Education tops Governor Perdue's list - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Education tops Governor Perdue's list

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January 11, 2006

Atlanta-- Issues teachers are concerned about are getting a lot of attention at the state capitol. In his state of the state address Wednesday, Governor Sonny Perdue outlined his priorities to create jobs and help local communities. But he wants the changes to begin with education.

Governor Sonny Perdue made his state of the state address before a packed gallery. "Today marks the fourth time that you've allowed me to come before you to report on the state of our great state of Georgia," says Perdue.

In what he calls "sunny days" ahead, Perdue addressed jobs, state spending and state advances in technology but his top priority is something else. "Education. My education budget has a strong classroom focus," says Perdue.

Perdue wants school districts to spend at least 65 percent of their budgets in the classroom and he also feels that education begins with the teachers. "That's why I want us to give our teachers a well deserved 4 percent pay raise," says Perdue.

That's good news for South Georgia teachers like Morris Rainey, added benefits for a job he already loves. "I wrote an essay in the tenth grade, 'What will I be doing in 10 years?'. I described in the classroom," says Rainey.

Now his classroom and others will possibly be changed for the better with the new budget. "My budget includes 163-million dollars for class size reduction. My budget also includes 447-million dollars in bonds for classroom construction, new equipment and for buying 1000 new school buses," says Perdue.

Lt. Governor Mark Taylor says he agrees with Perdue's plans but he feels more work needs to be done. "Governor I hope we can work together to reduce class size in this state. I'll also support your effort to increase teacher pay but one time election year proposals will not solve our education problems," says Taylor.

Teachers say a big solution to the education problem would be the addition of more teachers. "Or all the buses and all the supplies and all the computers won't mean anything because we've got nobody to instruct the kids," says Rainey.

New changes could be an attraction for new educators and renewed hope for those already in Georgia schools. "My job is education. I love educating children. It's got to be a top priority too. They're our future," says Rainey.

It's a future Governor Perdue sees starting soon in Georgia beginning with the classroom. "God bless America and God bless Georgia," says Perdue.

The governor also wants to give teachers a 100-dollar gift card to purchase classroom supplies. He also to put counselors in every high school to help students graduate.

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