School funding poll finding
Visualization of NPI's poll finding on voter support for a big increase in K-12 education funding

More than three-fifths of Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers sup­port adding at least $2 bil­lion more to the state’s edu­ca­tion bud­get to help K‑12 pub­lic schools address needs stem­ming from the pan­dem­ic, NPI’s lat­est statewide poll has found.

63% of 700 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers sur­veyed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling (PPP) for NPI last week expressed sup­port for mak­ing big invest­ments to address the state’s teacher short­age, raise fund­ing for spe­cial edu­ca­tion, and increase the num­ber of nurs­es and coun­selors in Wash­ing­ton State schools.

30% were opposed and 7% were not sure.

Total oppo­si­tion is four­teen per­cent­age points less than the per­cent­age who strong­ly sup­port adding $2 bil­lion to the bud­get to ensure that our schools can bounce back suc­cess­ful­ly from the pan­dem­ic, prop­er­ly fund spe­cial edu­ca­tion, hire more nurs­es and coun­selors, and keep teach­ers on the job.

School funding poll finding
Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s poll find­ing on vot­er sup­port for a big increase in K‑12 edu­ca­tion funding

This find­ing demon­strates that vot­ers are eager for their elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives to make big invest­ments in our pub­lic schools to pow­er their jour­ney out of the nov­el coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic. The Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion states clear­ly in Arti­cle IX, Sec­tion 1 that it is the state’s “para­mount duty… to make ample pro­vi­sion for the edu­ca­tion of all chil­dren resid­ing with­in its borders.”

Cur­rent fund­ing lev­els are far from ample, and vot­ers know it. Recent state rev­enue col­lec­tions have been very strong, which means the Leg­is­la­ture already has mon­ey avail­able with which to make major invest­ments in our schools.

Here’s the full text of the ques­tion we asked, and the answers we received:

QUESTION: Recent state rev­enue col­lec­tions have been $3.6 bil­lion high­er than fore­casts antic­i­pat­ed, giv­ing Wash­ing­ton state leg­is­la­tors more dol­lars to work with when writ­ing bud­gets. Do you strong­ly sup­port, some­what sup­port, some­what oppose or strong­ly oppose adding $2 bil­lion to the approx­i­mate­ly $50 bil­lion edu­ca­tion bud­get to address the state’s teacher short­age, raise fund­ing for spe­cial edu­ca­tion, and increase the num­ber of nurs­es and coun­selors in Wash­ing­ton State schools?


  • Sup­port: 63% 
    • Strong­ly sup­port: 44%
    • Some­what sup­port: 19%
  • Oppose: 30%
    • Some­what oppose: 13%
    • Strong­ly oppose: 17%
  • Not sure: 7%

Our sur­vey of 700 like­ly 2022 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 17th through Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 18th, 2022.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines (50%) and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respon­dents (50%).

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.7% at the 95% con­fi­dence interval.

More infor­ma­tion about the survey’s method­ol­o­gy is avail­able here.

Although the McCleary case is no longer active, our research has found that most vot­ers still feel that our schools are under­fund­ed — a ques­tion we have been peri­od­i­cal­ly ask­ing since 2015. When we asked vot­ers last spring if they agreed that schools were under­fund­ed and state rev­enue should be raised to ful­ly fund them, a major­i­ty said yes. And we asked that ques­tion after the Leg­is­la­ture had vot­ed to levy a new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy to fund pub­lic education.

The Leg­is­la­ture is to be com­mend­ed for hav­ing found the polit­i­cal will to levy our new cap­i­tal gains tax on the wealthy last ses­sion. It was a big and impor­tant step towards a more equi­table tax code and increased fund­ing for education.

But our work is not done. The pan­dem­ic has exac­er­bat­ed prob­lems that we were already fac­ing, like a short­age of teach­ers. It’s crit­i­cal that law­mak­ers step up now and address those prob­lems, along with final­ly pro­vid­ing the fund­ing that our schools need for spe­cial edu­ca­tion and addi­tion­al nurs­es and counselors.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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