Your morning jolt: State’s share of Georgia school costs down to 38 percent

On Aug. 1, the day after the statewide vote on the transportation sales tax, you won’t find Gov. Nathan Deal crying in his beer.

You’ll find him at Bones restaurant in Buckhead, raising cash at $1,000 a head or more, for his campaign to re-assert the state’s authority to create charter schools in Georgia – even if local systems would rather not. Here’s the invite from

On that same note, my AJC colleague Wayne Washington has mined one of the most important stats likely to be bandied about in the fight over the November ballot issue, which pits much of the state’s education leadership against the core of the Republican political establishment:

For the first time in 16 years, local governments paid a higher share of the cost of public education that state governments, a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau showed….

Georgia’s public primary and secondary schools got about 38 percent of their funding from the state, with local government paying about 48 percent. Federal and private sources accounted for the rest, according to the census report, which covers the year 2010.

In an interview with Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM) on Monday, a cautious Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the nation needs to re-examine its approach to firearms – but he’s not sure how to go about it.

Listen to the exchange here. Reed not only mentioned last week’s massacre of movie-goers in Aurora, Colo., but the July 29, 1999 shootings by a Buckhead day-trader, which left nine people dead and 13 wounded in Georgia’s worst mass murder. Said Reed:

”We definitely need to make sure it’s a part of the national conversation again. I don’t think that we’re doing enough or talking enough about it. And I remember that shooting, the day trader shooting, I remember it. I was here. And that’s why I immediately increased police support at our theaters [following the Aurora shooting], as did the mayor of Los Angeles, and as did the mayor of New York, and we spoke about it recently. We understand that there are copycats out here. We’re being extra-vigilant.”

Pressed for specifics, the mayor said:

“What I’m going to do is to read the tactics and legislation that works again, because, to be honest, I have not been focused on this myself. So rather than to simply sign on to what other people are talking about, I’m going to read about it myself. But with regard to the issue of whether this needs to be a part of the national conversation—whether we need to take it on—I believe that we need to take it on.”

Something of a brief TSPLOST round-up:

– My AJC colleagues Shannon McCaffery and Ariel Hart have a wrap on the $6.5 million behind the transportation sales tax effort in metro Atlanta.

– You can look at the funding yourself by clicking here.

– House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, who voted against putting the TSPLOST on the ballot three years ago, reluctantly endorses the effort today in an AJC op-ed.

In this morning’s Marietta Daily Journal, state Rep. Ed Setzler, R-Acworth, an opponent of the transportation sales tax, is quoted thusly:

“I can tell you I had a very prominent leader in this region, he’s a friend of mine — I completely disagree with him on this issue — he said, ‘Ed, all I want to do is I want to get a transit (line) outside of Fulton and DeKalb county. I don’t care how big it is or what it looks like, then we’ve got the regional governance, then all the counties — Cobb, Cherokee — are all brought in, are all funding the same system,’” Setzler shared, adding, “Friends, that is not a win-win for us.”

– The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at some figures generated by opponents of the transportation sales tax.

Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News today has an account of how much personal money is going into the four-way Republican contest to face down U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta. Writes Peterson:

[Rick Allen] loaned his campaign for next Tuesday’s primary $150,000 more, raising his total in the pot to $250,000.

State Rep. [Lee] Anderson of Grovetown has anted up $178,000. And the other two Republicans, Augusta attorney Wright McLeod and Dublin lawyer Maria Sheffield, have loaned their campaigns at least $100,000.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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22 comments Add your comment


July 24th, 2012
10:07 am

Enter foist!

Johnny P

July 24th, 2012
10:09 am

I’m glad Mayor Reed took a leadership role and decided to go all out for the T-SPLOST. He’s given the effort new life.


July 24th, 2012
10:12 am

One of the reasons that confederacies fail is the lack of leadership and vision at the top levels. Placing self above others is a recipe for failure.

Auntie Christ

July 24th, 2012
10:29 am

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the nation needs to re-examine its approach to firearms – but he’s not sure how to go about it.

Well he may not be sure, but AMC Theaters has certainly taken action. Yesterday, they announced a ban on masks and FAKE firearms in all of their theaters. That should take a bite outta crime.

As for the state government lack of support for our schools, no need to panic, we’re still 49th, we’re not Mississippi, (yet). What better way to get support for charter schools and vouchers than by starving the local school systems. Then our esteemed legislators can point to the public schools and say, “our public schools are a cesspool, they’re not educating our kids, we must have charter schools!”

