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Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 11:11am

School Funding Changes Reviewed

A state commission charged with revising Georgia’s school funding formula made recommendations at a meeting Wednesday.

The suggestions include more money for teacher training, school psychologists and technology.

The State Education Finance Commission’s recommendations would not alter teacher pay or class size--- but over the course of 3 years, more money would go toward classroom computers, teacher training, buses, school counselors and nurses.

Commission subcommittee chairmen Kelly Henson says while about 20 million would be cut from administration funding, that money would be redirected toward areas the commission considers priorities for Georgia’s school system:

“One example of that might be technology where there really isn’t a funding stream from the state to fund technology in school systems, but we all know how crucial that is and how expensive that is.”

Herb Garrett, with the Georgia School Superintendents Association, says while the funding formula needs updating to meet the needs of modern students, it’s been a great foundation for more than 2 decades:

"It is a formula that takes into consideration that there are lots of different kinds of children with lot of different kinds of educational needs and it counts them and funds them accordingly. So I don’t think there were as many major changes as some people expected, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing."

The funding formula hasn’t been changed since it became law in 1986—nor has it ever gotten full funding from the General Assembly. After the recommendations are finalized by the Commission, they will then be turned into legislation that will go before the General Assembly in January.

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