Read it and weep: New report on state’s proposed education budget

The Georgia Budget & Policy Institute just released four reports on the implications of the Perdue budget in various key areas, including education.

I know that some of you dismiss the institute as liberal, but I have never found it to fudge the numbers. (What folks may disagree with are the institute’s recommendations about how to deal with this economic crisis, which include raising taxes.)

Check out the report, but here are some excerpts:

The governor proposes spending $6.96 billion in state funds and $343 million in federal Recovery Act stabilization funds to educate 1.6 million K-12 students in FY 2011. This equals a 10.9 percent cut from the original FY 2009 budget, which itself included austerity cuts to the education funding formula.

The majority of the cut can be found in the state’s funding formula — Quality Basic Education (QBE). The governor’s proposed budget adjusts the QBE base to reflect the amended FY 2010 budget by adding $121 million to account for the 0.67 percent enrollment growth in FY 2010. Beyond that adjust, however, the proposed budget cuts QBE by $527 million, on top of existing QBE cuts carried forward from prior years. In total, school systems will receive $839 million less than the QBE formula directs, even after offsets from federal Recovery Act funds

The budget does not reflect any K-12 enrollment growth for FY 2011 and does not include salary increases. Enrollment growth has slowed in recent years; yet even 0.67 percent growth requires more than $100 million. If enrollment growth occurs in FY 2011, it will need a mid-year adjustment using reserve funds.

The proposed budget cuts equalization grants, which provide funds for low-property wealth districts to increase equity across school districts, by more than $200 million.

The budget eliminates state support from several programs, including: Regional Education Service Agencies ($12.1 million), which provide curriculum consultation, professional development, technology training, and other services; National Board Certification ($7.2 million), which provides a salary increase for teachers who are board certified; Education Technology Centers ($3.6 million); National Science Center and Foundation ($500,000), which offers programming to encourage student interest in math and science; and, Salary supplements for cafeteria managers.

Additional programs are reduced, including state schools for the hearing- and visually-impaired, school nurses, agricultural education, the pre-school handicapped program, and services for students with autism or severe emotional behavior problems, among others.

Amended FY 2010 Budget Proposal
The Amended FY 2010 budget includes an additional three furlough days for teachers (for a total of six) and an additional $479 million cut to QBE, among other cuts. Even using federal Recovery Act funds, school systems will receive $710 million less in QBE funds than the formula directs for FY 2010.7 The budget cuts equalization grants by an additional $17 million.
Board of Regents (University System)

The budget proposes spending $1.9 billion in state funds and $140 million in federal Recovery Act stabilization funds on the state’s 35 colleges and universities in FY 2011. This is a $136 million cut in state general funds, and a total cut of $94 million after the addition of federal recovery funds, even as student enrollment continues to grow.

Similar to K-12 education funding, the majority of these funds are formula-driven. The Teaching formula includes $113 million for enrollment growth and increases for maintenance and operations. Federal recovery funds are increased, also, with $47 million in additional funds. These additions are offset, however, by a $224 million cut to the Teaching formula.

Across programs, the proposed budget reduces salaries and operating expenses, such as public libraries, agricultural experiment station, cooperative extension services, and public service initiatives, among others. It eliminates funding for several programs entirely, including the Seed Capital Fund, Food Industry Partnership program, Traditional Industries program, Vaccine Collaboration Grants, and Bio-Refinery program, among others.

Proposed state allocations per FTE will be lower in FY 2011 than at the start of the decade. Since FY 2009, 42,000 additional students have enrolled in the University System, yet the proposed state spending will be 9.3 percent below FY 2009 levels (even after the addition of federal Recovery Act funds). Without Recovery Act funds, state spending would decline by 15.4 percent in FY 2011 compared to the original FY 2009 budget.

38 comments Add your comment


January 25th, 2010
1:42 pm

Many folks will loose their jobs and students will suffer. It is sad.


