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It was a good close to the legislative session
Tom Crawford
Georgia’s legislators gaveled things to a close last week and for the first time in a while, it was a session that provided some positive accomplishments for taxpayers. For the first time since at least 2002, Georgia will not have “austerity cuts” for K-12 public schools in the state budget for the new fiscal year. On the next to last day of the session, Gov. Nathan Deal announced he was increasing the state revenue estimate and amending his budget recommendation to include an additional $167 million for K-12 education. That will ensure the state is fully funding the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula and providing local school systems with 100 percent of the state’s share in financing for local education. During the Great Recession, as legislators were struggling to balance state budgets, there were years when these austerity cuts for local schools totaled more than $1 billion. There were some counties in poorer rural areas where local systems cut as many as 48 days of classroom instruction from the school calendar just so they could avoid having to shut the system down.