School funding: Not as good as Deal says, but not as bad as it could be.

I have been chatting with educators about the budget presented Wednesday by Gov. Nathan Deal, a budget that Deal says puts an end teacher furloughs and ensures a full school year for kids.

Here is the best summation: The budget is not as bad as many educators thought it would be, but it is not as good as the governor said. While Deal certainly left the impression that there would be no further need for furloughs or reduced school years, that will not be the case unless districts have pots of money hidden in the rafters.

And here is why: The $1.1 billion austerity cut enacted by Gov. Perdue was not restored, so systems can expect only about 80 percent of the state funding that they should be earning under the funding formula.

On top of that, Deal’s budget slashes transportation and cuts school nurses by 10 percent. It also eliminates funding for education technology centers, under the idea that those centers should be funding themselves now through fee- for-service arrangements. Funding is also cut to the Regional Education Service Agencies.

However, as one school leader said, “Even with the austerity cut still there, the budget could have been worse.”

The budget doesn’t openly acknowledge the $1.1 billion austerity cut. It apparently won’t be fully visible until the budget gets to the House and Senate from DOE, and lawmakers have a side-by-side comparison on allotment sheets of what school funding should look like and what it actually is.

The general view of the Deal budget: School districts won’t be able to do anything significantly different next year than what they are doing now.

But expect a lot of rhetoric to the contrary.

One source mentioned that Perdue forbid his staff to use the word “furlough” in any budget discussions or documents. Instead, the districts were given the uncomfortable task of using the f-word with their staffs. Other euphemisms will probably cloak the austerity cut in Deal’s budget. It will probably be disguised — as much as you can hide a billion dollar hole — as some sort of adjustment.

“Those who have spent all their stimulus money already will have a tough time getting to the end of the year. Next year will be tough on all.  We appreciate the governor’s expression of support and that of the speaker as well. We hope the reality matches,” said Tim Callahan, of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators.

–By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

33 comments Add your comment

Top School

January 13th, 2011
3:42 pm

The Governor has not mentioned how much he needs to spend to properly investigate the CHEATING in APS System…

How much money has been allocated for the repair work needed to clean up the APS catastrophe?

@ Vincent Fort said…The fact of the matter is that the Metro Chamber of Commerce is responsible for APS being in the accreditation crisis. The Chamber engineered the CRCT investigation cover-up. It functioned as a shadow school board without oversight and accountability while controlling the superintendent. As far as SACS is concerned, it is amazing that the only time they have intervened is when there was a change in board leadership: but not because of the CRCT cover-up, the E-computer debacle that engendered a congressional investigation, nor cooking the numbers related to graduation rates.

I guess he will convince the TAX BASE OF ATLANTA that there won’t be enough money left to properly disclose this corruption.

In addition a proper investigation… might open other issues of ETHICS VIOLATIONS and CHEATING IN OTHER AREAS that might touch too close to home.

Another HORSE AND PONY show…to keep everyone’s eyes focused on other issues…while those on top rape the systems in place.

Top School

January 13th, 2011
3:52 pm

Ask Beverly Hall to return her “BONUS CHECKS” for falsifying the data that made Atlanta look so GREAT!

Maybe if HALL returns some of the money she illegally earned we can put it toward the PROPER EDUCATION of child.

Top School

January 13th, 2011
4:08 pm

“as much as you can hide a billion dollar hole”

I think the BUSINESS LEADERS on NORTHSIDE of Atlanta…have been covering up the billion dollar hole with the help of writers in the ATLANTA JOURNAL for some time now.

The regular citizens of ATLANTA need to get tired of the CORRUPTION in this city.

Top School

January 13th, 2011
4:14 pm

Or maybe I AM missing the articles in the AJC…
Seems like people on this BLOG have more information than the reporters writing the news…
I am not sure what is going on…
but something smells bad to me.

And it is a familiar BAD SMELL. There is an obvious recipe the BUSINESS COMMUNITY has been serving the public THROUGH SCHOOL HOUSE…and the ingredients are getting a little rancid for the CHILDREN TO SWALLOW.

