No, Georgia schools don’t win under proposed funding formula. They’ll still be shortchanged.

A recent AJC news story proclaimed “School districts win under proposed Georgia funding overhaul.

The story reports:

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.

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.)

Atlantan Mitch White disagrees the new funding proposal represents a victory for Georgia schools. White is board chair of the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School and  a teacher and dean at the Weber School in Sandy Springs. Speaking as an individual rather than in either capacity, White writes: 

An alternative headline for this article might read, “School funding cuts would be permanently extended under proposed Georgia funding overhaul.”

According to the state constitution, Georgia students are entitled to an “adequate public education” funded by taxpayers. In 1985, the Georgia Legislature enacted the Quality Basic Education (Act to ensure the state was fulfilling its constitutional obligation to educate our students. Starting in 2003, well before the recession hit, the Legislature enacted “austerity cuts,” funding education at levels below the requirements contained in the QBE Act.

During the recession, the austerity cuts topped out at over $1 billion per year. Schools provided fewer instructional days, class sizes were increased, and learning suffered. This year, the austerity cuts call for schools to be underfunded per the QBE requirements by approximately $460 million.

Many of your readers may be thinking, “but the QBE hasn’t been fully funded since 2002, and it isn’t realistic to expect it to be fully funded now. We can’t afford to fund schools at the (statutorily required) QBE level.”

Looking at the historical record, however, shows that these cuts are driven at least in part by policy priorities, not dire economic circumstances. For almost 20 years, from 1985 through 2002, Georgia fully funded its K-12 schools regardless of the overall economic condition of the state.

Furthermore, there is not a clear historical correlation between the austerity cuts and Georgia general fund revenues. For example, state revenue was increasing by significant margins in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Meanwhile, the QBE shortfall grew in 2004 and 2005 and stayed flat in 2006. Underscoring the conclusion that our underfunding is a  policy decision not driven primarily by economics is the fact that Georgia is 37th in school funding per student relative to other states.

This background is necessary to understand why a reform proposal that would add $241 million to the existing budget is actually a step backwards for Georgia. Schools would be still be underfunded by $219 million per the current QBE formula. The reform proposal would institutionalize the austerity cuts and permanently call for lower funding than current law provides.

While the QBE formula is overly complicated and should be simplified, any reform proposal should start from the premise that we should “follow the law​” and fund schools at least on parity with the current QBE Act. Adequate school funding, while not a silver bullet, will improve educational outcomes for our students.

Improving education will help our economy, lower crime, and reduce the need for social programs. Citizens across the political spectrum should urge the reform commission and elected officials to “follow the law” w​hen considering reform proposals.

Reader Comments 0

82 comments
MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

There is much being written on this thread that reveals a covert political agenda regarding traditional public education, ironically from some who have never even worked in public education but who arrogantly write dogmatic opinions, nevertheless, based on their own political ideology, which is obvious and which has been grossly perceived in prejudicial cliches.  Time for a repeat of words I had written, earlier, on another "Get Schooled" thread.  Link follows.

----------------------------------------------------


I responded with the following comments, on November 3, 2015, to another poster’s comment on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, “Get Schooled.”  See below:

The Other poster: “Everything starts at home…”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My response: “Even if that is true, you have not solved the problem of why homes are so varied in quality in America.  One must ask harder questions regarding what the priorities of our nation have been for 45 years.  When one of  our own Congressmen in the House of Representatives from South Carolina will yell out during  President Obama’s State of the Union Address, ‘You lie!,’ and when the Republicans in the U.S. Congress have been recalcitrant at every possibility to President Obama, and when citizens call him anti-American and not born in the U.S.A., then I believe the adults of this nation, of all races, are out of control in respecting authority figures.  We are becoming an adolescent nation in terms of our national psyche and that has happened over decades in which the latest iteration of the American Dream has been ‘Every person for himself,’ and we are not our brothers’ keepers.

