. Sixteen percent of survey respondents did not know.
  • Forty-one percent thought the public schools in their own neighborhoods were good or excellent while 37 percent thought their neighborhood schools were fair or poor. Twenty-one percent did not know.
  • Fifty-two percent approved of using public money for students to attend private or religious schools (vouchers). Forty-four percent disapproved.
  • Sixty-six percent approved of FCAT testing in public schools. 
  • When asked who was most responsible for the problems and challenges of the Duval County School System: 30 percent said parents; 18 percent said the school board; 14 percent said state government; 8 percent said the superintendent; 8 percent said teachers; 7 percent said students themselves. 
  • Thirty-seven percent of respondents said that children today do more homework when compared to when they were in school; 29 percent said that students do less homework compared to when they were in school; 25 percent said the homework amount was about the same.
  • When asked what they liked best about the Duval County
    School System in an open-ended question, the most frequent responses were “magnet schools” and “teachers”.

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NOTE: Dr. Adam Herbert, director of the Florida Center and Dr. Matthew Corrigan , director of the Center’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory, are available for media interviews by calling the Office of News&Publications at 620-2140. More information about the survey can be found on the Center’s web page at www/unf.edu/thefloridacenter/