State funding for K-12 public education has been rising, but 70 percent of public school parents say it is “not enough” in our April PPIC Survey. Are California voters likely to heed these parents’ calls and support local ballot measures for school funding?

It doesn’t look likely. To begin with, likely voters are much less likely (54%) than public school parents to say that the state’s funding for their local schools is not enough. More important, in our recent poll likely voters and public school parents have starkly different views about specific ways to increase funding—local bonds and local parcel taxes—for their local public schools. Specifically:

The poll’s findings reflect the fact that California’s “exclusive electorate” controls the fate of ballot measures for local school funding. Today, many public school parents are nonvoters. And most likely voters are not public school parents. According to a PPIC report, likely voters are disproportionately white and tend to be homeowners, older, college graduates, and affluent.

Latinos, renters, and the younger, less educated, and less affluent are strong supporters of local bonds and local parcel taxes for local schools. They also favor lowering the vote threshold for passing local taxes. But these groups are outnumbered among those who cast ballots in elections.

It’s not impossible to pass local bonds and parcel taxes for school funding. reported last December that eight in 10 local bonds and 6 in 10 local parcel taxes for local public schools have passed since 2001. But funding advocates have to carefully pick and choose the timing and location of these local school funding measures in deference to the higher vote thresholds required and the propensities of California’s exclusive electorate. A PPIC study concludes that the overall fiscal impact of parcel taxes has been fairly limited statewide.

School funding proponents want a state bond measure on the November 2016 ballot. The presidential election will attract the largest and most diverse electorate. It would take a simple majority vote to pass a state school bond. Our poll finds that 55 percent of likely voters and 77 percent of public school parents would vote yes on a state bond for school construction projects.

Meanwhile, the governor has stated that local voters should be deciding if they want more local school funding and that state voters should not be asked to pass state school bonds. This idea of local control resonates with Californians, who generally distrust the decisions made in Sacramento. But as our survey suggests, likely voters are unwilling to lower the local two-thirds threshold for passing local parcel taxes, leaving it easier to pass school funding measures at the state level than at the local one.

In other words, the state is likely to continue to play an oversized role in local school funding—until the California electorate reflects the will of the people who are relying on local public schools to improve their children’s futures.