BY: ASHLEY IZBICKI, NEWS ON 6

The results from an exclusive News on 6 poll, conducted by SoonerPoll.com, indicate that a majority of voters support changing the way money is allocated – and even changing the state constitution, if that’s what it takes.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE TOPLINES AND CROSSTABS

Bill Shapard from SoonerPoll says, “I think people look at this and say, ‘that’s a crisis.’”

[QUESTION] Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE allowing school districts to use property tax revenues that are currently used only to fund the construction or renovation of school facilities or the purchase of furniture, to fund teacher salaries as well?

1. Strongly support 30.2%
2. Somewhat support 33.3
COMBINED SUPPORT 63.5
3. No opinion/Don’t know/Refused [DNR] 11.3
4. Somewhat oppose 11.7
5. Strongly oppose 13.4
COMBINED OPPOSE 25.1

Right now, money collected from property taxes can only go toward construction or renovation of schools, or to buy furniture.

A combined 63.5 percent of voters say they support putting that money toward teacher salaries.  Thirty percent say they strongly support that change.

“What people are basically saying is…teachers are just as big a part of that school as the equipment, the desks, the classrooms,” said Shapard.

It’s the same story for changing the state constitution so school land office monies could fund teacher salaries.  53.2 percent are in strong support of this.

[QUESTION] The Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office oversees 750,000 acres of raw school land that collect incomes generated by leasing the raw land to farmers and ranchers. The fund has over $2.4 billion, of which $137 million was distributed to schools last year, however the monies are currently not used to fund teacher salaries due to strict controls laid out in the state constitution. Would you SUPPORT or OPPOSE a change to the constitution that allowed school land office monies to be used to fund teacher salaries?

1. Strongly support 53.2%
2. Somewhat support 26.0
COMBINED SUPPORT 79.2
3. No opinion/Don’t know/Refused [DNR] 7.6
4. Somewhat oppose 5.3
5. Strongly oppose 7.9
COMBINED OPPOSE 13.2

Shapard says, “I think that most people know instinctively that if there is something in our constitution that’s based upon some sort of old idea of the way to fund this or that, and it doesn’t fit with today’s current model, they want to change it.”

With a statewide school shutdown looming, SoonerPoll.com says Oklahomans are ready for solutions.

“Keep in mind, if this thing were to go two weeks and we go and survey them again, they may say something completely different to us,” stated Shapard.

More than 70 percent of people surveyed say they support a school shutdown, but when it comes to state workers striking in support of schools, voters are split with 49 percent in support, 45 percent opposed, and 6 percent undecided.

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, conducted the poll of Oklahoma likely voters, which was commissioned by News9 and Newson6.

The scientific study was conducted March 14-22, 2018 with 557 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of SoonerPoll’s online panel and landline telephones which were conducted using IVR (Interactive Voice Response) technology. The sample was weighted by age, gender, political party and congressional district in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.15 percent.

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Bill is the founder of SoonerPoll.com and ShapardResearch, a full service market research firm based in Oklahoma City. Bill began his career in polling after working on a major campaign in Oklahoma from 1996 until founding SoonerPoll in 2004. Under Bill’s leadership, SoonerPoll has become the leading public opinion polling company in the state of Oklahoma conducting more public opinion polls for Oklahoma news media than all other pollsters combined since 2006. Bill’s commitment to go above and beyond the AAPOR ethical guidelines of minimum disclosure ensures that SoonerPoll produces quality results every time. Bill has lectured at Oklahoma State University on developing polling methodologies, data collection processes, and advanced likely voter sampling techniques. Bill also serves as an on-air political commentator for Oklahoma television stations.

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