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State role in school funding
School notes
Jason Rogers
Jason Rogers
Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Act was signed into law in 1985 by then Gov. Joe Frank Harris. This act established the procedures that are used in calculating state reimbursements to local school districts.
Because the formula does not account for inflation, large deficits exist between the actual expenditures of required programs and the receipt of state funds. While the state has partially provided for such mandated increases as teacher salaries, reimbursement rates for items such as textbooks and supplies have not increased with inflation. Districts are still being reimbursed at 1985 prices. Rising costs of texts and supplies thus has shifted to the local taxpayer.
An analysis of reimbursements compared to inflationary costs reveals that since 2002 more than $4 million of costs have been shifted from the state to the local taxpayer. In addition this does not take into account the austerity reductions levied on the district that account for more than $10 million in lost revenue.
The argument will be made that the state has in fact increased its spending in the K-12 public education arena. However, it should be noted that the majority of this increase is attributable to student growth, increased teacher salaries, and capital outlay.
Announcements of recent budget cuts only continue to give a negative outlook with regards to the state’s commitment to fully fund the education of Georgia’s students. Proposed reductions have been earmarked for programs such as transportation and equalization. Liberty County students can expect to see a reduction in approximately $2 million of state revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

School notes is written by different employees of the Liberty County school system and appears on an education page in each Friday’s Coastal Courier. It is the opinion of the writer.
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