Lawmakers to free up school funds

Fri, 02/06/2009 - 3:53pm
By: John Munford

Systems could spend certain funds where needs arise

The Georgia legislature may remove some spending controls for school systems to help them meet the challenges of the rough economy.

Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, has introduced such a bill in the Georgia House of Representatives. The bill would remove the spending controls that are tied to several different types of pupil funding, freeing up the money to be used in other areas as needed, Ramsey said.

The idea is to free up the money to help fund “classroom instruction and the quality education level we are receiving,” Ramsey said.

The spending controls, which are codified as Georgia law, require school systems to spend certain funding on programs such as staff development training or areas such as media centers, Ramsey explained. If those funds are not expended in those areas school systems must pay a penalty.

That penalty would be waived for the current school year and the next school year, Ramsey said, noting that school systems have already been told by state officials they could take such measures due to the economic crisis. The bill, if approved, would be void for the following school year but a similar measure could be reconsidered if necessary, Ramsey noted.

Ramsey proposed the bill as part of his duty as a floor leader on the house for Gov. Sonny Perdue. He said the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house all realize the effect the economy has had on local school systems.

Ramsey also said the bill has widespread support in the legislature.

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Submitted by swmbo on Sun, 02/08/2009 - 5:22pm.

Anything that gives local school systems freedom to operate according to their local needs (rather than some formula imposed on them by people who are far away) isn't a bad idea. If it passes, it means that the community has to keep a very close eye on how the funds are spent. Otherwise, it wouldn't be hard to have an out of control school board spend Fayette into the same condition as Clayton, lose its SACS accreditation and well, you know the rest.

And, speaking of Clayton, that voucher plan is back in the legislature. It might be time to pick up the phone again. Otherwise, we'll be over run with Clayton and Fulton's problem children.

If you and I are always in agreement, one of us is likely armed and dangerous.

eodnnaenaj1's picture
Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Mon, 02/09/2009 - 1:41pm.

BOE meeting Tuesday evening, I think the very first agenda item should be, what have the highest paid employees of FCBOE given up to cut expenses, how much of a pay cut have they taken, and how many benefits have been cut from their package. There have been some actions taken at the county level, but no pay cuts are mentioned. Actions such as hoping a lot of savings result from position attrition; combined bus routes; returning computers; teachers using vacation time during holiday breaks, etc.

The most recent proposal is to cut teacher's pay 2.3% - 3.5% based on their salary. Not only will benefits be cut, furloughs required, larger classes, less supplies, ultimately all the things teacher's are being "asked" to cut could amount to a loss of 3.1% - 7.1% of their compensation.

Yes it is tough everywhere, yes many of us worry about losing our jobs on a daily basis, and yes there are many that do not appreciate the job that teachers do; however, those that teach are remarkable people and should be compensated for their contribution to our future.

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