Gov. Deal gives lawmakers more time to review education overhaul

ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Governor Nathan Deal won’t be trying to change the states QBE funding system this year, but education is still a top priority. On top of a three percent salary increase, his proposed budget adds $300 million to K-12 education.

“The scope, speed and scale of change demands that we educate students for a future vastly different from our past,” said Deal quoting the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Tony Blair.

Changing Georgia’s education system was once again a main focus in his State of the State speech Wednesday.

“Our education boat is still leaking and needs some repairs,” said Deal.

Deal’s proposed budget includes a three percent pay raise for teachers. It also adds $300 million to K-12 education.

“From the very beginning he has been focused on trying to improve the education of our young people in the state and I think this budget and the things he touched on today is another step forward in doing that,” said State Representative Robert Dickey.

State Representative James Beverly thinks the three percent teacher salary increase is a way to replace what educators will lose with the elimination of furlough days.

“They’re actually going to go back to work the days that students need to have teachers teaching them,” explained Beverly.

Deal doesn’t plan to make any changes to the states education funding system this year. He wants the General Assembly to review the Education Reform Commission’s ideas. He plans to introduce them next session.

“If you have doubt, let’s wait a little bit. Let’s do a bit more studying. Let’s make sure we get it right the first time. One more year won’t hurt,” said State Representative Jimmy Pruett.

In November, Georgians will vote on whether to allow the state to create an Opportunity School District. It would take over failing schools.

“[I’m] completely against OSD. We don’t need it. We had some failing schools. I think we righted that ship and we’re on the way to moving it to a direction where we need to be. If we introduce another system into Bibb County schools, I think it could circumvent what we’re doing right now,” explained Beverly.

Pruett defended Governor Deal’s OSD idea. He said it serves as a tool to motivate districts toward improvement.

“Things usually can be better than they are and sometimes it only takes just a flicker of a flame or somebody to realize if there are consequences, that [they] can do better,” said Pruett.

Deal didn’t address other controversial issues like medical marijuana or religious freedom, but Middle Georgia lawmakers said he will get a chance to share his opinion when it comes time to sign or veto.


ATLANTA (AP) – Gov. Nathan Deal is pushing for dramatic changes to Georgia’s system for funding education but is giving lawmakers more time to consider his proposals.
   
Deal told lawmakers during his State of the State address on Wednesday that he wants a full review this year of recommendations from a commission that reviewed all aspects of Georgia’s education system last year.
   
The Republican is in the second year of his final four-year term.
   
The commission’s sweeping recommendations issued in December would affect everything from how teachers are paid to how students advance grade levels. One recommendation tying teacher pay to student performance on tests and other measures has sparked opposition from educator groups and some top lawmakers.
   
Deal says educators should not feel offended and announced creation of a teacher advisory committee.


ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Governor Nathan Deal will give his State of the State address Wednesday morning at the Capitol in Atlanta.

Middle Georgia lawmakers expect the governor to talk about education reform. During last year’s speech, Deal announced the formation of the Education Reform Commission to study the system and make recommendations on how to improve it. Deal also suggested having the state take over failing schools.  Deal said he wanted the ERC to focus on the outdated QBE funding formula and come up with a way to improve recruiting and keeping top teachers.

State Representative Jimmy Pruett said he wants to see change in the funding formula because rural schools are suffering. He was pleased to see the ERC recommend giving more money to small schools.

Another idea given to the governor suggests a teacher merit pay scale. A group of Georgia teachers called TRAGIC has said they don’t want to be paid based on how well their students perform on tests.

41NBC’s Alexa Rodriguez is in Atlanta. She will have more details about the speech tonight on the news at 6. You can follow her on Twitter at @aerodrigueztv for live updates.

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