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Friday, March 30, 2018

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, MARCH 30, 2018

EDUCATION FUNDING MARKS END OF SESSION

In the last days of the 2018 session, Governor Deal left an indelible mark on education in Georgia by adding funds to the FY 2019 Budget to fully fund the QBE formula, removing the last vestiges of austerity with the addition of $194.7 million to the formula. This may mark the first time the education formula that funds local systems has been fully funded. Over the next weeks, this column will examine funding initiatives from the FY 2019 Budget along with legislation that passed affecting every area of life in the state.

TOP TEN REASONS TO LIKE THE 2019 BUDGET

1. Restores austerity reduction to the QBE Formula- $166.7 million. Governor Deal issued a letter raising the revenue estimate by $194.7 billion. This included the austerity reduction by $166.7 billion.

2. Funds $16 million in school safety bonds. Each school gets $25,000 plus an amount based on FTE count. to assist in implementing every school's safety plan.

3. Funds $100 million in bonds for transit- Atlanta area will expand rapid transit.

4. Starts program to pay for local jailer training- 25% of counties will receive training this year with Tier I counties getting priority.

5. Raises foster care daily rates to $10 per day- Helps those caring for foster kids.

6. Funds completed drug task forces for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in battle against opioid and other drug abuses. $2.3 million will complete existing task forces.

7. Funds a $4 million substance abuse recovery program in the Department of Behavioral Health to combat opioid abuse- Recovery is our weakest area.

8. Funds rural economic development initiatives totaling approximately $40 million. More on these initiatives later.

9. Funds two behavioral health crisis centers for $6 million. Centers will be located in areas of greatest need.

10. Budget growth continues to be at a moderate rate for a growing state− 3.6% over budget from FY 2018- state growth about 115,000 in population last year.


AUSTERITY REDUCTION FUNDS FOR FOURTH DISTRICT SYSTEMS

Bulloch: $1,060,981
Candler: $216,610
Effingham: $1,223,111
Emanuel: $432,470
Evans: $197, 130
Tattnall: $401,296

FOURTH DISTRICT BUDGET ITEMS

There are two projects in the bond package of the FY 2019 Budget affecting the Fourth District.

--$1,675,000 for equipment for the Plant Operations and Workforce Training Center at Ogeechee Technical College
--$49,900,000 for construction of the new Center for Engineering and Research at Georgia Southern University

OTHER EDUCATION RELATED BUDGET ITEMS

--$15 Million in bonds for new school buses
--$1.5 million in bonds for alternative energy school buses
--$318,387 for K-12 Vocational Equipment and Technology
--$2,481,335 for Technology upgrades and vocational equipment
--$6,420,000 for Vocational Equipment statewide
--$2,985,000 for Vocational Equipment Statewide

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