Local News

Report: Georgia K-12 schools ‘critically underfunded’


Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service

new report shows Georgia is among the 39 states that “critically underfunds” its K-12 public schools.

The report on the state school finance systems from the Albert Shanker Institute found the state is spending less on education now than it did back in 2006.

Bruce Baker, professor of education at the University of Miami and the report’s co-author, said despite the state’s effort, more needs to be done for students to have better success.

“Georgia is not a very high-capacity state, so even though they put up average effort, they’ve got about 85% of kids in districts that are not adequately funded to achieve national average outcomes,” Baker reported.

He pointed out the loss incurred by those districts with tighter state education budgets throughout the years totals around $13 billion. He thinks one proposed solution to address the insufficient state funding is for the federal government to step in and support students’ needs. Critics of public education argued it is expensive and express concerns regarding the influence of teachers’ unions.

Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of the Albert Shanker Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, emphasized the increasing expectations on schools and the need for additional support. With four of five states spending less on funding than they did 15 years ago, the report suggested every state conduct audits to ensure funding levels are adequate, and equal opportunity factors are being considered.

“Really, the last thing they should really review or audit is whether the students with the greatest needs in their state, that need to get addressed, are getting the funding to have those needs addressed,” Ricker urged.

The report also uncovered significant funding disparities in many states, with Black students attending underfunded districts twice as often as white students, and Hispanic students also facing considerable funding gaps.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.