January 25th, 2010
1:44 pm

Yes, I know of five counties who are implementing RIF (reduction in force). There is no ther way counties are going to make it. Thanks a lot–to the GOLD DOME for implementing tax cuts and credits to create jobs–How is that working?


January 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

Is there any lawmakers listening? Anyone at the GOLD DOME? Do they even care about the Counties? HELLO?


January 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

FAIR TAX, FAIR TAX, FAIR TAX…there you go government! We are facing a loss of state revenue but people have managed to spend over 1 billion dollars to go see AVATAR!


January 25th, 2010
2:10 pm

You’d think that raising the cigarette tax so we weren’t in the bottom 5 of the country would excite a few people interested in protecting even a bit of education funding.

Joy in Teaching

January 25th, 2010
2:14 pm

Wow. Just…wow.

I wonder how much of a cut Go Fish had to take?


January 25th, 2010
2:20 pm

It’s crunch time and time to prioritize. If legislators really support education, it’s time to put up or shut up. Start to cut elsewhere and/or reallocate. It also means that school systems need to get even more creative. We can do this though!

Northview (Ex)Teacher

January 25th, 2010
2:52 pm

The good news is, we have enough money to pay a football coach at UGA $750K.


January 25th, 2010
2:58 pm


Nah…WE can’t. I have given my husband an ultimatum: 5 years and/or an administrative position OR go back to law enforcement or the military. The pay cuts, the lack of supplies, the non-existent administrative support.

Asking teachers to continually do more with less is unrealistic and exhausting. It kills an already dead morale and keeps the horrible teachers in positions they hate (which of course is a detriment to students).


January 25th, 2010
3:18 pm

Tonya, so you are telling your husband to go from one money lacking gov. job to another?


January 25th, 2010
3:46 pm

It is past time to get our heads out of the sand and call our representatives. Hold them accountable.

#1 Football Fan

January 25th, 2010
3:48 pm

@Northview (Ex)Teacher

You are really sounding like a one note susie. Do you have anything at all to add to this or are you just slamming football coaches again? So sorry that you couldn’t hack it in the classroom.

Mike Gomez

January 25th, 2010
4:54 pm

The problem is that the gov.’s priorities are goofed up, they would rather spend money on keeping people locked up for life or blowing up other countries that don’t share our beliefs. These cuts are being made at the expense of our kids’ education and since the politicians’ children don’t attend public schools they don’t care about how much money schools need to operate adequately or how many students are crammed in a classroom. Schools have been dependent on for too long and the perfect opportunity has risen to help with funding school in the form of an online auctions website, This website will donate money to any K-12 school in the country and there is no need for our kids to go door-to-door selling overpriced cookie dough or candles.

Has been CTAE teacher

January 25th, 2010
6:48 pm

The horse is dead and now we can’t buy new saddles. Whip the horse and the riders that will fix it!

@ #1 Football Fan

January 25th, 2010
7:15 pm

I think you are wasting your time – some people just don’t understand that the money comes from a completely different pot. Furthermore, these coaches don’t have the tenure (or something like fair dismissal). If your team doesn’t win, they lose the job. This is very unlike teaching profession – they come up with excuses after excuses why it’s not teachers’ fault.

Veteran teacher, 2

January 25th, 2010
7:54 pm

The governor and legislature could have probably survived the downturn if they had not already gutted state schools with “austerity” cuts for the past five years. Where did all that money that they cut go? Why are we not holding them accountable for their actions? If there is one bit of pork, a fish camp, a museum in Houston County, no cuts of boards or agencies added in the last five years, we need to vote them all out. Perdue is not up for re-election. Every other legislator is!! No more. Contact them and let them know that we are all watching, whether state employee, quasi state employee (aka teacher), or concerned citizen. Tell them that they are watching and we WILL remember on November 2, 2010. My sense is that at least some of the legislators are beginning to get nervous. People are networking as never before. What happened in MA can happen in Georgia, too.

jim d

January 25th, 2010
8:27 pm

Well we could always come up with another profitable sin tax by leagalizing and taxing pot

Glad my kids have graduated

January 25th, 2010
8:27 pm

Educating our children is an investment in our future. Children will be sitting in larger classes next year. That means less individual attention. It might mean the difference between passing or failing a class. I can guarantee that paying for private tutoring will be more expensive than paying a tax increase of one or two mills for education. I’ve been there. Believe me the extra $150-$200 a year is worth it. We are talking about less than $17 a month for most homeowners. How much do you spend on fancy coffee or fast food for a family of four? Every time a student fails a grade, taxpayers pay for an additional year of schooling for that child.


January 25th, 2010
8:41 pm

And now our legislators are planning to reduce revenues by cutting taxes? We need to be sure they all know that we aren’t going to blame Sonny for what they approve.

bootney farnsworth

January 25th, 2010
8:57 pm

the solution is actually simple, but will never happen.

stop spending money on stupid things like CRCT, MLK celebrations,
and various non-essential/non-educational/non-productive pet
political projects.

bootney farnsworth

January 25th, 2010
8:58 pm

and yet we still refuse to legalize casino gambling.

its a pitiful day when Mississippi has more on the ball
than we do

V for Vendetta

January 25th, 2010
9:25 pm

jim d,

HA! The moral majority in this fair state won’t ever go for that suggestion. They won’t even let us buy beer on Sunday! (I completely agree with you, though. I’ve long thought that taxing weed would net the state coffers billions of dollars. Course, they would probably waste that money, too.)

Toto: exposing Goldilocks behind the curtain

January 25th, 2010
11:33 pm

Citizens, parents, teachers, lend me your blog. The solution you seek will be found outside the political/educational box you have been programmed to think in. I daresay that the Founding Fathers abhorred that very box and shed blood in order to enshrine Freedom at the very core of our nation’s founding documents. They well understood that the power to tax is the power to control an individual’s freedom and pursuit of happiness. They also understood that the power of the government to coin its own money, rather than borrow from profit minded private bankers at usurious interest rates would keep elected officials accountable to the citizens rather than banksters. But alas, the citizens grew lazy and wanted the government to educate their citizens. They ignored the wise Constitutional limits on taxation, that they MUST be UNIFORM. Getting the government to do the dirty work of “redistributing the wealth” rather than relying on individual voluntary charity, was just too easy. And those in power would gladly take the opportunity to turn the power of SELECTIVE taxation into a vote buying spree. But our poor politicians, like drunken gamblers, couldn’t stop the spending. One vote buying promise led to another and before they knew it THE MONEY WAS ALL GONE! But lurking in the shadows with a sinister grin on his face was Mr. Bankster, ready to make a payday loan to the desperate incumbent. It was 1913, and with a questionably passed Constitutional Amendment, the political payday loan became permanent. The first sign that running a country on usury interest rates was a bad idea, was the crash of ‘29 ( I believe Mr. Bernanke has publicly stated that he was a”student” of this scam). The economy was now driven by remote control (the Fed) and the citizens could only go along for the ride, where ever it might lead, but of course, they must pay for the gas and insurance. Fast forward to post $700 billion bank bailout/heist. We are now reaping the full harvest of those seeds of fiscal and moral irresponsibility. We must return to our original foundations or SINK! Why are we now broke? Why do the children have less hope for a decent education? The Banksters have LOOTED the USA and WE LET THEM!
Here are a few patriots who “get it” and are willing to speak the truth:

jim d

January 26th, 2010
5:27 am


Sadly you are correct–State won’t even legalize it for those suffering that it could help make a difference for in their last few months.


January 26th, 2010
5:58 am

I guess there is no possibility of a tax on anything because the General Assembly is so against it. Why are they not listening to us? David Ralston swears there will be no tax increase. If they plan to run the government like a business, even businesses raises prices to cover expenses. PLEASE GENERAL ASSEMBLY listen to your citizens, we need revenue……


January 26th, 2010
6:19 am

Mark, they’re all up for re-election this year. Remind them of that, and don’t let them put all the blame on Sonny – they have to approve the budget before he can sign it, and they can change his recommendations.


