A poll released Tuesday by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber shows 72 percent of respondents rate the East Baton Rouge Parish School System as “not so good or bad” while 36 percent believe creating a new city called St. George is the only route to creating education alternatives.

The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent. The poll was conducted by Penn Schoen Berland, a national firm, Jan. 27-28, among 405 likely voters within the boundaries of the proposed St. George.

The poll shows that although voters do not have a high opinion of the school system, strong majorities apparently favor alternatives to incorporating a new city when it comes to education alternatives.

“It is clear that the main concern of residents of the proposed new city of St. George is the quality of the existing public education system. The desire of these residents is to fix the existing system by allowing for local control, and not by creating a new city,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “BRAC is working with elected officials and citizens to make the necessary changes to the EBRPSS to address these concerns while maintaining a unified school district.”

Some 52 percent of respondents believed that taking away the East Baton Rouge public school board’s ability to make decisions about how neighborhood schools are run was very or somewhat favorable.

And 56 percent of respondents believe taking control of the local public schools, but not creating a new city, is the most important issue currently for the southern portion of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Seventy-five percent of the respondents were white, 19 percent African American, and 6 percent were other. Forty-seven percent of respondents were male and 53 percent were female. Forty percent of respondents were age 18-49, 34 percent were age 50-64, and 25 percent were age 65 and over.