Gov. Perdue Puts Emphasis on Education

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January 11, 2006
Governor Sonny Perdue is calling 2005 an economic comeback year for Georgia. Now he says education is at the top of his agenda for 2006. News 12 is on your side to explain the governor’s plans and how they will help out schools.

After years of budget cuts, Governor Sonny Perdue says he’s ready to open the door for education improvements. Now spending money where it matters most, inside the classroom.

“It is only common sense that we should spend our education dollars where they can do the most good and have the biggest impact on student achievement,” Perdue said.

Education, education and education. Governor Sonny Perdue made it clear during the State of the State Address that education is his top priority in 2006.

“And that is exactly why I’ve asked you to establish a standard for local school districts to spend at least sixty five percent of their budgets in the classroom,” Perdue said.

Perdue is promising more individual attention for students through smaller classes. His plan would cut the maximum number of students in kindergarten classes from 20 to 18, in first through 3rd grade from 23 to 21 and in grades 4-8 from 28 to 24.

“That is always a concern,” Mayor Deke Copenhaver said.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver says any educational improvement is good news, especially for Richmond County.

“The perception of us, our school system not being as strong as Columbia County is one of the things that contributes to our population loss,” Copenhaver said.

State teachers would also benefit from the governor’s proposal. He’s calling for a four percent pay raise. Right now Georgia teachers are paid an average of $46,000 a year. That raise hikes that to nearly $48,000.

“As long as the people of Georgia trust me to be their governor, our Georgia teachers will remain the highest paid teachers in the southeast,” Perdue said.

The governor wants to freeze teacher’s health premiums to help pay for the raise, a plan he’s hoping will get the support of the general assembly.

Some state lawmakers want the governor to restore about $1 billion cut from educational programs over the past three years. It’s obviously a topic they’ll discuss during this legislative session.