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Statewide Organizing Drive Releases Results on Brown’s School Funding Plan

83% of Voters from California’s Emerging Electorate Say Neediest Schools Should Receive Extra Funding

LOS ANGELES – Governor Jerry Brown’s plan of providing additional funding to districts that have large numbers of children in foster care, are receiving free or reduced lunches and English language learners got an overwhelmingly positive response from young voters, voters of color, low-income voters, immigrants and new & occasional voters from across the state, announced Anthony Thigpenn, president of California Calls today.

In three weeks, 567 grassroots leaders from California Calls, a statewide alliance of 31 community organizations working for progressive tax reform, contacted 93,037 voters by phone and door-to-door and identified 77,523 (83%) who expressed agreement with the local control funding formula for disadvantaged schools. Most of the voters contacted were new and occasional voters who voted last November and were part of the changing California electorate that propelled Proposition 30 to victory.

“As the state budget process moves towards its conclusion the voices of these emerging voters, especially those who provided the margin of victory to pass Prop 30, must be heard on this important issue,” said Thigpenn.

Other findings include:

  • Of the very low-income voters surveyed, who earned less than $50,000 per year, 86% of them supported Brown’s school funding plan.
  • The strongest support for the plan came from younger voters, 18-24 (89%).
  • There was very strong support from foreign born Latino voters with 16,090 (90%) stating support for Brown’s school funding plan.
  • Overall, 36,799 Latino voters (88% of all Latinos surveyed) support the plan to fund disadvantaged schools at a higher level.
  • 71% of identified supporters were people of color, who also supported the proposal at high rates – African Americans (83%) and Asians (81%).

Voters were contacted in 12 diverse counties throughout the state. Cities where voters were contacted door-to-door included Los Angeles, Chula Vista, San Diego, Oxnard, Fresno, Coachella, Perris, Bakersfield, San Bernardino, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, San Bernardino, and Ontario.

In Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Kern and Fresno Counties – suburban and rural areas with shifting demographics – support for the school funding plan matched or exceeded support in urban counties, challenging the conventional assumptions on this issue. For example, in Riverside County where 7,176 voters were surveyed on the question, 88% said they supported the plan. In Los Angeles County, 85% of the 26,494 voters asked were favorable to the funding formula.

“Even in non-election years, California Calls continues to contact, identify and educate voters from all walks of life, but particularly voters who are typically not included in polls or sought after by other organizations,” said Thigpenn.

In their May poll, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) also found strong support among “likely voters” for Brown’s school funding plan with 77% in favor. That is significant in that although the demographic targets are not the same (California Calls specifically targets new and occasional voters) a broad population of voters seem to be generally supportive of disadvantaged schools receiving more funding.

“Parents know that public schools in poor and working class neighborhoods cannot offer the same programs and instruction available to students in wealthier communities,” said Regina Moreno, a parent with two of her three children attending Allen at Steinbeck School in San Jose. She volunteered with Working Partnerships USA, a California Calls member organization based in that city.

According to a recent editorial in the Los Angeles Times, “disadvantaged students — who make up 60% of the public school population — are more expensive to educate, through no fault of their own.”