Over the last twenty years of public school funding in Georgia, the General Assembly has underfunded grants and avoided necessary improvements to the way schools are financed—all on top of cuts totaling $10 billion. The specific cuts (called “austerity cuts” or, more recently, “amended formula adjustment”) are damaging enough and can mask the other ways that schools struggle to keep up with needs.
Although state funding might have increased year-to-year and schools were provided federal relief money, schools have not been given what they need to provide students a world-class education—nor to keep children safe during an ever-changing worldwide pandemic. Additionally, white supremacist and/or nativist policies continue to exact a toll on Georgia’s Black and Brown schoolchildren.
These district-level fact sheets highlight ways that schools continue to lose out on funding and what they could afford if the state committed to adequately funding public education. We chose ten districts that represent Georgia’s diversity in enrollment, geography, property tax wealth and family income.
Below you can find the total amount owed to all school districts in the state.
State Budget Not Keeping Up with Student Needs
|Annual State Budget Cuts. Lawmakers regularly make cuts to the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula that dictates state funding for public schools. Available on QBE Allotment Reports.||$383 million|
|Transportation. Georgia gave more money for pupil transportation in FY 2002 than FY 2022 even as enrollment grew by 250,000 students. The state paid over half the cost of transportation in the 1990s, while it covered less than 14 percent in FY 2020. This amount is half of the total district transportation expenditures minus state money for the program (QBE Allotment Reports) and bus replacement (currently paid through bonds)||$329 million|
|Sparsity. Georgia only pays a fraction of the grant meant for rural, larger-enrollment-area schools with lower property values—this is the amount owed.||$22 million|
|Opportunity Weight. Georgia is one of only eight states that does not provide additional money to help educate students living in poverty, easily the greatest need that goes unmet in state funding. This amount is based on the fiscal note for House Bill 10.||$341 million|
Note: The amounts are all Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 data except for transportation, where FY 2020 is the most recent information available.
Georgia school districts are over $1 billion annually away from being made whole. Providing this funding will allow districts to lower class sizes, increase mental health supports and meet the unique needs that are too often ignored. A history of oppression for any person who is not a part of majority culture makes funding in these areas a tool for racial and ethnic equity, even as the benefits will flow to every district, school and child in the system. Advocates should use these fact sheets to push for this change across our state.
Click below for individual school district fact sheets.