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State school superintendent blasts education funding

Special to SEGAZINE

GEORGIA SCHOOL Superintendent John Barge may go down in flames by trying to unseat Gov. Nathan Deal, a fellow Republican, in this year’s elections.

But anyone who cares about the future of education in this state — a group that should include all Georgians — should pay attention to what Mr. Barge said in a blistering, open letter last week to Georgia lawmakers and the governor.

This gist is this: The way that Georgia has been funding its schools isn’t working.

Until it comes up with a better formula, Georgia is setting up future generations of young people for failure, especially in rural school districts with a limited school-tax base.

“We have all heard the cacophonous cries of some of our state lawmakers, complaining about the dire situation in our state budget and the demand that our schools do ‘more with less,’ ” the superintendent wrote. “In fact, we have been hearing this cry since 2003 when the State of Georgia began implementing austerity reductions to local school districts.

“Austerity reductions are the amount of money that school districts have earned though the state funding formula that the state withholds because of austere, or difficult, economic times. Let’s not fail to mention that the state funding formula for education was implemented almost 30 years ago and has NEVER been adjusted for inflation. In other words, we are not even funding education at the same rates we did nearly 30 years ago!”

savannahnow.com.

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