January 26th, 2010
6:29 am

Mark said,

If they plan to run the government like a business, even businesses raises prices to cover expenses.

Very good point that most citizens don’t consider with the tax argument!

Steve the Rational One

January 26th, 2010
2:25 pm

Personally, I think the state legislature ought to get out on top of the Gold Dome with some scrapers, scrape all that gold into some bags, and send it to one of those “cash for gold” places.

Why do Georgians wonder why our government is the laughing stock of the United States?


January 26th, 2010
3:02 pm

The larger class sizes have a greater impact than most people think. The more students you have , the less class time there is to explain things and help students one-on-one. I worked with a fantastic math teacher on a team that had 55 minute periods. She spent half of class teaching the lessson and then gave students practice activities so that she could make sure they understood it before they went home to complete the assignment. She would walk to each desk checking on each child and helping. But because she went to every child, every child could have about 2 minutes of her time before she moved on. Some kids were fine; others needed more time but could not have it because she felt that each student deserved SOME of her time. The more people in a class, the less time per student. Yet it is only ” a few extra students”.

Raising class sizes means saving on teacher salaries. It does not save on supplies, books, instructional materials, student services, or a host of other things that still have to be in place. More kids in a class sometimes means fewer assignments graded because of the extra numbers. Four extra people in a class means 20 extra students if you have 5 classes. For me, because I teach writing, that means fewer essays that I can grade. That means less practice on writing which affects the state writing test scores. It means fewer chances for students to boost a low grade with a higher grade or two. It means less time in the computer lab because students will have to share computers. And yet poeple say “it’s just a few extra students”.

Classrooms are small. The more students there are, the more crowded the clasroom is and it is harder to place students where others will not distract them. Discipline problems escalate because of the numgers; this means more time taken from the teaching-learning process for dealing with behavior issues and there is already too much time spent on that. It means less planning time because a teacher has more parent conferences and SSTs and IEP’s and 504 plans a to devise and implement. It means more and more work without pay and teachers who are more tired and closer to burnout. And yet ” it is only a few extra students.”

It means fewer teachers to sponser clubs, do bus, hall, bathroom, cafeteria, and a host of other, extra duties. Fewer teachers, more work added. But it is “only a few extra students.”

It means more money out of pocket to provide materials that parents and /or the school do not supply. Yet more students does not mean extra supplies such as paper for teachers to use.In fact, there will probably be less of these things next year. But it is “only a few extra students.”


January 26th, 2010
6:30 pm

Elizabeth, hear, hear! Great explanation.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

January 26th, 2010
6:49 pm

Well-stated, Elizabeth. Brava!


January 27th, 2010
3:19 pm

There are probably things I forgot. But I am really writing because my new principal, who has ben harassing teachers all year, has finally decided to harass me.She is picking on the ones at the top of the pay scale, on purpose, I believe;I think the county wants to save money on salaries. But I have 28 years without a blemish and these charges are trumped up. I have a call in to GAE. However, I also went to TRS and calculated what my retirement benefit would be if I worked 2 more years. ( I am 62 and will draw Social Security in addition to my retirement). I have 2 advanced degrees. Even with the survivor benefit option, and including an extra 120 days of sick leave to bring the total to almost 29 years, the difference in pay is a mere $200 a month. With my husband’s pension added when he is eligible to retire in 3 years (assumimg he lives that long, which is doubtful – he is slowly dying), we will have more than enough money to live on if I retire in June. I can substitute for my wonderful former principal or work for him part time ( I was displaced or I would still be there)until my husband is moved from disability to retirement status or I become his caregiver.

My stress level is so bad that I have decided to do it! I want to retire and be healthy, not work in stress for 2 more years, miss valuable time with my husband and daughter; I want to have some time to enjoy my retirement before health problems overtake me. My health is already being affected by the stress I am under at work each day. I wish all of you had that option. You are the only ones to know this. I am not announcing this to my system until the last minute. You cannot imagine how much more at peace I feel. I wish all of you who are so frustrated with education, as I am, could do it.

