GaDOE Describes AFY 2020 and FY 2021 Budget Recommendations
On Wednesday, State School Superintendent Richard Woods opened his presentation by thanking legislators for supporting education by fully funding the QBE formula, providing a $3,000 pay raise for certified educators, and dedicating funding for mental health professionals and school security. Woods celebrated strong gains in public education, including an 82 percent graduation rate, an all-time high rate in Georgia. Next, he described challenges across the state, notably poverty
rural resource gap
teacher recruitment and retention, high stakes testing
student mental health.
Woods also presented the GaDOE’s legislative priorities:
- Responsible & Aligned Accountability
- Strengthening the Teacher Pipeline
- Expanding Opportunities for Students
- Funding Public Education & Renewing Rural Georgia
For a full list of the department’s 2020 legislative agenda,
Following Superintendent Woods, GaDOE Chief Financial Officer Ted Beck highlighted the department’s AFY 2020 and FY 2021 budgets. Beck explained that student enrollment growth has slowed with some districts seeing decreased enrollment, mainly due to a decrease in the birth rate. Even with slowing enrollment, the department has requested $114 million in QBE midterm adjustments. Beck explained the increase is due to higher cost categories of students, such as those with disabilities, CTAE students, gifted students, and remedial students.
Next, Beck described GaDOE’s budget reduction strategy to comply with Kemp’s directive for state agencies to cut their budgets by four percent in AFY 2020 and six percent in FY 2021. QBE was exempt from cuts. The department will implement a hiring freeze and will fill open positions only after careful consideration. Travel expenses will be reduced by using more telework and teleconferencing opportunities. Technology will be replaced when broken instead of every three years under current practice.
State charter schools will receive an additional $27 million in AFY 2020 due to approval of new schools, enrollment growth at existing state charter schools, and increased funding following the passage of HB 787 in 2019. In the FY 2021 budget, state charter schools will receive an additional $50 million in funding.
In AFY 2020, special needs voucher program funding is increased by $10 million. Beck cited growing participation in the program and a legislative change that moved enrollment windows from a semi-annual basis to a quarterly basis. In FY 2021, the special needs scholarship will receive an additional $10 million in funding.
Additional highlights of the FY 2021 budget include:
- $360 million to fund $2,000 pay raises for certified K-12 educators
- $5.5 million to fund a five percent pay increase for nutrition and transportation staff
- Elimination of the CTAE equipment grants