Fact Sheet: Frequently asked questions
1. What is the problem?
The State is not meeting its obligation under the Georgia Constitution to provide an adequate education for all students in Georgia. The current QBE Formula does not support the cost of even the most basic program, much less an adequate education. This problem affects all local school systems, but is even more harmful to those systems that cannot make up for the deficits in State funding because they have a low property-tax base.
Excellent teaching and parental support are essential, but local systems must have enough funds to hire capable staff and provide the needed instructional program for all students. What might have been enough at one time is not adequate to meet today’s challenges.
2. Is this just a way for rural systems to take funds from other systems?
The schools in rural Georgia are suffering the most, but the solution is not to help them at the expense of others. Raising the QBE Formula to a realistic level would lead to additional State funding, since the required local effort has already been met, and distributing these funds through the existing formula would benefit every student and every system.
3. Wouldn’t the problem be solved if rural systems would only raise their tax rates?
The property-tax base in most rural areas is so low that increasing the millage rate does not generate many dollars for education. Moreover, most of the counties with a low tax digest per student also have a very low per-capita income.
4. Are you asking the State to raise taxes?
We are seeking greater financial support from the State for all of our schools, but the General Assembly will decide how to accomplish this result. With more State funding, there could be offsetting reductions in the local taxes that are used for the basic program.
5. Do we want to turn our schools over to federal judges?
School finance cases are decided in the state courts, and these courts turn to the legislature in each state to design and implement their decisions.
6. Why can’t we solve this problem like ladies and gentlemen?
The under-funding of our schools is so severe – and the prospects for a legislative remedy are so remote – that Consortium has no other choice. The purpose of the lawsuit is not to criticize anyone. This is a dignified way to resolve a significant constitutional issue.
7. Why can’t we depend on the new education finance task force to solve this problem?
The Consortium supports the new task force, especially in hiring a capable, independent firm to conduct an objective study of the cost of providing an adequate education, but the task force cannot create the political will to implement its recommendations.
8. Wasn’t this problem solved when the Governor recommended and the General Assembly agreed to rescind the cuts in Equalization Grants?
The Consortium is grateful for the Governor’s leadership in this regard, but the increase in these grants is still much less than the deficits in the funding of the basic program
Return to the press release.