Executive Director Michael O’Sullivan congratulates elected officials, urges lawmakers to continue improvements

Atlanta, Ga. – The executive director of a local nonprofit advocacy organization, GeorgiaCAN: The Georgia Campaign for Achievement Now, has issued the following response to today’s announcement from Gov. Nathan Deal and Legislative leadership on a budget agreement to fully fund K-12 public school education in our state.

“It’s a historic day for Georgia. Today’s decision to end austerity cuts and fully fund the state’s Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula is both unprecedented and good news for schools, students and educators. We congratulate and thank Gov. Deal and House and Senate leaders for their resolve to prioritize education spending,” said Michael O’Sullivan, executive director of GeorgiaCAN.

The governor announced this morning an increase in the Fiscal Year 2019 state revenue estimate and, in coordination with legislative leaders, recommended adding an additional $167 million in funding for public schools. The budget conference committee has finalized the Appropriations bill to include this change, which raises formula funding to $9.6 billion and total state education spending to $9.9 billion–the highest in state history.

In a press statement released by Gov. Deal’s office, he noted that progress toward equitable, assured investment in QBE represents a step forward, but the formula itself must be addressed with the goal of common-sense reform.

“Finally, fully funding QBE provides a stronger foundation to lawmakers and stakeholders to reform this outdated formula to accommodate the needs of today’s students and 21st-century classrooms,” Gov. Deal said.

O’Sullivan echoed that sentiment: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to a student-centric model for school funding, because this would ground our major investments in the reality of our children’s lives and their learning needs.”

According to FundEd 2018 by the national nonprofit EdBuild, Georgia is among just eight states in the nation that fail to include additional state funding for students in poverty or attending schools in high-poverty districts.

“GeorgiaCAN hopes that today’s decision will serve as a springboard to addressing this, as well as other deficiencies in our state’s current funding formula,” O’Sullivan said. “While we are thrilled the formula will be fully funded and offer our sincere congratulations to the leaders who made this happen, we should not lose sight of the urgent need to reform our approach to educational investments on the whole.”

Read the FY19 budget amendment letter here.

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About GeorgiaCAN: GeorgiaCAN: The Georgia Campaign for Achievement Now is a grassroots nonprofit advocacy organization that seeks to identify and advance common-sense policies that put the needs of students first. We engage local stakeholders—from community members to policy makers—to advocate for student success throughout the entire public education system.

Michael is the Executive Director of GeorgiaCAN.

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