Summary of Voter Survey Results
In the fall of 2013 Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) completed a telephone survey of 400 Eureka City Schools District constituents to assess public perceptions of the District, community funding and school project priorities, and determine whether constituents are interested in a local education funding measure to address essential school site needs. The survey results indicate that the public holds very favorable views of local schools, but many believe local school sites are in poor condition and in need of repair. In this context, there is solid consensus that the District should make additional investments in upgrading aging schools to ensure that they can effectively provide job and career training and improve classroom technology to better engage students and improve learning. The public also understands that local schools are in need of additional funding, and more than three in five (63%) would support a potential bond measure to fund school upgrades and repairs, well above the 55 percent vote threshold required for passage under Proposition 39.
The balance of this memorandum outlines these and other key findings from the survey.
Perceptions of local schools, teachers and staff are highly positive. By more than a two-to-one margin 64 percent of constituents say they have a favorable opinion of Eureka City Schools, while only 21 percent express an unfavorable view. Opinions of local teachers and school staff are particularly strong —69 percent of respondents said they have a favorable opinion of local classroom teachers compared to only 7 percent who expressed an unfavorable opinion; and 66 percent say they have a favorable opinion of Eureka schools staff, such as school librarians, custodians and teachers’ aides, compared to only 3 percent who hold a negative opinion.
Although perceptions of local schools are positive, many believe local school sites are run down and in need of repair. More than eight in ten respondents (81%) agree that many local school sites within the Eureka City Schools District are old, run down and in need of repair. This stands in contrast to only 14 percent of respondents that identify that description as “inaccurate.” This finding suggests that constituents are concerned about the condition of local school facilities.
The public places a high priority on making school infrastructure improvements that will enhance the ability of local schools to provide job and career training and classroom technology that will better engage students and improve their learning outcomes. After being presented with a list of potential education budget priorities, constituents overwhelming rated priorities linked to job and career readiness and technology at the top of the list, including:
- Providing job training for students who plan to enter the workforce right after high school (78% “extremely”/”very important”)
- Upgrading career technical/job training classrooms and technology (78% “extremely”/”very important”)
- Upgrading classroom technology (63% “extremely”/”very important”)
- Using technology to better engage students and improve learning (61% “extremely”/”very important”)
- Upgrading electrical systems and wiring for computer technology and Internet access (61% “extremely”/”very important”)
- Repairing aging science labs (61% “extremely”/”very important”)
- Ensuring that all students are prepared for college (60%)
If additional investments are made in improving local school facilities, constituents place a high value on fairness and equity—78 percent identify ensuring that every neighborhood school receives its fair share of funding from additional investments as an “extremely” or “very important” priority.
While constituents support additional investments in improving school facilities, they realize that local schools lack adequate funding, and strong percentages would support a local bond measure to fund school infrastructure needs. More than three quarters of respondents (77%) believe that Eureka schools are in need of at least some additional funding—this figure includes 50 percent of constituents who identify the need for additional local school funding as “great.” In keeping with this view, a solid majority (63%) would support a local school bond measure that would provide funding to upgrade career technical and job training programs to meet the demands of today’s challenging job market and to ensure that classroom technology provides teachers with the tools they need to engage students and improve academic achievement.
Overall, the survey results demonstrate that local schools are held in high regard and that the community supports investments that will help ensure that every student receives a high quality education.
Methodology: From September 15-18, 2013, FM3 completed a survey of 400 registered voters residing within the boundaries of the Eureka City Schools District who are likely to cast ballots in the November 2014 general election. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/-4.9%. Some results do not total to 100% because of rounding.