Fact Sheet about the Lawsuit on School Funding
What is our goal?
The Consortium wants a fair chance for every child in Georgia to obtain an adequate education. This is a moral imperative and a clear obligation of the State under the Georgia Constitution. We seek to improve the opportunities for all of our students, recognizing that the minimum preparation needed to succeed in today’s world is a diploma from high school.
What is the challenge?
Nearly half (estimated at 47%) of Georgia’s students are not receiving a regular diploma from our high schools. Our drop-out rate is one of the highest in the nation. Whenever someone fails to graduate from high school, it is a personal tragedy for that person, but the social and economic health of the entire community is diminished as well.
To meet this challenge, Georgia must do more to improve the basic skills of the students from low-income families and offer more non-traditional forms of education to rescue those students who have lost interest in high school.
We must give an extra boost to the large number of students (over 75,000 in the last round of tests) who are not passing the high-stakes test for promotion to the third, sixth and eighth grades. Our teachers urgently need more assistance in using the new curriculum.
What is the problem?
Good schools depend on strong leaders, dedicated teachers, involved parents, and a supportive community, but the State is not providing the resources that are also essential.
Even with the upturn in FY 2007, the State is still under-funding its own formula for a basic education by $1.1 billion or 20%. Those school systems that do not have a large tax base per student are unable to make up the difference through local taxes, but this is a serious problem for all schools in Georgia. The financial support provided by the State has decreased by more than 6% over the last five years on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis.
One of the results has been a dramatic shift in the funding of Georgia’s schools. The amount of new funds raised by local systems was nearly ten times greater than the amount of new funds provided by the State from FY 2002 to FY 2005 (the last year for complete data).
What have we done?
The Consortium has filed a law suit to enforce the State’s constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education for all of our students. The State tried unsuccessfully to have this lawsuit dismissed, has rejected the overture by the Consortium to solve the problems through a negotiated settlement, and has hired a large Atlanta law firm to overwhelm the systems which are seeking to improve the opportunities for their students.
June 13, 2006
Return to the press release.