Breaking news: School districts win under proposed Georgia funding overhaul

Folks,

This is breaking news out of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission meeting by AJC reporter Ty Tagami:

By Ty Tagami, ajc.com staff writer

The state budget for education would rise by a quarter billion dollars under a proposal floated Wednesday by education reformers working for Gov. Nathan Deal.

The funding subcommittee of Deal’s Education Reform Commission was tasked with streamlining the way some $8 billion is divided among Georgia’s 180 school districts and the nearly two dozen charter schools that operate under contract with the State Charter Schools Commission.

A panel appointed by Gov. Deal is looking at teacher pay.

A panel appointed by Gov. Deal is looking at school funding.

All but nine school districts come out ahead under the proposal. (They are Gainesville City, and Floyd, Burke, Coffee, Crisp, Lumpkin, Tattnall, Worth and Haralson counties.)

See how your system would fare.

The current formula, known as QBE (it stands for Quality Basic Education), was established in 1985 and has been criticized as too complicated and outdated. Deal wanted a simpler formula that gives schools more flexibility with how they spend the money.

The new proposal would add $241 million to the state education budget, increasing the total to $8.46 billion. Georgia has been under funding the current formula for more than a decade, with current year spending at least half a billion less than the formula requires.

The existing and proposed formulas share some similarities. Each would pass money to schools based on the composition of their enrollment, but the new model gives schools the money with fewer strings attached. Under the current formula, for instance, schools are reimbursed for the cost of each teacher based on where that teacher falls on the state salary schedule, which considers years of experience and educational degrees earned.

Under the proposed formula, schools, with some exceptions due to grandfathering under the salary schedule, would get a bulk amount based on the average teacher pay in the state, and allocate it to teachers as they see fit.

There are other differences. For instance, under the current formula, high school students are worth less than younger students, while the proposed formula rates older students as more costly to educate and has schools earning the least for students in grades four through eight. The existing formula has 18 categories. The new formula has 12, including a new category for “economically disadvantaged” students, giving districts more money for each student from a low-income household.

The mix of these “weights” will produce a different outcome for the same student under the existing and proposed formulas. What ultimately matters is the bottom line for each school district. Most will come out ahead if Deal agrees to spend the extra quarter billion dollars. Here is roughly how much more money metro Atlanta districts would get under the proposal.

Atlanta Public Schools: $3.2 million

City Schools of Decatur: $653,000

Clayton County School District: $9.6 million

Cobb County School District: $6.7 million

DeKalb County School District: $10.9 million

Fulton County School System: $11.9 million

Gwinnett County Public Schools: $27.5 million

Marietta City Schools: $832,000

The funding committee has scheduled one more meeting, on Nov. 12, before it presents its recommendation to the full Education Reform Commission on Nov. 19. The full commission will meet again in December before presenting its findings to Deal. The governor will then decide whether to craft legislation from the recommendations and present it to the General Assembly.

Lawmakers would then get involved and decide whether they think the proposed changes improve education.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

37 comments
AJCkrtk
AJCkrtk

What this version of Ty Tagami's story doesn't cover, but the later version (that made the print edition of the paper) explains is that while the new formula proposes to increase funding to many districts, it also drastically increases the expenses those districts must cover.  After years of austerity cuts, last year's education budget was still $466 million underfunded according to the QBE formula.  QBE funding did not cover transportation funding which was paid to the local districts by the states out of another fund.  The new education formula would place the burden of transportation funding entirely on the local districts.  That increases the amount of under funding to $660 million.  In other words, the "boondoggle" for local districts is not an increase in funding of $250 million, but actually about $50 million.  It is not an increase in funding if you simultaneously increase costs.  See http://gbpi.org/school-districts-get-growing-tab-for-student-transportation

BeenThere
BeenThere

Why is the state trying to fix a salary schedule that works when it is funded properly?  We are going to end up with teachers leaving the state.  Why shouldn't teachers be compensated for higher degrees?  This state is making teachers into second class citizens.


EdJohnson
EdJohnson

Proposed Average Percent Change (APC) is 4.99, with 58 districts above and 137 below.

Proposed Median Percent Change (MPC) is 3.14, with 97 districts above and 97 below, naturally.

Gwinnett marks MPC, exactly at 3.14:

              $904,282,150 up from $876,755,004, or $27,527,146 more.

2.89 overall percent change:

                $8,455,406,304 up from $8,218,079,435, or $237,326,869 more.

4.52 overall percent change for 97 districts above MPC:

                $3.155B up from $3.018B, or $136.4M more.

1.70 overall percent change for 97 districts below MPC:

                $4.395B up from $4.322B, or $73.4M more.

4.41 overall percent change for 86 traditional districts above MPC:

                $3.088B up from $2.958B, or $130.5M more.

1.82 overall percent change for 95 traditional districts below MPC:

                $4.302B up from $4.225B, or $76.7M more.

9.73 overall percent change for 11 charters/academies above MPC:

                $0.066B up from $0.060B, or $5.9M more.

-3.42 overall percent change for 2 charters/academies below MPC:

                $0.093B down from $0.096B, or -$3.3M less.

18.36 overall percent change for 15 higher than ordinary* district percent changes:

                $0.063B up from $0.053B, or $9.8M more.

  2.79 overall percent change for 180 ordinary** district percent changes:

                $8.392B up from $8.164B, or $227.5M more.

_______________

*Determined to be a proposed MPC greater than 12.62.