This is why I write that Americans need a transformation of the spirit more than they need to raise IQ levels.  The soul of America has become selfish and our young people do not respect that in adults, in their teachers, or in their parents.  We must demonstrate, not just with words, but with actions, that we care for one another, as we did in the early 1960s in America, and that we are all in this American experiment together.  Dividing will not conquer anything, in the long run. We must not point the finger at others, but work to heal old wounds.  When our young people see us do this again, respect will return to our young for adults and for themselves.”

http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/11/02/yes-teachers-get-harassed-and-bullied-by-students-here-are-videos-to-prove-it/

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@popcornular 

To Maureen Downey:  This is the 2nd derogatory gratuitous insult by "popcornular" toward me which I have reported since November 4, 2015. Please take notice.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@MaryElizabethSings @popcornular  "There is much being written on this thread that reveals a covert political agenda..." Would this be Bill and Hillary Clinton's vast right wing conspiracy? Methinks you doth protest too much.



MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@BurroughstonBroch 

Being the Southern conservative that you are, you would project that statement.  I stand by my views in order to educate the populace of Georgia into what is really behind the Republican political agenda in public education, today. The public should note the influential Republican leaders who have chosen to make statements on this thread, already.  That is fact.

dsw2contributor
dsw2contributor

Maureen, 


Have you seen the Milestone Assessment results that the GA DOE released Thursday?

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Its almost comical to watch the eduacracy try to complain about politicians, as if somehow that will "force" them to cough up billions of dollars beyond what we are already spending. 


The reality is, every time they read some whiny newspaper article, press release, or other, those same politicians begin to realize that the eduacracy (including teachers) will never be happy or satisfied, and will always whine.  


And teachers sadly appear to be to blinded (maybe by their eduacracy leaders) to realize that this will eventually lead to complete school choice.  Because the best way to get rid of a bunch of whiners and complainers, who aren't delivering quality product, is to enable their competition to silence them


But keep up the screaming and yelling.  I suspect it will work as well as the Dem strategy of yelling at white people has.....

JoeWisenbaker
JoeWisenbaker

@dcdcdc I'm working to arrange some folks to come and speak about education. And, hoping to get a variety of viewpoints represented. You seem to have a pretty distinctive voice in all of this. Would you be willing to be a speaker at one of our events? Just email me directly - wisenbaker at charter.net

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Quidocetdiscit @JoeWisenbaker @dcdcdc 

Dcdcdc is not an educator - neither a classroom teacher nor a "higher up" in the field. He is simply a citizen with opinions to which some of us, who have been professional educators for decades, give little credence.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@JoeWisenbaker @dcdcdc


I hope you are also making an effort to contact some "educators" with actual classroom experience to speak about the state of education. Those with "boots on the ground" as it were, are most in touch with the current state of education in our state and nation.  Higher ups can speak in generalities, but classroom teachers have relevant, real world experiences to share.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@MaryElizabethSings @Quidocetdiscit @JoeWisenbaker @dcdcdc  Hell hath no fury like a former educator whose opinion is passed over for another's. You have not been an educator in 1.5 decades and you have not shown any professionalism. Instead, you incessantly advocate for minimal teacher responsibility, collective bargaining for teacher's unions in Georgia, and every Democratic candidate for every office.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@BurroughstonBroch 

Please stop making untrue statements about me.

To correct your untruths, I will give correct statements below: 


(1)  The last time that I taught in Georgia's public schools was in the 2006 - 2007 school year, not a decade and a half ago.


(2) My mind does not run toward the petty.  I write to inform the public and to improve public education, not out of some childish jealousy.  All I can figure out from your assessment of my intent and that of Quid is that you are projecting your own emotions to us, erroneously.


(3) I have never in my life advocated for "minimum teacher responsibility."  In fact, in the course of my 35 years in public education, I gave the maximum, not minimum, effort to help students, parents, teachers, and administrators.  That is why I was nominated, from the countywide Department of Instruction, for, and won, an award as a "Teacher of the Year" from a major national/international corporation, two years before I retired. 

(4)  I have shown "professionalism" throughout my 35 year career in teaching and in instructional leadership.

Shame on you for trying to perpetuate lies.

JaneOnline
JaneOnline

Maureen, 

Thank you for continuing to stay on top of the anti-public school legislation coming from Governor Deal, the legislature and the Education Reform Committee. Many people are still not aware of the consequences of these actions and proposals. Please continue to report to help us save public schools and the teaching profession in GA. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

How much does it cost to increase discipline?

