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Plans for public educationvague and discouraging
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When Gov. Nathan Deal announced his budget for Georgia on Jan. 11, he bragged about how he has raised the budget for public education again.

Of course he didn't mention that the reason the budget is larger is because of increased enrollment-have to pay for the new kids!

He also didn't mention that the budget again includes $166 million in austerity cuts.

Less money again, meaning still no new textbooks, some programs still cut, and class sizes still much larger than they were when the austerity cuts begun under the first Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue--$9.4 billion now with these new cuts!

He also didn't mention the impact that the increased expenses for school transportation and health care costs have on our schools.

The state stopped paying for health insurance for non-certified employees such as bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers in 2012.

So, districts went from monthly payments of $246 per employee in 2012 to $846 in 2017.

Districts have spent more than $400 million for increased health care costs (nothing to do with Obamacare by the way!) since 2012.

Then he and the state legislators have also decreased the amount the state puts in for transportation of students.

While in 2012 the state paid more than 50 percent of the transportation costs for students in each district, now, for instance, in Dawson County, they now only pay 20 percent.

With new requirements for our local schools in dealing with testing and accountability, it is necessary that our schools receive all the resources required.

Schools that are challenged need to receive extra resources.

All the cuts mentioned above will not allow our schools to make the necessary improvements.

It is almost seems as if the Governor and his school reform cronies really just want our public schools to fail so they can turn them over to for-profit corporations to run them. I wonder?

Bette Holland
Chair, Dawson County Democratic Party