** Determined to be a proposed MPC between -6.34 and 12.62.

mensa_dropout
mensa_dropout

So what's to keep a school from inviting parents to apply for Free and Reduced lunch?  No one checks that.  In fact, I know of a now retired principal who would invite moms who were newly separated and/or divorced to apply "just in case"

I shall also add in that just because a child is poor does not mean s/he is stupid. 

jerryeads
jerryeads

This is PROPOSED. If anything might have a remote chance of doing good, it's not likely it'll happen. The people we have been electing to state government positions by and large HATE public education and, by association, hate kids - or at least those of parents who aren't the rich ones sending theirs to private schools. If you are a parent who can't or chooses not to send your kid(s) to a worthwhile private (e.g., $15+k per kid), or actually cares about kids and the future of the country and not just your profit for the next quarter, your choice is to vote for people who care like you do. With a bit of luck, a few of them won't get corrupted and we'll start pulling ourselves out of the hole we've been digging the last fifty years.

Astropig
Astropig

@jerryeads


So, are you one of those parents, Jerry, that sends their kid(s) to private school?

Blake S
Blake S

Breaking News:  Schools DO NOT WIN under this formula.  This is the type of political spin that keeps every day citizens in the state oblivious to the pressure school systems are being put under.  School systems are getting $241 million more under the new formula when we were getting shorted $400 million under the old formula.  This funding formula moves total funding earned DOWN.

concernedoldtimer
concernedoldtimer

Clayton county...much smaller than Cobb, is getting a good bit more money.

newsphile
newsphile

Cherokee Charter Academy was paid for a lot of students they didn't have this year, but I see they are getting an additional $800,000 plus for next year.  Their cost was about $2,000 more per student than the local school district's, as I recall.  Enrollment is dropping, but their getting more dollars. 

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

so how do they magically come up with the additional 240+million in funding?  Its not like its just laying around.


Or is this another "wishlist" boondoggle, that will crash and burn when the "who is going to pay for it" question gets asked?

gapeach101
gapeach101

"The new proposal would add $241 million to the state education budget, increasing the total to $8.46 billion. Georgia has been under funding the current formula for more than a decade, with current year spending at least half a billion less than the formula requires."

So, the State figured out a way to spend a quarter of a billion dollars less than what was previously deemed necessary. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@gapeach101


Yes, the state sent less money to the local districts who then had to try and make up the difference through cutting school days, teaching positions, supply budgets, counselors, school nurses, building maintenance, etc, etc. etc.

Astropig
Astropig

@Quidocetdiscit @gapeach101


"Yes, the state sent less money to the local districts who then had to try and make up the difference through cutting school days, teaching positions, supply budgets, counselors, school nurses, building maintenance, etc, etc. etc."


Sure-There was a recession. Less economic activity means that there is less tax revenue flowing into the state treasury.Couple that with an increased demand for government support due to the recession I just mentioned and that means what we called in my youth"hard times".The education establishment shouldn't be immune to doing with less when hard times hit the state and national economy.It happens. It will happen again.Now the state is trying to put more money back into education because the revenues are finally rebounding a bit and all I have read in this space is negativity toward their efforts.

aintnosheeple
aintnosheeple

So EIP/REP students that need additional support will no longer receive services-  It will go to ESOL and Economically Disadvantaged students instead?  

Point
Point

Which 9 systems get less?

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Point  Gainesville City, and Floyd, Burke, Coffee, Crisp, Lumpkin, Tattnall, Worth and Haralson counties.

redweather
redweather

Why will Gwinnett receive a windfall? 

GaLatino
GaLatino

@redweather Maybe because they have the most students?  Gwinnett is by far the largest school district in Georgia, with 51% more students than the next largest, Cobb.

bu2
bu2

Do people in Gwinnett have photos?


They were already the best funded under the anti-Robin Hood.  Take from the so-called wealthy (like DeKalb) and give to Gwinnett and a handful of poor rural districts.

GaLatino
GaLatino

@bu2 umm.... Gwinnett was the fastest growing county in the state for nearly 20 years.  DeKalb is getting more under this plan too, although not as much as Gwinnett, but that is due to the fact that Gwinnett has 55% more students and doesn't have city systems like Decatur siphoning tax revenue and enrolled students.


Wascatlady
Wascatlady

So teacher salaries would likely go down.


And what systems would be the losers?

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@Wascatlady At one of the meetings I attended, that issue was discussed. And some teacher salaries could go down and others could go up. The state wants to give districts discretion in setting teacher pay. There was talk of grandfathering teachers who came aboard under current teacher pay models, but not sure where that stands at this point. I did add the nine systems that would lose under the plan.

KuRiSu1971
KuRiSu1971

@MaureenDowney @Wascatlady Given a presentation two weeks ago. Pay for performance starts in Gwinnett 2017-18 year. No #'s yet Findings will be shared with teachers spring 2016

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MaureenDowney @Wascatlady "Give districts discretion"=reward the favorites, coaches, and wives of special people.  Or lower teacher pay and use the remainder for "other personnel?" (i.e. C O staff, other "supervisory/non-teaching staff)?

Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady


"So teacher salaries would likely go down."


The proposed formula gives the counties the flexibility to pay teachers more. How did you pull "teachers salaries would likely go down" out of that?


Astropig
Astropig

@Wascatlady @MaureenDowney


"Give districts discretion"=reward the favorites, coaches, and wives of special people. "


Don't know why you're complainin' . You demand all the time that we pour more money into that system.

newsphile
newsphile

What is the "grandfathering under the salary schedule"?  This sounds like opportunity for political payoffs.  Let's do the right thing and omit the political loopholes in the funding formula. 

Christie_S
Christie_S

@newsphile Grandfathering under the old salary schedule means that teachers currently employed have the choice to stick with the pay schedule they're already on or voluntarily join the new system that will begin whenever it's approved.  They will not be unilaterally moved from the old system to the new.