In FY08, the state of Georgia appropriated $11.2 billion for education. This represented 55 percent of the state’s total $20.2 billion budget. Approximately 44 percent of those funds are allotted to K-12 education, with the Department of Education receiving a total appropriation of $8.9 billion. Of this amount, $7.8 billion were state general funds, $1.1 billion were federal funds and $12.4 million were funds generated by the department.
In its amended FY08 request, the Department of Education is seeking $194.7 million for its midterm adjustment to meet a 2.5 percent student enrollment increase.
For the FY09 budget, the Department of Education is requesting $2.3 million to provide math mentors to teachers across the state, $2.1 million for improved Internet access and $304,986 to increase funds for virtual schools.
Quality Basic Education
The Department of Education has a standard formula it uses to calculate the amount earned by K-12 schools. The Quality Basic Education formula accounts for over 77 percent of the department’s total annual budget. Based on enrollment figures from the 2007-2008 school year, the department has calculated student growth as being 2.5 percent higher than last year. In order to meet student enrollment needs for the current fiscal year, the department has requested an additional $194.7 million in Quality Basic Education to be distributed among state school systems. The department has included this increase in the FY09 budget request.
2009 Budget Requests
The Department of Education is also seeking $2.3 million in FY09 to provide math mentors to classroom teachers. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of math instruction statewide. The program will be structured in the same way as the science mentor program and would provide support and mentoring to classroom teachers shown to have need.
Improved Internet Access
DOE is requesting $2.1 million to provide greater Internet bandwidth on its K-12 network to schools across the state. Schools currently use the Internet for business applications, such as reporting to the Department of Education, as well as for instructional purposes. The goal of this request is to increase the bandwidth to schools from 1.5 mbps to 3.0 mbps.
In FY08, the Department of Education was appropriated $2.2 million for its Georgia Virtual School program. The purpose of this program is to provide students opportunities to enroll in state-funded classes via the Internet or any other manner not involving on-site interaction with a teacher. Due to growth in the program, the Department of Education is requesting an additional $304,986 in its FY09 request to the governor.
In FY08, the Department of Education received $454 million in bonds for school construction. In FY09, the Department is requesting $333.3 million for school construction and vocational equipment for schools. Of those funds, $123 million is requested for regular school construction for 34 school systems, $103.9 million is requested for school construction for 24 school systems that have experienced exceptional growth, $83.3 million is requested as advance funding for construction for 23 school systems, and $2 million is requested for school construction for three low-wealth school systems. The department has also requested $9.5 million for construction and major renovation and repair projects for the three state schools for the blind and deaf. Finally, the department has requested $11.4 million for vocational lab equipment for middle schools.
Useful Web sites
Georgia Dept. of Education, www.doe.k12.ga.us
Visit the Legislature’s Home Page at www.legis.state.ga.us
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