ATLANTA - Georgia voters still strongly support public charter schools eight years after ratifying a constitutional amendment letting the state create charter schools, according to a new poll.
The statewide survey of 640 likely Georgia voters commissioned by the Georgia Charter Schools Association found 67% expressed a favorable opinion of public charter schools. The poll was conducted Aug. 22 through Aug. 24 by Cygnal, a Virginia-based polling firm that works with center-right political and advocacy organizations.
The poll found support for public charter schools across the demographic and political spectrum, from Asian, Latino, Black and white voters, and among Republicans, Democrats and independents.
“These findings support what we have long known to be true in Georgia,” said Tony Roberts, president and CEO of the Georgia Charter Schools Association. “Families in our state continue to believe that public charter schools put the needs of students first and positively contribute to Georgia’s overall public school system.”
In a nod to the COVID-19 era, the poll also found 52% of Georgia voters said they would be less likely to support a state legislator who votes to continue funding school districts at the same level if they’re not offering full-time in-person learning.
Also, 56% of voters surveyed supported the state fully funding the charter school grants it has already created.
Among parents interviewed, 52% said they want more free public-school options.
A higher percentage of voters polled - 64% - said taxpayer dollars should follow the student and do not belong solely to a school district.
Georgia voters ratified a constitutional amendment in 2012 allowing the state to create charter schools upon the request of local communities, despite objections from minority Democrats in the General Assembly earlier that year that charter schools take away funding from regular public schools.
The amendment carried at the polls by a 59% to 41% margin.
The poll’s margin of error was plus-or-minus 3.87%.