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@class80olddog But that doesn't get more funding for the adults.  And after all, our K-12 public school system is run for the benefit of the adults in the eduacracy.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Quidocetdiscit @dcdcdc @class80olddog 

You are right on the money (dual meaning), Quid.  I would also state that dcdcdc, imho, not only made a "pithy," unthinking statement, but he also, as usual, made a petty one that is way off the mark in being accurate. 


His attitude and that of other Americans is why I wrote that it is the spirit of Americans that needs expanding, more than that of their minds.  If Americans embraced more generosity of spirit, we would not make such small-minded, negative remarks, as dcdcdc has here made, indicting the whole institution of public education in a sweeping generality and incorrect statement, fueled by arrogance.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Quidocetdiscit 

I could not have explained the source of the discipline problems in schools better than you have here.
Well done.  Thank you.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@class80olddog Increasing discipline has costs, some  monetary if you start talking about losing funding tied to discipline referrals, alternative placements, In School Suspension classes, and counselors to actually address the reasons behind the discipline issues.  Other costs are of a more complex nature and can include principals being blackballed by higher up due to higher number of reported incidents, teachers being blackballed by administrators due to higher number of referrals, and unhappy parents making life difficult for school personnel when their children are caught up in the system.  Discipline certainly needs to be addressed, but as long as the top administration continues to try and sweep problems under the rug for fear of being punished (by loss of federal funding) for daring to try and tackle discipline issues, then things will not change.  The powers that be tie funding to how well schools are "reported" to be doing, then wonder why schools and districts are not totally forthcoming. 


Take for instance, recent findings that too many members of certain demographic groups are being disciplined over other groups - which may well be the case.  But in my experience, what follows is not any type of training on how to actual deal with the reasons behind those referrals - either in terms of teacher training or student and parent counseling - but rather a mandate from the administration telling teachers to simply stop referring said students for discipline issues.  This does absolutely NOTHING to address the underlying problem, and in fact tends to exacerbate it, but it does remove the "problem" from view - under the rug.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@dcdcdc @class80olddog


"And after all, our K-12 public school system is run for the benefit of the adults in the eduacracy."


What a pithy little comment - so easy to just toss out there -  kind of like a stealth grenade.  Do you ever pause to think about the damage such nonchalant negative comments do to the teaching profession as a whole?  There are thousands of teachers and administrators in this country who spend their lives sacrificing money,  time with their own families, and sometimes their very health doing everything they can for their students, and you just come along and accuse them all of being parasitic vampires with your sweeping generalizations.  


 If you want to find adults who are truly benefiting from k-12 education, then start looking at the big corporations behind many of the large-scale charter companies... look to the CEOs making hundreds of thousands  off our kids.  Look to the testing companies making billions and the consultants for the testing companies making millions.  Look to the Wall Street consulting firms making millions to "advice" public school systems.  Look at the corruption that followed the Educational Achievement Authority that was tasked with taking over failing schools in Detroit.  THOSE are the folks who are benefiting - not the classroom teacher pulling in $40,000 a year. If you want to toss accusations, at least be more specific about WHO compromises the "eduacracy" to which you are referring.



ATLnative72
ATLnative72

In 2002, teachers (with prodding by the AJC, upset about the Northern Arc despite the fact that he brought down the rebel state flag a year earlier) voted out Roy Barnes and got Sonny Perdue. How'd that work out?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@ATLnative72 

It shows you that teachers have political power in this state when they stick together.  It has gotten so bad for teachers that  working toward real teachers' unions in Georgia should be seriously considered.  First step, vote out of office state Republican politicians, and vote into power in this state, representatives of the NEW Democratic Party, the People's Party, in Georgia.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@class80olddog 

Majorities have a way of shifting populations when the needs of The People are not being addressed, adequately. 


Parents and teachers in Georgia want more control regarding discipline of students so that safety and learning are priorities in traditional public schools in Georgia, which are not based on profit and which are more cohesive and have more sustaining continuity than quickly opened and closed, fly-by-night (once profit is made) charter schools.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Good luck with that one! Vote D and higher taxes or vote R and get charter schools. See what the majority wants.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Traditional schools are not addressing discipline! That is one of the drivers of the charter movement.

popcornular
popcornular

@MaryElizabethSings @ATLnative72

Every teacher whine, such as yours, does nothing but cement the opposite opinion in people's minds. Legislators especially. All the babbling is counterproductive, but you gotta be smart to understand that.   

