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State Funding "Unfair" Says Local Super
Thursday, 05 February 2009

February 5--  The Georgia Attorney General has issued an opinion that it's improper for local school systems to band together in a court case aimed at forcing the state to fund all school systems in the state equally.

The Toombs County school system had been one of the systems involved in the lawsuit, and for good reason, according to School Superintendent Dr. Kendall Brantley.  "We were fighting the battle because the QBE (Quality Basic Education) legislation had never been fully funding and it continues not to be fully funded," he says.

Meanwhile, Dr. Brantley is alarmed that new legislation introduced in the state legislature this week will further erode local funding of schools.  "To counter the measure which has already been introduced in the house (HB 279), it would take 1.71 mils in local tax dollars just to break even right now with what they are proposing.  We've already had almost $2 million taken away in austerity reductions.  I know at this point in time the state doesn't have the money, but there was a time when they did have the money and they were taking it away anyway.  I don't know what the mentality is there in Atlanta, but it's having a devastating effect on the local property owners.  If they continue to do that, we just can't exist as a local school system.  It needs to stop and it needs to stop immediately," he says.

Dr. Brantley believes children in Georgia's poorer counties are discriminated against because local property taxes can't generate as much school revenue as those in more prosperous counties.  "We get $66 per child from local taxes while the richer systems get $300 and $400 per child.  We can't even have music and they have symphonies and orchestras and all the electives in the world.  Just because our kids are from a poor county, we can't have any other program, we can only teach the basics and that's it," he reports. 

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