GEORGIA PUBLIC POLICY FOUNDATION NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
July 10, 2014
Contact Benita Dodd at 404-256-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New Poll Finds Georgians’ Support for School Choice Has No Political Boundaries
Macon – A large majority of Georgians support school choice, and nearly all of those support choice for all Georgia students regardless of family income, according to a survey unveiled today at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation event in Macon.
The 2014 Georgia Education Survey, conducted for the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College & State University, found that more than seven in 10 respondents (70.3 percent) approve of Georgia’s tax credit scholarships and more than eight in 10 respondents (80.5 percent) support Georgia’s scholarship program for special-needs students.
Nearly seven in 10 (69.4 percent) of respondents agree that tax credit scholarships should be available to all families, regardless of income, while just 28.3 percent believe that such scholarships should be only be available to families based on financial need.
Georgia’s Education Expense Credit Program – tax credit scholarships – allows taxpayers to redirect some of their state income tax payment to student scholarship programs, which provide scholarships to public school students whose families want to enroll them in private schools.
The state set the total amount that can be contributed to the program in 2014 at $58 million. Within the first three weeks of the year, contributions from Georgia taxpayers had reached the cap.
Asked whether they would support increasing the 2015 scholarship total to $100 million, 61.8 percent of survey respondents agreed; 29.1 percent opposed an increase.
Respondents were also polled about HSA-type education savings accounts – pioneered in Arizona and recently established in Florida. ESAs allow parents to take their child out of a public school and use a government-authorized savings account to pay for private school tuition, online education, private tutoring or future college expenses. Nearly seven in 10 (67.8 percent) of Georgia respondents supported the concept.
“This survey reinforces Georgia voters’ overwhelming approval of the 2012 referendum to establish a state charter school commission,” said Dr. Ben Scafidi, a professor of economics and director of the Economics of Education Policy Center at Georgia College & State University.
“More important, the results of this survey make it clear that school choice in Georgia knows no political affiliation: Most Georgia parents simply want to give their children the best start possible.”
The survey found that among professed Republicans, 71.5 percent support tax credit scholarships; 74.8 percent support universal access to scholarships and 56 percent support raising the donation cap for tax credit scholarships to $100 million.
Among professed Democrats, more than 67 percent support tax credit scholarships; 64.5 percent support universal access to scholarships and 63.8 percent support raising the donation cap for tax credit scholarships to $100 million.
The survey of 1,000 Georgia adults was conducted in May by Braun Research of Princeton, N.J., and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. It was released in Macon at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s annual Friedman Legacy for Freedom Day, an international celebration of the birthday and legacy of the late Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winner in Economics and a champion of school choice.
About the Georgia Public Policy Foundation: Established in 1991, the Foundation is an independent, state-focused think tank that proposes market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Visit our Web site at georgiapolicy.org.
I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation. For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work. As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature. We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us. To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)