2018 is a great year for education in Georgia. For the first time in 16 years, the State of Georgia led by Gov. Deal and the legislator fully funded public schools. Already school districts have been able to hire additional safety resource officers (10 in Gwinnett and Dekalb), give staff and teacher cost of living adjustments, and put in place better educational support for students.
In the 15 years that schools were underfunded austerity cuts led to local school districts enacting furlough days, eliminating teaching positions, and cutting arts programs. Over 95% of school districts have increased class size. 38% have cut back on programs for struggling students (1).
Teacher salaries have also decreased by 8.7% (2) when adjusting for inflation in the past 15 years, in part because of the lack of fully funding. In total, over 9.2 billion dollars was not sent to local school districts.
By continuing full funding, districts can begin to raise teacher salaries, provide necessary supplies, restore eliminated teaching positions and arts programs.
We are seeking pledges from the Gubernatorial and legislative candidates that they will fully fund Georgia's public schools for the next four years.
The amount of money the state of Georgia has provided to school districts to help cover the costs of educational transportation has shrunk from 54% in 1991 to 15% in 2017. (3). With 50% funding, buses will be safer, personnel will be better compensated, and money can be reverted back into classrooms for improved educational outcomes for students.
The Quality Basic Education Act was signed into law in 1985 to better accommodate for the wide ranging needs of Georgia’s students (4). This formula---though initially successful---is badly in need of updating for changes in technology, student expectations, and inflation. Gov. Nathan Deal made it a major plank in his platform, however, was unable to complete this task during his governorship (5).With an updated formula, school districts will be able to better serve students and increase educational outcomes.