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Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 12:31pm

Equalization Formula Cuts School Funds

Lawmakers passed a bill this year that tweaked the formula that allocates money to Georgia’s school districts. The intention was to make sure more money went to poor, rural districts.

But the largest grants this fall will go to districts that are neither rural nor comparatively poor.

The “equalization” fund’s biggest check this fall-- $43 million dollars-- will go to metro Atlanta’s Gwinnett County, Georgia’s largest school district. But some districts in dire financial situations will receive less—or no money at all, like middle Georgia’s Hancock County.

That’s because the formula takes into account property tax collections compared to total students. Calhoun County Superintendent Danny Ellis says the $150,000 dollars they’ll receive is 50% less than last year.

“We are pretty much down to the bare bones, even in our High School, we’re down to one science teacher, who teaches all of the sciences, we can’t cut any more, I mean, you at least have to have one, there’s nothing more to cut.”

Republican Senate Education Chairman Fran Millar of Atlanta says all districts got less money this year because of state budget cuts.