Fair Funding for Virtual Students
Your Voice Matters
What is the problem?
In 2012, the parents of virtual public school students worked harder than any other group to win support for a Georgia constitutional amendment to protect state charter schools. After fighting and winning this battle, our kids are not yet getting the $5,800 per student funding level that was universally agreed to as an appropriate funding amount for online education. This funding level was reached after exhaustive data analysis, is much less than brick and mortar schools spend per student, and is well below the national virtual average of $6,037 per student. This means our virtual students in Georgia aren’t getting the services they deserve and that their taxes are paying for. Making matters worse, virtual parents are not being given a chance to discuss these concerns in an open public process.
How will adequate funding help in Georgia?
The state of Georgia saves over $50 million per year by educating the current virtual population in this much more cost effective model. Adequately funding virtual education will ensure that it is effective and able to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Current funding levels don’t allow for reduced class sizes, blended learning centers, a full range of courses and electives, STEM certification, and extracurricular opportunities for students. It is wrong to treat virtual students (whose parents pay state and local taxes just like everyone else) differently by refusing to allow them the same basic services as traditional students. Making a reasonable investment in online learning at the previously approved level is sound public policy and still below the national average for virtual schools.
What can I do to help?
Please call your State Senator and State Representative personally and urge them to direct their budget office staff members to work with the State Charter School Commission to immediately return virtual funding to the $5,800 per student level. You can locate your district number for House and Senate at mvp.sos.state.ga.us and contact info for each of them at www.legis.ga.gov. You should also contact Governor Nathan Deal (404-656-1776) and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle (404-656-5030) to make the same request since both represent all Georgians. Remember many of these elected officials are strong supporters of virtual education and may not be aware that virtual funding is in danger. Please urge them to take immediate action to address the issue and ask them to get back in touch with steps they plan to take.