Teachers give 2007 budget an "A" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Teachers give 2007 budget an "A"

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March 31, 2006

Cairo- Georgia's 18.6-billion dollar budget for next year places an emphasis on education. With almost three quarters of the new revenue funneled to schools, teachers in south Georgia give state legislators an A on their 2007 budget.

If it were a test, state legislators would have passed. The new Georgia 2007 budget places a strong emphasis on education, starting with a four percent increase in teacher salaries.

"I think it's important because I'm afraid we might lose some of our best teachers to another industry if they're not paid a fair wage," said Helen Martineau, a second grade teacher.

Last year, teachers only got a two percent increase and that applied to only half the year. They say, this administration is finally taking notice of their efforts.

"We've kind of gone on to a dry spell where we have not been receiving that many raises so our averages have dropped," said Patsy Clark, Principal East Side Elementary.

The state also agreed to spend 10 million dollars to supply each teacher with a 100 dollar gift card they can use to buy supplies. Something they say will go a long way towards learning in the classroom.

"Teachers spend more time with their children than parents do so it's a very important job and they've never been recognized for the excellent job that they do raising their children," said Clark.

In this election year, the Governor has said education is a top priority, something teachers learned some time ago. The state legislature will also provide 15 million dollars for a dropout prevention program to keep kids in school. The state budget takes effect July 1st.

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