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To Maureen Downey:  This is the 3rd derogatory gratuitous insult by "popcornular" toward me which I have reported since November 4, 2015. Please take notice.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@popcornular


"All the babbling is counterproductive..."


Yeah. 


Heaven forbid a teacher advocate for his/herself and the teaching profession... 


How dare they raise their voices in position to mandates being handed down by those whose interests are mostly being driven by politics and profit.  


What nerve of them to think they should be entitled to an opinion and that their opinions should be relevant since they are the ones actually IN THE CLASSROOMS and fighting the good fight every day.


What whiners... 

What babblers...


If they would just shut their traps I am sure ALL the problems in education would just magically go away!

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Quidocetdiscit 

Part of the criticism of outspoken teachers, which you have addressed,  is based upon sexism.  Women, in this paternalistic state, especially, are not looked upon kindly when they speak up and speak out, even when society benefits from their voices.  Fear that women will be able to demonstrate their command of knowledge is motivating some of the criticism, which, of course, is a coward's response to any person - man or woman - regarding speaking his/her mind.  Each should reflect upon his/her own motivations for these criticisms of teachers.

AvgGeorgian
AvgGeorgian

@class80olddog The Rs have raised taxes and have a current scheme to raise more taxes. 


The current scheme is to lower income taxes and raise taxes on food, services and all other sales tax. This has the effect of giving a $20K tax cut to a $Million income earner that will be made up by the retired and low income Georgians.

class80olddog
class80olddog

As I have said a thousand times- where are you going to cut if you give schools more money? Or do you propose that we increase the State income tax?

class80olddog
class80olddog

What do you think the rest of Georgia will say?

PJ25
PJ25

@Cere @redweather @class80olddog The only people who care are those who think every extra penny should go to social programs.  Thankfully, most of the state could careless about either. 

redweather
redweather

@class80olddog Georgia's state income tax rates top out at a fairly modest 6%. I wouldn't mind paying more, just as long as taxes didn't go to fund silly stuff like Governor Purdue's Go Fish Education Center.

JK1957
JK1957

More money...less money...let's go back to the good old days when Zell Miller was Governor and Education was a priority???

Simple question: What was Georgia's rank nationally in Education back then and what is it now?

Cere
Cere

@JK1957 I am not sure about Georgia's ranking over the years, but let's just say, we've never really been at or near the top.  Our middle class is much too weak for that. And importantly, we don't have programs to address our issues with poverty statewide, which directly correlates to poor educational outcomes. 


The same is true for the U.S.  This country used to have a fantastic education system. Today, with our collapsing middle class and increasing numbers of those living below the poverty line, the entire education system is suffering. Of course, the wealthy do not suffer at all. Private schools are booming.


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-slips-in-rankings/

Gary
Gary

I live in Lumpkin and as usual some schools get the shaft. I think all schools should get the same per student. Come on legislature be fair to all schools. Our kids deserve it as much as the rest.

class80olddog
class80olddog

The schools in Atlanta and Dekalb think their kids need a lot more money. By hey spend a lot more and you see the results. It ain't about the money!

Zzyzxman123
Zzyzxman123

Why are our elected officials so dead against funding our schools with the money they need?? I am so damn sick and tired of these politicians using our educational system as a pawn for their own spending habits. This is ridiculous and i think we need to fire every legislator, including our wonderful Governor(sense my sarcasm??? I CANNOT WAIT until Governor Deal is out. He has absolutely no business running this state. He's corrupt, and some day he will be found out!

Cere
Cere

@Zzyzxman123 In reality, the state can't fund it because they don't actually have the money.  The QBE formula was created to get an idea of how much is needed. But then, when taxes are collected, they have to be divided among all the state's programs - and education is by far the biggest part of the state budget (is it 60%?) -- So, in order to fully fund the formula, the Gov will need to either raise taxes or cut other programs. 


And, btw, in DeKalb at least, every time some extra money is floated (RTTT, etc), it is spent to expand the administration - DeKalb still continues to ask for class size waivers, etc., resulting in a wild imbalance in class sizes - with as many as 35 in traditional schools and as few as 18 in schools like the DeKalb School of the Arts.

class80olddog
class80olddog

You do realize that education spends FOUR TIMES what they spent in the sixties, right?