Gov. Deal has consistently cut public school funding by $1 billion or more per fiscal year. Since 2003, our state budgets have underfunded education by $7.6 billion.
Gov. Deal’s “fix” replaces only HALF of the deficit from only ONE year since he’s been in office. This is hardly the solution our schools desperately need.
Our public school system is sinking and Gov. Deal’s budget throws out a lifeboat with room for one–himself.
The funding cuts during his tenure have devastated schools, students and educators.
Over 70 percent of public schools cannot afford to stay open for the full 180-day school year, and more than 80 percent of districts are furloughing teachers this year. Class sizes have ballooned and school systems are growing increasingly desperate.
Providing $547 million to make up for billions in cuts is nothing more than putting a “Deal Real” campaign sticker on the hole of a sinking ship.
In hopes that teachers will forgive Gov. Deal for refusing to provide them with a single cost-of-living raise in any of his previous budgets, the governor appeared ready to give educators a 2-3 percent pay bump. However, Deal punted the decision to the local school districts, telling them that they can give teachers a raise–just as long as it comes out of their share of the $547 million.
How many school districts can afford to repair the damage that’s been done to their school system AND give teachers a raise? With teachers digging into their own pockets to buy classroom materials, it’s unlikely that Deal’s meager offering will amount to a significant raise for many teachers.
Gov. Deal’s election year ploy to try and win over the hearts and minds of parents and educators smacks of desperation.
Here are a few reminders of the turmoil our schools and teachers have been facing in recent years:
- FY 2014 budget shorts schools by over $1 billion (Source: GBPI)
- Over $7.6 billion in cuts since 2003 (Source: GBPI)
- 71% of Georgia public schools are not open for the requisite 180 days (Source: GBPI)
- 80% of districts are furloughing teachers this year; 17 districts for 10 or more days (Source: GBPI)
- 9,000 teaching jobs have been lost since 2008 (Jason Carter’s response)
- 95% of school districts have increased class size (Jason Carter’s response)
- Teachers haven’t received a cost-of-living pay increase in five years
- Fourth worst graduation rate in the United States (Source: U.S. Dept. of Ed)
Gov. Deal’s last-ditch effort at funding schools in an attempt to woo voters is shameful. $547 million doesn’t nearly go far enough to undo the damage that he has done, and we will not be fooled in November.
Learn more about the condition of Georgia education with these reports: