Two-thirds of Idahoans believe the 6.6 percent increase in public school funding for the new school year – now just weeks away – will make for a better education for students, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

Still, there are a lot of naysayers about the increased school funding – those who don’t believe the extra money will result in a better educated and successful student body, finds pollster Dan Jones & Associates.

In his new survey, Jones finds:

  • 68 percent say the 6.6 percent funding increase approved by the recent Legislature will result in a better education for Idaho students.
  • But 29 percent say it won’t.
  • 2 percent don’t know.

You can read about Idaho school strong points and shortcomings here.

Republicans dominate the state Legislature, and Gov. Butch Otter is also a Republican. So any school funding bills have to be approved by that majority party.

Idaho, because of a booming economy and new tax revenue, has increased school funding dramatically over the last few years – the increases in excess of 6 percentage points per year.

Idaho Democrats overwhelmingly believe the new school money will be well used, and students will get a better education:

  • 84 percent of Democrats say the 6.6 percent increase will be good for students.
  • 15 percent doubt the extra funds will be well used with students benefiting, and 2 percent don’t know.

Republicans, political independents and those belonging to some other political party are more skeptical:

  • 67 percent of Republicans say the money will result in a better education.
  • 31 percent – nearly a third – say no, the money won’t result in better-educated kids, and 2 percent don’t know.
  • 64 percent of political independents say the money is good for kids, 35 percent say it won’t improve education, and 2 percent don’t know.
  • 64 percent of those belonging to a minor political party say the money will be well spent and kids become smarter, but 36 percent say there will be no benefit from the extra funds.

Finally, those who self-classified themselves as “very conservative” politically are even less sure about results from the extra money.

  • 54 percent of the “very conservative” say the extra funds will mean better-educated children.
  • But 46 percent say the new money will basically be wasted, and 1 percent don’t know.

Jones polled 601 adults from July 5-16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.