March 8, 2004
Early Childhood Education is a Priority for Voters
Analysis by Floyd Ciruli
Denver voters believe access to quality pre-school education is vital to the long-term success of students and they support a ballot initiative that would require the City & County of Denver to provide funding.
A recent survey by Ciruli Associates for the Denver-based Piton Foundation shows that more than three-quarters (77%) of Denver voters agree that quality pre-school education would help children do better in later life, reduce the dropout rate and juvenile crime. In a separate survey of Colorado voters, 67% of voters agreed with the statement.
Question: The following are several statements about pre-school education. They represent different viewpoints on the issue. Please tell me if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the following statements: quality pre-school wil help children do better in later life, reduce the dropout rate and juvenile crime?
The survey was conducted by Ciruli Associates for the Piton Foundation from August 7 to 11, 2003 with 300 Denver frequent voters (statistical range of accuracy ±5.7 percentage points in 95 out of 100 cases) and with 601 frequent Colorado voters interviewed from August 8 to 16, 2003 (±4.0 percentage points).
Other important survey findings:
- 97% of Denver voters believe children have a right to a high quality education; yet 40% believe they do not receive one. 96% of statewide voters believe there is a right to a high quality education; 34% believe they do not receive one.
- 49% of Denver voters say only half or fewer parents have access to quality pre-school; 43% statewide.
- 83% of Denver voters believe pre-school is too expensive; 73% statewide.
- 60% of Denver voters say government does too little to increase access to pre-school; 39% statewide
- 89% of Denver voters agree quality pre-school provides working parents a good learning environment for their 4-year-olds; 79% statewide
Ballot Initiative to Fund Pre-School Education
Three-quarters of Denver voters support a ballot initiative to fund pre-school education (74% strongly and somewhat support). But only 57% of Colorado voters surveyed support a ballot funding initiative.
Families with children under 6 years old or with children in the kindergarten to 12th grade are the most supportive of a ballot initiative. Providing an equal opportunity for all children and the importance of an early start to succeed are the most important reasons voters say they support a pre-school ballot initiative.
Sales or Property Tax Increase to Fund Pre-School Education
When asked specifically if they would raise a sales tax to fund a pre-school education program, 58% of Denver voters say yes. Only 50% of statewide voters are prepared to increase the sales tax. Both Denver and Colorado voters fail to support a property tax increase for pre-school programs (47% Denver voters support and 38% Colorado voters support).
- (Denver) increase the sales tax by two-tenths of one percent. That would be two cents on a $10 dollar purchase.
- (Denver) increase the local property tax mil by .002. That would equal $48 dollars per year on an average priced home of $247,000.
- (Statewide) increase the state sales tax by three-tenths of one percent from 2.9% to 3.23%. That would be 3 cent on a $10 dollar purchase.
- (Statewide) increase the local education property tax mil by .004. That would equal $83 dollars per year on an average priced home of $227,000.
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Ciruli Associates is a non-partisan research, communication and public policy firm providing consulting for Colorado and national organizations since 1976.
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