By Mike Klein
Many Georgia kids will spend more time in public school classrooms next year which shows what a difference $500 million can make when you spread it around.
Governor Nathan Deal was clearly pleased about the prospect of fewer furlough days and more school days when he spoke to a sizable Minority Business RoundTable meeting Thursday afternoon in Cobb County.
Deal said “almost all” public school systems “have gone back and revisited school calendars that they already set for next year and in doing so most of them are able to remove the furlough days. They’re able to go back to 180 days of education and in some of the systems they have enough money left over that they are, in fact, giving some teachers some deserved pay raises.”
“We don’t have official data from school districts yet (that will come over the summer, most likely) but we are definitely hearing that many districts will be doing those things,” Department of Education chief spokesman Matt Cardoza wrote in an e-mail to the Foundation. “We have also seen media reports throughout the state that point to that happening.”
For example, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article republished by Georgia SchoolWatch said the Cobb County school system proposed budget for next year would end furlough days because of $35 million in additional state funds and a $20 million bump in local property tax revenues.
Deal’s FY 2015 budget was able to increase the education funding in part because state income is up $705 million through nine months of the current fiscal year.
The Washington-based Minority Business RoundTable chose Georgia to kick off a 13-state tour to celebrate job creators. Several dozen men and women job creators were in the room Thursday at the Georgian Club. SBA Regional Administrator Cassius Butts said small business owners in nine southeast states have received $12 billion in SBA federal loans in the past three years.
The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is our state’s leading organization promoting government transparency. The Secretary of State’s office shares the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars, which is why our agency was the first in Georgia to publish its budget and spending data on a public transparency website.