Gov. Nathan Deal wants to plow more than 80 percent of new state spending next year into schools, following the strategy of predecessors who paved their way to re-election by embracing public education.
Facing challenges from two Republicans and Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter this election year, Deal on Wednesday promised to send $315 million to schools to end teacher furloughs, add school days and give raises as part of the largest education spending increase since before the Great Recession.
“These funds will provide our local school systems with the resources and flexibility to address the most critical needs of their students and teachers,” the governor said.
Raises for teachers are not automatic. Deal acknowledged that some teachers may go without pay increases, because he’s leaving it to local school districts to decide how to spend the money.
He also called for more than $400 million in school, university and technical college construction projects; millions for new programs to help Georgians complete degrees and afford technical college tuition; millions more to help improve Internet connectivity in schools; and extra money to get more people trained to be welders and health care technicians.