I promise to continue to be an advocate for teachers and education in this state. I will work for teachers and kids so that education can be what it is supposed to be. That is my promise to all of you. I will also continue to blog.


January 27th, 2010
8:09 pm

Elizabeth, congratulations and best wishes to you on your coming retirement. If I were able to retire right now, I would do so as well, as a “matter of principle” if nothing else. I am sure the extra time with your husband and daughter will be a great blessing and a benefit to all of you.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

January 27th, 2010
8:18 pm


The sad thing is that it is the students who lose out. I’m sure you are a wonderful teacher, and your intelligence and passion come through in your posting.

I miss the classroom every day. I don’t miss the fools who run our schools (especially the loathsome and despicable Ashley Widener), but I sure do miss the students, even the ones who became the focus of much unpleasantness.

I hope you find that being out of the classroom gives you the freedom to speak your mind, as it has me. Teachers need us to support them and to speak truth to power.

Carola Conces

January 27th, 2010
11:26 pm

I am a Georgia Tech student and used to intern for the Georgia Senate Budget Office, where I worked on the education portion of the budget. Now I’m keeping a Georgia policy and issues blog from a student perspective. I often write about education issues. Please check it out and leave me some suggestions! Thanks.


January 30th, 2010
9:48 am

Elizabeth…do a search for MACE. No administrators allowed teachers union. I too have given many more than 30 years to the state of Georgia’s children. This is the worst I have ever seen and the worst governor I have seen in all my years. When I first started, I made so little that my own children qualified for free lunch. I did not take it. We made do. My choice to teach was not for a job but, because I was good at it and I loved it. Zell Miller began to make it possible for teachers to do a good job. Then came Roy Barnes. Sonny must have taken lessons from him. What they have done to education and your children, Georgians, is a shameful travesty. It will take more than my lifetime to undo what we have allowed them to do. It won’t stop until you stop it. Is it time for teachers and parents to band together for the good of all? I have seen what can be done and what can’t be done in a room of 22 students compared to 28, 29, 30, and up. Ask your kids which classes help them most, unless your child is one that you are constantly being contacted about behavior. They won’t tell you the truth. The “good” kids will though. The ones who may be a little slower or a little more shy yet, whose eyes light up when they get that little bit of time that helps them “get it”. That is why I teach. Because I don’t see that often anymore is why I won’t teach much longer. We always hear about “bad” teachers just like we are overwhelmed with “bad” behavior. Yet, they are the ones who get all the attention. There are good administrators just like there are good teachers and good kids. I have even met a few good coaches who were more concerned with kids getting an education than they were interested in “winning” a game. Unfortunately, they often were fired because they didn’t always “win”. The kids involved and their parents were usually celebrating because their child was going to be a “superstar” athlete. We are in a sorry state when we look up to people who use drugs to win, are cruel to animals just to make more money and the state of Georgia welcomes these athletes back with open arms. We also let politicians who aren’t “for the people” stay in office.

Too much said, too late.

chuck finley

January 30th, 2010
2:43 pm

I have returned to industry after 20+ years at a technical college. It is nice to see that retirement pension on the horizon. I too have seen butt covering administrators take their (high) pay and run while cutting programs and supply budgets. There is a bunker mentality that wants to keep any connection with the business world away.
Now I keep my paycheck and don’t have to kick part of it back to keep my program running.
But lets face it Georgia has only recently moved out of an agricultural frame of mind, then it was cheap manufacturing. Neither of these required a highly educated workforce. Plus there is the central and south Georgia distrust of the Metro area as being too uppity. What do you expect when you don’t have to have seatbelts in your pickup. Too many hits against the dashboard are bound to have an effect on thinking. Our RED state mantra is keep them dumb, scared, and pliable.


January 30th, 2010
6:00 pm

i work in the lunchroom serving hot food so the children can eat and consentrate. i make $400 a month after taxes and insurance. we are really hurting money wise and wish people would think about us instead of just the teachers. we love the children but need to pay our bills also.