FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Atlanta–Funding for Georgia’s schools and colleges are at the lowest levels in a decade according to two new education budget analyses released today by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI). Despite modest increases in funding for education for Fiscal Year 2013, the state still faces a long road to restoring a decade of decline.
“Georgia has entered an era in which education leaders are expected to do more with less. This is the new normal for the state’s education systems. However, persistent cuts to public education undermine efforts undertaken by the state to build a more educated and skilled workforce that attract good-paying jobs to the state. Without enhancing the quality of Georgia’s workforce, our state won’t thrive,” says GBPI Executive Director Alan Essig.
Because of the persistent underfunding of public education, early childhood and K-12 educators are faced with the challenge of educating nearly 2 million youth with fewer resources. Today, state and local support for each public school student is less than it was a decade ago before the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
The University System has experienced a decade of funding cuts as well. Meeting the state’s goal of graduating 250,000 more college students by 2020 will be challenging amid declining state support for higher education. Since 2009, the University System of Georgia has experienced more than $450 million in funding cuts. Consequently, tuition and fees have increased by more than 70 percent, making a college degree increasingly unaffordable for Georgians. To achieve the state’s goal of increasing college graduation rates, adequate investment in higher education is a must.
Funding for the technical colleges has also been cut. Georgia’s future growth depends on its ability to build a well-trained, educated workforce that can meet 21st century business demands and businesses consistently look to technical colleges to meet their changing needs. Yet, the accreditation of Georgia’s technical colleges is threatened due to funding cuts, which have force technical colleges to rely on more part-time adjunct faculty.
“Education cuts have long-term impacts, not just on the children and families they serve, but on our state’s economy and well-being. Georgia must find ways to increase investment in education that improve access, quality, and the number of student earning credentials that have value in the marketplace,” Essig said.
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About the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
GBPI is the state’s leading independent, nonpartisan nonprofit engaged in research and education about the fiscal and economic health of the state of Georgia. GBPI provides reliable, timely analysis of Georgia’s budget and tax policies, and promotes greater state government fiscal accountability, improved services and an enhanced quality of life for all Georgians.