It’s a tactic they learned from starving MARTA. By not allowing MARTA to spend it’s revenues where it is needed, (even tho the state doesn’t contribute a single dime for MARTA’s operation), by undercutting MARTA’s management, they can point to MARTA’s “mismanagement” as an excuse to keep it out of their suburban counties.


July 24th, 2012
10:46 am

Georgia businesses need those huge tax cuts Republicans have been giving them so they can give freely to the TSPLOST campaign. Who needs an educated workforce?

Georgia businesses are encouraging Republican lawmakers to adopt their Plan B when the vote fails next week, a 5% transportation surcharge on residential Georgia Power bills. That way Republicans can keep their Holy Grover pledge, and businesses won’t have to contribute.

Georgia businesses demand an educated workforce that has an adequate transportation infrastructure, they just don’t want to help pay for it, and they pay our politicians to make sure they get their way.

The Ghost of Lester Maddox

July 24th, 2012
10:59 am

On the T-SPLOST…what’s really been fun to watch is how the politicians try to walk the line between not wanting to call too much attention to the tax increase vote on one hand (by hiding it on the July 31st ballot)…vs. trying to make pro-tax increase Obama-crats turn out to vote for it on the other hand.

High times and great fun.


July 24th, 2012
11:03 am

No more taxes until politicians prove that they can responsibly spend the hard-earned tax money they are presently raking in and foolishly squandering.


July 24th, 2012
11:10 am

Not sure if you are aware, Jim, but there are some fireworks flying in Athens in the HD118 race. Keith Heard accused Spencer Frye of having outstanding tax liens, which was untrue, and then denied having ever had tax liens himself, which he actually had multiple. Interesting stuff!


July 24th, 2012
11:47 am


I am looked for the article by Wayne Washington and can not find it online. Can you please link the article?

Auntie Christ

July 24th, 2012
11:49 am

Congratulations to the ghost of lester mad axe, who just made a comment about as uninformed as his namesake ever made: “not wanting to call too much attention to the tax increase vote on one hand (by hiding it on the July 31st ballot) vs. trying to make pro-tax increase Obama-crats turn out to vote for it ”

They are ‘hiding’ this on the July 31 ballot. Like you lester, i don’t give the repub politicians much credit for smarts, but even they know you can’t ‘hide’ something that between 4 and 5 million people will be seeing. Are you expecting the Ga electorate to suddenly go blind between now and 7/31/12? And I guess you have been in Bangladesh the last several months, otherwise you might have seen all the commercials, yard signs, and political mailers that have bombarded us on this issue they are striving so hard to ‘hide.’

And who would have thoughtt that all the CoC presidents in the state, corporate CEO’s, sports team owners, Governor deal, the various other repub politicians, and others who have spoken in favor of the tax, are now Obama-crats. The President will be vry happy to find out he will carry this state.

Come back often lester’s ghost, you’re a funny fellow.


July 24th, 2012
12:04 pm

Why did Clear Channel give nearly $300,000.00 to a pro TSPLOST organization?? They are part of Reed’s corrupt cronies. Below is the 1st few paragraphs of this story of graft & the link to the entire story. By the way Barbara Fouch was a laddy friend of Maynard Jackson.

Late last Monday afternoon, a federal jury awarded $17.5 million to Corey Airport Services after finding that the City of Atlanta, Clear Channel and Barbara Fouch, Clear Channel’s minority partner, conspired to deprive Corey of its equal protection rights while bidding for the advertising contract at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2002.

The City of Atlanta, Clear Channel and Fouch will share the compensatory damages of $8.5 million equally. Clear Channel was ordered to pay another $8.5 million and Fouch $500,000 in punitive damages. As a matter of law, the City of Atlanta cannot be held liable for punitive damages.

“This was a clear case of favoritism, cronyism and bid-rigging,” said co-lead attorney for Corey Airport Services Jeffrey R. Harris of Harris Penn Lowry LLP (HPL), the firm brought in by Corey to try the case before U.S District Judge Charles A. Pannell. “The jury not only found that the bidding process at the airport was tainted, but that the City, Clear Channel and Barbara Fouch conspired to ensure the lucrative advertising contract remained with political insiders and City-favored vendors.”

The case, which was filed in 2004, concerned how the City of Atlanta procures contracts for advertising at the world’s busiest airport. Clear Channel and Fouch were first awarded the contract in 1980. Until 1997, the contract stipulated that the City receive 50 percent of airport advertising revenues. The contract expired, but Clear Channel and Fouch maintained the advertising concession on a month-to-month basis from that point forward. Until 2007, they were paying the 1980 rental rate of 50 percent of revenue.

