Points to Consider
1. Even with the last-minute reduction in the proposed cuts for FY05, the cumulative cuts in QBE Earnings for all local systems in Georgia in FY05 still amount to roughly
- $400 million in total,
- $270 per student, and
- $6,000 per classroom.
2. These cuts do not include
- the under-funding of the QBE Formula in FY02 (at least $500 million),
- inflation since FY02 (at least $500 million in the State share of all costs),
- the cost of new State and Federal requirements
3. Virtually all of the additional State funds for K-12 education over the last decade have been used to pay
- increases in the State salary schedule for teachers,
- the State share of the additional costs from enrollment growth, and
- part of the total cost of school construction.
4. The cost of “everything else” has been shifted to the local level. The deficits in the funding of the basic program have been covered through reductions in supplemental programs and increases in local property taxes.
5. The QBE Formula, as now defined, is not a realistic measure of the cost of meeting even the most basic State requirements and certainly not the cost of providing an adequate education, especially for the children who need extra help.
6. The State has a constitutional obligation to provide an adequate education for every child in Georgia.
7. Increasing the QBE Formula to a realistic level would force the State to provide more funds to local systems, since the required local effort would have already been met. The additional funds would be distributed in accordance with the per-student allocations in the formula. All systems would benefit.
8. An improving economy will not be enough to correct this problem, especially since the FY05 budget already anticipates a revenue growth of nearly 5% for the entire year. There are also competing demands on the use of any additional revenues.