Top School

January 13th, 2011
4:25 pm

Sprinkling more litter over this mess…
It stills smells %^%^%&^*#$%#@$#@$#$%$%$^&*&(*(^@#

Before adding more waste on top of the waste …you have to take out the garbage.
Deal is just doing the same old jig Perdue did when he was Governor.
An the sad part about it…His Rhetoric is HEADLINE NEWS.

please, for the love . . .

January 13th, 2011
4:35 pm

maureen, is there any way that Top Schools self-aggrandizing posts could be filtered? It’s time

Maureen Downey

January 13th, 2011
4:37 pm

@Please, I do think that Top Schools has made his/her point quite well. What do you think Top Schools? Can you limit your posts to the topic at hand?

Mikey D

January 13th, 2011
4:41 pm

“Austerity” cut….
perdue’s reign of terror on education continues, even after he’s been relegated to an afterthought. Thanks for absolutely nothing, sonny…

NWGA teacher

January 13th, 2011
4:46 pm

If you don’t use the F word, does furlough magically stop being furlough? I want some of that magic.


January 13th, 2011
5:36 pm

Sorry folks…I realize this doesn’t relate to the topic above but I think most folks would appreciate this information concerning value-added assessments (aka teacher report cards)

I haven’t read the full analysis but it appears an Economics professor at Berkley has picked apart the Gates Foundation study that supported value-added assessments.

Here’s a brief summary:
““In other words,” he said in a statement, “teacher evaluations based on observed state test outcomes are only slightly better than coin tosses at identifying teachers whose students perform unusually well or badly on assessments of conceptual understanding. This result, underplayed in the MET report, reinforces a number of serious concerns that have been raised about the use of VAMs for teacher evaluations.”

Put another way, “many teachers whose value-added for one test is low are in fact quite effective when judged by the other,” indicating “that a teacher’s value-added for state tests does a poor job of identifying teachers who are effective in a broader sense,” Rothstein wrote.

“A teacher who focuses on important, demanding skills and knowledge that are not tested may be misidentified as ineffective, while a fairly weak teacher who narrows her focus to the state test may be erroneously praised as effective.”

If those value-added results were to be used for teacher retention decisions, students would be deprived of some of their most effective teachers, Rothstein concluded.”

Would the AJC care to ask Linsey, Morgan, &/or Hames what their thoughts are about the MET study, the Department of Educations Study (released July 2010), the RAND Report, and the NY Times analysis of teacher ratings?


January 13th, 2011
5:47 pm

There is no magic. The truly sad part is the disparity between school systems will become worse. How will poor systems and those hit by extreme property tax value reductions cope? We won’t say the word “furlough”, but expect “salary flexibility” to be the new catch phrase. Teachers in somee cases will be told to work 180 days with students so that kids are not hurt, but accept less pay, or have their friends and colleagues get laid off and classs sizes baloon toward 40. I am at the end of my career. My best two years are behind me I’m certain, but how will young teachers survive this? How many will bail as soon as jobs reappear in the private sector?

Again, what is the long range plan to fund pre-k to higher education in Georgia? This is not just a recession induced crisis. Funding has been at a near crisis for years. Only the rapid growth of the late 90’s masked the structural problems made worse through irrational tax breaks for over a decade. Will anyone step-forward to lead, or will more words fall the way of”furlough” to continue the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil leadership of the Perdue era? The early sound bites are pleasant, but the devil’s bits are bitter indeed.

and the beat goes on...

January 13th, 2011
7:46 pm

“While Deal certainly left the impression that there would be no further need for furloughs or reduced school years, that will not be the case unless districts have pots of money hidden in the rafters.”

The TOPIC IS LOOKING FOR THE MONEY…the money is hidden in the rafters of those corrupt in leadership roles running our STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMS.
When you get your head out of the sand …you’ll figure out all of the NEWS has been carefully filtered.

This BLOG is designed to filter it. Maureen posts the topic…AND THOSE OF YOU THAT THINK YOU ARE INTELLECTUAL ENOUGH to know how to solve the problems… TELL WHAT YOU KNOW.

Honestly, all my RECENT efforts to comment just keep them ahead of the game.
It would be best for me to keep my mouth shut.

What do I think IS THIS…I DON’T THINK it matters much.

If my comments offend you …SKIP THEM…
I turn the channel when I don’t like something.
Nobody is forcing you to read my garbage.

