SCCPSS seeks to revamp state funding formula

AMANDA PKG

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -Savannah Chatham County Public school leaders let local lawmakers know what they want pushed through the next legislative session.

One of the top priorities is revamping how the state funds public schools. The state currently uses a formula created in 1984 and passed the next year to fund public schools.

School leaders say needs have changed since then and that plan should as well.

Savannah Chatham County Superintendent Ann Levett says when lawmakers created a plan to pay for public schools 34 years ago, many of the things now common in classrooms didn’t even exist or if they did, they’re lilkely much more expensive now.

She says updating it has been a priority for educators across the state for nearly 20 years.

State lawmakers did fully fund public education last year, giving Savannah-Chatham Schools an extra $2.8 million dollars this year.

Levett says now that they’ve proven it’s possible, they should revamp the plan to account for current costs, something lawmakers say they’re hearing from lots of educators.

“When you’re talking about limited funds from the state, if we want to do anything beyond the bare minimum, we have to go to our taxpayers to do that or seek out grants, which of course, you’ve seen us do that as well, said Dr. Levett. "But that’s still does not meet the needs of our 38,000 students.”

“I think there’s a common thread throughout the state through education that number one is funding," said Representative Bill Hitchens. "I mean, everybody needs more money, and we’re a growing state. Our population continues to increase by a couple hundred thousand every year, so if nothing else, we have to fund the difference in what it costs per pupil to add all those people in and build new schools.”

Georgia’s next governor also made a big education funding promise on the campaign trail, to increase teacher pay.

It’s something the district wants to see as well.

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