By a decisive margin, Alabama residents support new taxes to fund school reform, acording to recent poll conducted by an education organization.
The poll commissioned by A+, The Coalition for Better Education, found that 88% of participants back comprehensive revamping of the state's education system.
The survey also found that 70% of the respondents agreed to support a tax increase for financing the reforms.
"This poll makes it clear that the people of Alabama are ready for education reform and that reform is an issue that will help those politicians who join our team," said William E. Smith, chairman of the coalition, in a statement announcing the survey results.
The state has until Sept. 30, 1994 to satisfy a ruling by Montgomery Circuit Judge Gene Reese that it reform the state's public school system.
In April, Reese ruled that the state's public education system violates Alabama's constitution because it does not provide for adequate and equitably funded schools.
Gov. Jim Folsom considered calling a session this month on the matter, but decided not to do so. The issue will now be considered in the state's regular legislative session, which begins Jan. 11, 1994.
Some education officials estimate that reform will require a $1 billion a year in new spending.
A task force appointed by the governor urged a plan requiring $507 million in added state educational funding in the first year and, by the end of the 1990s, $942 million more annually.
The poll by A+ was based on telephone interviews between Nov. 17 and 20 with 600 voters likely to participate in the state's upcoming primary elections in June 1994. The pollster, Kitchens, Powell & Kitchens of Orlando, Fla., claimed a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.