- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - A panel appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to review the way Georgia funds education got a deadline extension on Wednesday.

Deal has asked for recommendations by Aug. 1, but told lawmakers on the Education Reform Commission in a letter that deadline would be extended to Dec. 18. Deal has said he wants to incorporate the group’s recommendations for simplifying the school funding formula into his next budget proposal.

The Republican pledged to make changes to Georgia’s method of doling out money to school districts during his campaign for a second and final term. Attempts to change the 1986 formula came up short under two previous governors.

Deal also said in the letter that he will introduce legislation during the General Assembly’s 2016 session creating a joint committee of lawmakers to review and act on any of the group’s eventual recommendations. Several lawmakers, including the chairmen of the power Appropriations committees in the House and Senate, serve on the reform group’s subcommittee focused on funding.

“While I am disappointed that you believe more time is needed, it is important to me that you feel the committee has sufficient time to make the best recommendations possible,” Deal said in the letter.

The funding subcommittee hasn’t discussed specific impacts on districts yet. Based on the group’s early conversations, recommendations include replacing Georgia’s current formula of more than 18 components with a three-part model. Each student would receive a “base” amount of funding, with additional funding for student characteristics including poverty and state priorities such as reading proficiency by third grade. Grants for other purposes also would be available.

The group also has discussed making changes to the way teachers are paid, including allowing districts to develop their own system focused on student performance rather than teacher training or experience.

The funding subcommittee’s next meeting is planned for June 11. A meeting scheduled for May 28 was canceled to give staff more time to prepare a model based on the group’s previous discussions.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide