GA-Valuable Progress, More Work Ahead for Public School Funding

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GA-Valuable Progress, More Work Ahead for Public School Funding

Georgia lawmakers reached a critical milestone during the 2018 legislative session: They ended 16 years of shortchanging the state’s formula for funding K-12 schools. The General Assembly added $167 million to the 2019 state budget to send school districts across Georgia the full amount promised under the formula for the first time since 2002. It puts a stop to funding cuts that soared to $1 billion each year from 2010 to 2014. It helps ensure all students will get more of the resources they need to succeed in school. Schools still face financial challenges that make meeting students’ needs difficult, such as:

  • Reduced state funding for student transportation over time, despite a modest boost this legislative session; this trend pushes school districts to shift local money from classroom instruction to busing
  • State funding that fails to keep pace with inflation

. . . Legislators can build on successfully filling the 16-year-old budget hole and tackle the flaws in the funding formula. They should conduct a comprehensive assessment of the cost of educating all of Georgia’s students to the state’s current academic performance goals. This assessment will serve as the foundation for a new formula that identifies how much money is needed to support student success in the skill-driven 21st century economy and supply Georgia with the workforce it needs to thrive.


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