School districts have had to take drastic measures to keep afloat. Seventy-one percent of the state’s districts have cut school calendars to less than 180 days.
It gets worse, 85 percent of the state’s schools have increased class sizes since 2009; 83 percent have used reserve funds to operate and are now coming up empty. While school populations have increased, there are 8,982 fewer teachers than in 2009, and fewer instructional support staff.
Seventy percent of Georgia’s school districts have cut instructional support staff: counselors, social workers, media specialists, psychologists, etc. Bibb County had the third-largest reduction in the state.
Read the entire study at: http://gbpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Cutting-Class-to-Make-Ends-Meet.pdf
Georgia is already behind in educational achievement. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, Georgia’s eighth-graders rank 40th in math, 31st in science, 34th in reading and 27th in writing, all the while the nation trails other developed countries in the world.
Will lawmakers respond? Some are still sleeping below decks. According to the PAGE Report from the Capitol, state School Superintendent John Barge had to appear before House and Senate members to outline the state’s educational budget less than an hour after he received the 430-page document.
Sen. Bill Heath (R-Breman) wanted Barge to say teacher furloughs were the result of “poor spending priorities of local school systems” rather than state budget cuts. Barge did not budge and the study supports him. Lawmakers are already busy trying to avoid a hammer that may be headed their way in this year’s elections, but a bigger hammer is headed for everybody if they do not act.