Everybody is taking a swing at the budget crisis, and today Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle released the recommendations of his seven-member task force composed of private industry leaders.
Coordinate the University System and the Technical College System to provide the most suitable education for all students.
Ensure proper lottery revenues are remitted to the state specifically for education purposes. The lottery gave 24 percent of its $3.5 billion in sales over to HOPE and pre-k education. Had it given 35 percent, education would have seen an additional $363 million.
Hold schools accountable for money management through financial strategic planning.
Allow voters to approve the flexible use of education special local option sales taxes (E-SPLOST) so funds can be used for operating expenses as well as capital projects.
Utilize the Georgia Virtual School and other online providers to increase course offerings. The task force notes that if one percent of students took two online courses, the state would save $4.5 million.
Create a merit-based pay system to attract and retain the brightest teachers.
Freeze automatic “step” increases to align teacher and other state employee compensation model.
Increase teacher contributions to their retirement fund to 6 percent in FY11. That would save the state $39 million in one year.
Shift contribution plans to a “defined contribution” system that will allow individuals to invest their own retirement savings.