Gov. Deal To Focus On Education Funding With New Advisory Board | WABE 90.1 FM

Gov. Deal To Focus On Education Funding With New Advisory Board

Dec 3, 2014

Gov. Nathan Deal's new education advisory board is made up of superintendents, principals, school board members and other educators.
Credit Branden Camp / Associated Press

Earlier this week, Gov. Nathan Deal announced the new members of his education advisory board.

It’s made up of superintendents, principals, school board members and other educators.

In his second term, Gov. Deal wants to look at amending the grade school funding formula.

It’s one of several policy issues Deal hopes to discuss with the education advisory board.

“Reading on grade level will continue to be a focus. We also would like to see the K-12 funding formula amended,” Deal's deputy Chief of Staff Erin Hames said.

The state’s current funding formula has been around for decades, but it’s never been fully funded, and that’s a problem, said Claire Suggs, the senior education analyst at the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

“You don’t get to excellence by starving your schools,” said Suggs.

She says previous efforts to reform school funding haven’t been successful.

“They have looked at the formula in the past and they’ve set up several different task forces to do so and each one of those task forces has not, in fact, led to a change in the funding formula basically because they have not wanted to put additional dollars into it,” said Suggs.

Cobb County interim superintendent, Chris Ragsdale, is one of the new members of the education advisory board. 

He says he’s also concerned about money for schools.

“These past economic times have proven that significant cuts had to be made to education at school districts that had negative consequences," said Ragsdale. "When you have to lay off teachers and take furlough days that means students are not having a full 180-day academic year.”

  Despite this, Ragsdale said he’s optimistic.

“Hopefully, these things can be discussed and debated and we can come out with a productive solution that’s going to benefit everyone,” said Ragsdale.

The board will have its first meeting at the beginning of January.