If you think blogging is SELF AGGRANDIZING -enhancing or exaggerating one’s own importance, power, or reputation…

I would say most of those blogging are making SELF AGGRANDIZING comments.

If something in my comments hit a nerve with you…maybe you should do some SELF-REFLECTING.

@ Maureen …FILTER ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE. if you are willing to comment on this whining one liner comment that says a lot.

@please, for the love . . .January 13th, 2011-4:35 pm
maureen, is there any way that Top Schools self-aggrandizing posts could be filtered? It’s time…

Sounds like one of my former FIRST GRADERS…and momma came to school to whine, too.

Horace Mann

January 13th, 2011
8:05 pm

Reading the headline “Not as good as Deal says, but not as bad as it could be” I am reminded of the boiling frog metaphor: Drop a frog in boiling water and it jumps out but turn up the heat slowly and it cooks to death. The water temperature is slowly turning up because saying it’s not as bad as it could be signifies to me we are adjusting to the unacceptable. The General Assembly and the Governor, in contravention to State law, have been de-funding education. Governor Deal’s budget continues this unacceptable trend. He did not give any recognition to the need to correct this downward spending trend.

We are not investing in development of the human capital of this state and at time every serious economist says the American worker needs more education to be globally competitive. At the same time the world economy will demand more from human capital we are investing less in its development. India and China are investing more. That’s the boiling water. We have gotten so used to being backwards we do not even recognize it.


January 13th, 2011
8:20 pm

How about a state-wide cookie dough sale, sponsored by the Governor and the state legislature, to help fund education? Or maybe wrapping paper. Or candles.

history teacher

January 13th, 2011
8:29 pm

we already renamed our furlough days last year. we actually get verbally reprimanded if we use the term in conversation around the school (water cooler talk before/after school & at meetings) We are to refer to them as “Calendar Adjustment Days.” We were told that the language choice impacted how the local/state contributions to TRS were handled. i.e. if it’s officially a “furlough” then contributions continue. but if it’s a “calendar adjustment day” then no contributions are made. nice.

Curious One

January 13th, 2011
8:30 pm

I suggest that educators hang on – things will get much worst for public education in Georgia – Deal was dealing meaningless words, reductions and completely without substance ! Keep your ears and eyes wide open ! Educators are about to the “dealed” out of the picture and will take the deep cuts.


January 13th, 2011
8:51 pm

Calendar Adjustment Days = CAD. H-m-m, so who’s the Cad??


January 13th, 2011
8:52 pm

Question to Governor Deal: Are you going to change he laws and disallow local school districts to furlough teachers?

Jimney Cricket

January 13th, 2011
9:11 pm

Well I’d like to use the real “F” word here! Besides, it’s probably the most used word in high schools anyway!

Reality Check

January 13th, 2011
9:36 pm

My first thought when I read that Deal wanted to put an end to teacher furloughs was that he was just trying to make new friends. After he believes that we like him, we really like him he will come back and tell us it’s not his fault, he didn’t want furloughs, but the money just isn’t there. Sorry–I don’t trust these people–they think we will believe anything they tell us when they know themselves they are not telling the truth
I am happy that Mr. Perdue has left the building. I understand our state is economically challenged. I have not had a raise in three years, actually making less money due to furloughs and having to do two jobs due to hiring freezes. Everybody in this economy has suffered and we all have to give a little. I was quite upset though after reading about Mr. Perdue rewarding his people with new jobs with big raises. Then I read about his land deal where the state paid too much, his working a deal with the port of Savannah and the resevoir they are talking about building near some land Mr. Perdue recently purchased. It sounds almost like insider trading since he used information he received because he was governor to turn a profit for himself. Didn’t Martha Stewart go to prison for that?

Do the Math

January 13th, 2011
9:41 pm

When I hear teachers whine and whine and whine about the budget, it reminds me of why our children in Georgia do so poorly on math tests.

First and foremost, when you have no money, you have no money. Even with Georgia’s new math, addition and subtraction work the same way.

Second, education accounts for a huge chunk of the state’s budget. Thinking you can balance the state’s budget without affecting education means you must be smoking something.