At the start of trial, Clear Channel and Fouch owed the city $15.6 million in unpaid rental fees due to the month-to-month holdover provision of the advertising contract. “The fact that the City of Atlanta left more than $15 million dollars on the table, never taking steps to recover that revenue, is compelling evidence of favoritism,” said Darren Penn of HPL and co-lead counsel for the plaintiff. “The jury obviously agreed. It is our hope that the City doesn’t continue to waste taxpayers’ money by dragging out this process.”


July 24th, 2012
12:10 pm

Why did Clear Channel give nearly $300,000.00 to a pro TSPLOST organization?? They are part of Reed’s corrupt cronies. Below is the link to an AJC story that compares Clear Channel’s performance at the Atlanta Airport vs other major cities. In other cities the City gets 72% in Atlanta we get 50%. The story also points that unlike other cities we do not have a minimum & Clear Channel has a terrable sales record. But they are 1 of Reed’s Corrupt Cronies which is all that matters.


July 24th, 2012
12:18 pm

Beware Reed/Corrupt deal wanting to do something for the tax payers of GA….HA

Impeach deal
Recall reed.

Vote NO t-spLOST..


July 24th, 2012
12:31 pm

No surprise about state education funding. It is the main reason college tuitions have had to be raised with resulting impact on HOPE. Master plan is to privatize public education with vouchers and funds going to already multi-billion dollar private education management industry. With usual “finders fees” to Deal and many other pols. There is more potential graft in this scam than even road building contracts.


July 24th, 2012
12:41 pm

Also, remember that state funding of schools is not even across the state. Our legislature gives less to metro Atlanta school systems and sends more to rural systems. I checked a couple of years ago, and even then GA paid less than 20% for most metro systems. At the same time, some rural systems were paying less than 30% of their own costs (over 70% from state and feds).

It might be cheaper for metro Atlanta school systems to tell the state to keep their money and cut their reporting overhead.


July 24th, 2012
12:42 pm

49th in Education and damn proud of it!!

Auntie Christ

July 24th, 2012
1:13 pm

Georgia Values, aka republican values, aka throw stuff out there hope no one notices you’re full of –IT.

You are such a great investigator, did you happen to notice, in the course of all your research, that Mayor Reed took office in 2010? Did it occur to you that the events you go to such trouble to detail occurred in 2002. Do you realize that 2002 is prior to 2010? But don’t let truth get in your way of your prejudices, it can be awfully inconvenient.


July 24th, 2012
1:29 pm

Here’s a solution,Mr.Reed;confiscate every gun in the U.S. Then wipe out every gun in the rest of the world.When you’ve accomplished that feat,I’ll willingly turn all of mine in.Anything short of total confiscation does not interest me.


July 24th, 2012
1:57 pm

Auntie Christ

July 24th, 2012
1:13 pm

Reed signed the settlement.. Clear Channel is still at the airport.

Question Man

July 24th, 2012
2:34 pm

So Stacey Abrams–who was against the T-SPLOST before she was for it–is a Democrat taking the bold measure of voting for a regressive tax increase? If one were a conspiracy theorist, wouldn’t one think that Stacey Abrams is actually a double-agent, pretending to be a Democrat while fully and craftily shilling for the Republicans?

P.S. Doesn’t Stacey Abrams make even less sense in today’s piece in the AJC than she normally does?


July 24th, 2012
4:19 pm

“Georgia’s public primary and secondary schools got about 38 percent of their funding from the state, with local government paying about 48 percent. Federal and private sources accounted for the rest, according to the census report, which covers the year 2010.”

Here’s the real story on “choice” in education. Good job, Jim. The charter faction, who know the state has virtually abdicated its role in educating children in GA, want to kill off public education in favor of corporate schools.
It they succeed, it would be a good time to invest in private prisons. That’s where the millions who fall through the corporate school cracks will get their public education. When they are released, they can show you what they learned.


July 24th, 2012
4:55 pm

I guess we should prepare ourselves for the Charter School movement to demagogue the establishment of Local Boards of Education as tools of control. Interesting, since the real control is occurring thru State Legislatures and Judicial Systems by the use of Felony disenfranchisement tactics and mandatory minimum sentences achieved thru the arrest and incarceration of people for minor and non violent drug offenses. While Local School Boards could, at one time, could be held accountable for the poor state of public education being delivered to people of color…I no longer believe it to be the case. The principle culprit today is the continued failure to fully fund Public Education by the State and burdensome mandates that the Charters will not likely have to follow.