Georgia's top educators in town talking tight school budgets across state

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 27, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Leaders from the state's superintendent office were in town and they weren't here with very good news.

For quite some time, you have heard schools are trying to do more with less for your kids.

It looks like it's going to be quite some time before that changes.

State Superintendent Dr. John Barge was supposed to be here but got sick. His staff was here instead, and they say picking on public schools has become "a blood sport."

Georgia Department of Education Chief Academic Officer Dr. Mike Buck, said, "They are trying to do more and more and more with less and less and less."

Buck says our local schools aren't the only ones feeling the pinch.

Richmond County Board of Education member Jimmy Atkins said, "Richmond County is no different than any other school district in the state of Georgia -- over two-thirds of the systems are facing furlough days."

Buck told the crowd, "Furlough days, by any other name, are pay cuts."

Columbia County School Superintendent Charles Nagle said, "As far as the economy is concerned, it's time that we step up and find other ways and other means in our state to try to raise money."

Burke County School Superintendent Rudy Falana said, "Doing more with less. We've got a system that's working really well now but we have to continue to move forward."

Another hot topic was the charter school amendment.

"We don't need another agency created that takes any funding away from what we are already trying to do," Buck said.

The hotly-debated amendment would essentially strip the power of local districts to say yes or no to charter schools.

Folks were firing questions for state leaders and we had one of our own about Richmond County's latest test scores, which have been called "embarrassing."

"I think we all have to circle the wagons. How a student performs on those end of the course tests is a byproduct of many things. It's what they bring with them into the classroom, the caliber of the instruction," Buck said.

Meetings like this one may be an important step in finding answers and facing challenges in the classroom.

Buck says that is why they are here: to learn more about what is going on in the local districts and trying to push better practices.

They also told everyone it'll probably be at least another three years before we get some good news on the budget.

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