ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Anticipation was at an all time high as members of the legislative and judicial branch awaited the governor’s remarks on the state of the state this morning.
Governor Deal addressed the Georgia General Assembly on issues from Medicaid to saving tax dollars on Wednesday at the capitol building. But the most pressing of all was the state of Georgia’s education system.
Though graduation rates in the state are up from 67% back in 2011 to 79%, Deal believes that starting with budgeting could help them continue on the right path.
“We want to make sure that our scholarship program, our HOPE grant program for technical college and our Pre-K program all remain solidly funded,” he said.
Governor Deal says one of the most troubling aspects of the education system is children trapped in failing schools. Majority of the schools falling behind are elementary schools.
Two years ago, Deal says 167 schools were deemed failing. Last year the number dipped slightly to 153 schools. But even then, still roughly 89,000 students are being impacted by the lack of resources needed to learn and meet statewide standards.
State Representative James Beverly believes the legislature needs to look at the schools in bad areas that may not be given the proper funding necessary.
“The reason why these schools are failing is because if you live in an impoverished neighborhood, the tax pace doesn’t support the school in the way it needs to,” said Beverly.
Spending for grades K-12 has increased by more than 2 billion dollars over the last four years.
Along with a 2% pay raise for teachers across the state, lawmakers will be presenting solutions over the next few weeks on how to raise reading comprehension and math scores. That’s in addition to a 3% merit based pay raise in this year’s budget.
The governor has not yet specified plans to take any action.