January 19, 2006

Georgia School Superintendents Association Critiques Governor's Budget

Simply because I can't get Governor Perdue's ridiculous proposal of giving $100 Gift Cards to Georgia teachers out of my head (see January 17 post), I wanted to share this report from the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA).

They divide the Governor's proposals into a couple different categories including the "good, not-so-good, and the ugly."

Here's what they have to say about the "not-so-good" idea of gift cards:
The more appropriate (but less politically efficacious) solution would be to fund an appropriate amount for classroom supplies in the QBE [Quality Basic Education]formula, thereby making it possible for all teachers to be provided what they need without having to go shopping for it.

I say, "Right on GSSA!" The state simply hasn't sufficiently funded school supply budgets. The report says:

Only once since 1991 has there ever been an increase in the amount earned for materials and supplies used in the classroom.

Perhaps this "Election year gimmickry" will shed some light on the real issues facing education quality in Georgia.

Interestingly, the GSSA says "the ugly" from the Governor's proposals is the so called "65% solution." (Also mentioned in the January 17 post). The GSSA points out that this proposal attempts to lump all school districts together and force them into a "one size fits all" equation even though schools face diverse challenges, students, and even geography.

Here's a good example that is alluded to in their report, urban and rural schools have different needs. A rural school may need to employ bus drivers, while the urban school has no such need. In the "65% solution" world costs outside of the classroom, like transportation expenses, account for only 35% of a school's budget. The rural school district may not be able to meet the demands of a 65% in classroom expense budget. It's seems quite clear that this proposal would actually create more chaos and do more harm than good.


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