Many of you may have heard recently about proposed changes to Georgia school funding formula by the Education Reform Commission. if you were not aware, Georgia virtual students are currently the lowest funded students in Georgia, with our students receiving only 50-60% of funding of the average of other public school students in Georgia.
The Funding Subcommittee of the State Education Reform Commission has chosen to recommend to specifically reduce the amount of funds that virtual school students receive from 66% of traditional schools down to only 50%, a reduction of over $6.5MM, or nearly $475 per GCA student. With funding increasing overall for the vast majority of school districts in Georgia under the new system, this would actually increase the disparity between virtual students and other public school students receive.
There were no specific reasons provided by the Funding Subcommittee for the reduction in funds for our students, and this source of funding does not even include State Capital funding, which other districts use to fund their buildings and grounds (and which virtual students already do not and would not receive). Virtual students currently have significantly higher class sizes, lower teacher pay, and fewer extracurricular activities that students in other public schools, not to mention the many additional academic supports, elective offerings, and other initiatives that the school would love to offer our students with fairer funding. Unfortunately under this new recommendation, virtual students stand to receive even less, taking three steps backwards, instead of one step forward. This recommendation has yet to be formally adopted or passed by the legislature, so if you feel that your students should be treated as fairly as other public school students, then I would encourage you to make sure your voice is heard. GFPVE is working hard to make sure that the decision-makers in this process understand how their actions impact our students.