Poll: 65 percent of Rhode Islanders approve Raimondo's $250M bond to fix schools

A poll released by the Hassenfeld Institute at Bryant University reveals 65 percent of people surveyed said they favored the $250 million bond being proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo to fix Rhode Island school buildings. (WJAR)

A poll released by the Hassenfeld Institute at Bryant University reveals 65 percent of people surveyed said they favored the $250 million bond being proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo to fix Rhode Island school buildings.

Several parents of school children NBC 10 News spoke with agreed with the results.

"I think they should make it more safe for the children, yes put more money and invest,” said Jasmine Manzano, a Woonsocket parent.

"That's a good idea, because if we don't have good schools, kids don't have safety, security," said Adama Toure, a Providence parent.

In fact, the condition of school facilities garnered the highest percentage of respondents calling it a “great” problem, at 40 percent.

"I'm all for it frankly, I think our tax dollars should go toward healthcare, education," said Stephen Jenckes of Exeter, who supports the bond initiative even though he no longer has school age children.

But one local business owner who does not have children has a different perspective.

"I think it's great to improve schools, however if we don't fix everything else business-wise, I'm a small business owner, no one's going to come here to bring their kids to school anyway," said Denise Rachiele, who also added, “everybody's going to move away anyway, because there's no jobs, no businesses. There's empty buildings everywhere."

Gary Sasse of the Hassenfeld Institute said while he believes the school building bond will pass, voters will also need to look at the total amount of borrowing that ends up on the ballot.

"Investing in education is good. There are a lot of other things we invest in that are not as good, but you have to look at the state's ability to fund debt," said Sasse.

The poll also asked people to grade Rhode Island schools overall.

While 33 percent in the survey gave the public school system an A or B, 35 percent gave a grade of C.

The percentage of A or B grades jumped to 60 percent among people with children currently enrolled in school.

In light of that statistic, Sasse said he was surprised about two other aspects of the poll.

"About half the people felt their kids were being prepared to succeed in college so half felt not so, and only 40 percent felt they were being prepared for good paying jobs so there's a little disconnect with the high grades our schools received and that finding," said Sasse.

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