Home > Advocacy and policy > Commission will determine future of student funding in Georgia

Commission will determine future of student funding in Georgia

If you’re familiar with how schools are funded in Georgia, you’ve probably heard of QBE funding. (If you didn’t know, the QBE stands for Quality Basic Education.) In short, QBE funding is an allotment of money that every public school in Georgia receives based on the number of students they have enrolled. Some types of students — including gifted students — are funded at a higher rate, giving schools additional dollars to be used to meet their special needs.

[Note: Because of economic hardships and cuts in education funding overall, the state does not exercise any controls over the money it allocates via QBE funding. Schools and school systems have broad authority to redirect funds. So, although schools receive an additional amount for gifted students, that money is not always spent on gifted instruction. But that’s another post for another time.]

The QBE formula was developed in the 1980s and hasn’t been updated much since then. But that could be changing soon, as a newly formed commission has begun working on reviewing and possibly reforming the funding system. (I say “could be changing” because this is the sixth effort to revamp the formula, and the previous five task forces and committees didn’t change much.)

The State Education Finance Study Commission met for the first time at the end of June. I was there, and the question of how much money it takes to educate a gifted child was raised as something to evaluate.

That question, if it’s to be addressed, would fall under the realm of Subcommittee 1. Members of that subcommittee are:

  • Georgia Senator Jack Hill (R-Reidsville)
  • Scott Austensen, from the Office of Finance and Business Operations of the Georgia Department of Education
  • Jadun McCarthy, Georgia Teacher of the Year, an English teacher at Northeast High School in Bibb County
  • Dr. L.C. “Buster” Evans, superintendent of Forsyth County Schools
  • Georgia Representative Tom Dickson (R-Cohutta)

This subcommittee will hold its first meeting on July 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 20th floor of the Twin Towers East legislative building downtown.

In the first meeting of the Commission, chairmen Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) and Rep. Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth) both encouraged people to get involved and share information with the subcommittees. I think the best way to do that is to attend the meetings and — when given the opportunity — share my point of view. That’s what I’ll be doing, and I will keep you posted via this blog.

You could also contact members of the subcommittee with your thoughts about funding for gifted education. I’ve looked up their e-mail addresses for you, so you can write to them simply by clicking on their names above. (Sorry, couldn’t find an address for Jadun McCarthy.)

You can also follow the work of the Commission and subcommittee via its dedicated web page on the Department of Education web site.

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Categories: Advocacy and policy
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