Third, do the math. Teachers were given a handful of furlough days. A furlough day is a one-time financial hit, and those few days were a small portion of a 190-day contract. Compare that to the permanent pay cuts most employees outside of education were given. My 5 percent cut is equivalent to more than furlough days each and every year for the rest of my career.

Do the Math

January 13th, 2011
9:43 pm

Oops. I hit submit too soon…

That should read that my 5 percent pay cut is equivalent to more than 20 furlough days.

Pay Cut AND Furloughed!

January 13th, 2011
10:56 pm

Dear Do the Math,

You are so quick to generalize.

Thank you for your support.
Public school teacher

It's not about the math

January 14th, 2011
12:11 am

@ Do the Math- the issue is not whining about the budget, it is that once again, there is a governor NOT doing the math. He is instead playing games. There will be furloughs, or layoffs, or larger class sizes, or some sort of adjustment at the city or county level because the money is not there. SO NATHAN DEAL SHOULD NOT LIE and go on and on about how he has fixed everything in HIS budget cause he just looooooves education and teachers. BS, again.


January 14th, 2011
12:24 am

In April, 2009 the DeKalb BoE held two public hearings about the one furlough day we had scheduled for the 09-10 school year. Marcus Turk stated quite clearly that DCSS was going to reduce the local supplement by the equivalent of one day’s pay…. the problem is that many teachers were moved up on the state salary scale at the same time. I want to know what the system did with the $1,000+ that they received from the state for my increase in salary (and multiply that by all other certified personnel who received the state step) but they reduced my overall pay by about $250. Just think about it this way, DCSS basically kept $1,250 from me, not one day’s pay. This year, I again received a step from the state, but we had our pay reduced by an initial 7 days (although this has been reduced to 3). Where is this money going?


January 14th, 2011
12:25 am

Sorry, typo, reduced to 4 furlough days, not 3.

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January 14th, 2011
9:58 am

Jordan Kohanim

January 14th, 2011
10:47 am

Out of curiosity, could any teacher ever point out problems with education without being called a whiner? Is it every time we open our mouths about the issues of education that we or whiners or only we point out the issues affecting GA education? Why do the people on this blog even pretend to invite teacher feedback when all they ever do is bash teachers for giving it.

I hope the general attitude of the people on this blog doesn’t represent GA in general, but I fear that misinformation is leading public opinion. I wouldn’t want argue against that public opinion though, for fear of being called a “whiner.”

Random Thought

January 14th, 2011
1:07 pm

Nathan Deal had issues balancing his personal finances – a multi-million dollar budget and then lied about the situation. Then in the fall of 2009 most of the people of GA elected him as governor to balance the state budget – a multi-billion dollar budget – and thought he would be truthful. We have some very gullible people in GA. A private corporation would not hire an accountant with financial issues to be the Director of Finance of the company, yet that exactly what most of GA voters did. So why are we surprised that funds for education are still in trouble with no proper solution in sight.


January 14th, 2011
2:16 pm

Our pay cut in my system was 7-8 percent depending on where you are on salary schedule, furoughs plus supplement cut. This does not include the loss of dental insurance and life insurance. How much more can we take?

Math Teacher

January 16th, 2011
1:54 pm

To Do the Math: 5% of 190 = 9.5 Furlough Days. We have not had 9.5 furlough days but a 5% cut is not over 20 days as you stated. Our insurance cost went up 33% this year and it has gone up every year I have been teaching. There are teachers who work 190 days 8:00 to 4:00, but very few. Most teachers work 60 hour weeks, go in over the summer, and work on days off. It is physically impossible to properly teach a class and; plan the unit, write assessments, adjust the curriculum, grade assessments, answer emails, offer help sessions, call parents, attend meetings, write labs/activities in an 8 hour day. Additional education, workshops, and training are done on our own unpaid time. We have less power, more demands, and less job security than when I started 20 years ago. “Teaching” is fabulous. Data collector, documentation specialist, and playing defense are not great jobs. Being criticized locally and nationally is demoralizing to what should be an honorable profession.

Top School

January 16th, 2011
5:17 pm

@ Random Thought
Exactly—you’ve hit the nail on the head…

Because the public has been trained by the MEDIA’S reports on corruption.
Society has been dumbed down to turn a blind eye to these illegal behaviors.