State Eyes Changes to School Funding Formula

Dec 12, 2013

Many Georgia school districts have been cash-strapped since the Great Recession. That’s partly due to a drop in local tax revenues. But many districts say they’re not getting the money they’re owed from the state. Part of the problem, some critics say, is the state’s funding formula for schools hasn’t changed since it was written in 1985.

Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza says the complicated Quality Basic Education formula encompasses several factors.

“It is a formula that is based on students and teachers and how many they have and that’s how the state funds school districts,” he says.  

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  School systems and political candidates have complained recently the state isn’t fully funding QBE. Some district officials have said that means the state owes them more money. Gov. Nathan Deal addressed the issue after speaking at an economic forecast luncheon Wednesday.

“Not fully funding QBE is a complaint that has been in existence since it was first put in place in 1985 and it is an unrealistic standard in light of revenues, and if it’s been unrealistic in light of revenues over that long a period of time, I think it’s a clear indication that it’s something that needs to be reevaluated,” Deal said.

The governor appointed an Education Study Committee in 2011 to examine QBE and recommend changes. He says he hopes the General Assembly will do that by the 2015 legislative session.