Legislative Day 4 (January 14, 2021)

Gov. Kemp Announces $1,000 Educator One-Time Bonus and Partial Restoration of School Budget Cuts in State of the State Address


Gov. Brian Kemp’s State of the State address brought upbeat news for public schools. Praising the extra efforts Georgia educators have undertaken to serve students amidst the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kemp outlined one-time supplements of $1,000 for all Georgia K-12 school-level educators. Kemp and State Superintendent Richard Woods are collaborating on this effort with Kemp allocating $60 million in federal CARES 2 funding and Woods providing $180 million from the Georgia Department of Education’s CARES 2 allotment.


Georgia educators set to receive the supplement include teachers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, custodians, bus drivers, school nutrition staff, media specialists, clerical staff and administrative assistants, principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, therapists and more. Pre-Kindergarten teachers are not currently included among those designated to receive the supplement. PAGE will advocate for the inclusion of Georgia's Pre-K teachers.


Kemp’s proposed Amended Fiscal Year 2021 budget also restores approximately $568 million of the $950 million cut from the Quality Basic Education (QBE)

formula for K-12 schools in the original Fiscal Year 2021 budget. Cuts to other programs operated by the Georgia Department of Education are also slated for partial restoration under the governor's budget proposals.

Kemp’s Fiscal Year 2022 budget report, which includes the two budget proposals, is available HERE. Both budgets use FY21 funding levels as a starting point, so changes outlined in each are compared to the amounts in the original FY21 budget.


Highlights from Kemp’s proposed budgets include:


AFY21 Budget

  • $568 million for partial restoration of QBE austerity cut

  • $41 million for midterm adjustment to QBE to cover enrollment growth

  • $26.4 million for State Commission Charter School supplement

  • $6.9 million to administer Georgia Milestones, revise testing standards and fund PSAT and AP exams

  • $889,508 for Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) to offset austerity reduction

  • $674,030 for Technology/Career Education to offset austerity reduction

  • $505,727 for Agricultural Education to offset austerity reduction

FY22 Budget

  • $568 million for partial restoration of QBE austerity cut

  • $114 million for educator training and experience and health insurance

  • ($166 million) reduction in QBE due to declining enrollment

  • $36.2 million for State Commission Charter Supplement

  • $71.9 million for equalization grants

  • ($893,044) reduction in funds for newly certified math and science teachers

  • $889,508 for RESAs to offset austerity reductions

  • ($337,465) reduction to RESAs due to declining enrollment

  • $674,030 for Technology/Career Education to offset austerity reduction

  • $505,727 for Agricultural Education to offset austerity reduction

The employer contribution for the Teacher Retirement System rises to 19.81 percent from 19.05 percent in the FY22 budget. For educators funded through the QBE, this amounts to an increase of $57.3 million. The budget also includes $20 million in bond funds for new school buses and about $12.8 million in bonds for Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) equipment.


State funding for the dual enrollment program, the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the Professional Standards Commission is unchanged.


Kemp also proposed a new grant program operated by the OneGeorgia Authority to expand broadband to rural communities. The initiative would receive $20 million in AFY21 and $10 million in FY22, if approved by lawmakers.


Kemp’s budget proposals are the first step in the budget process. The House and Senate will start their deliberations next week with joint budget hearings. State Superintendent Richard Woods is scheduled to deliver remarks on the education budget on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. The PAGE legislative team will provide more information as these hearings get underway.


PAGE to Host Webinar on Education Budget


Join PAGE Senior Education Policy Analyst Claire Suggs and other members of the legislative team on Thursday, Jan. 21, for a webinar on the budget. They will review Gov. Kemp’s proposed AFY21 and FY22 budgets. The team will examine how these state funding decisions may affect your schools and students in the upcoming year. The PAGE team also will highlight several longstanding funding concerns related to priorities identified by PAGE members.


Register for the webinar HERE.

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