SWGA lawmakers, educators react to amended state budget inclusions for education

SWGA lawmakers, educators react to amended state budget inclusions for education

Some of the things the budget includes are funding’s for schools and victim services.

State Rep. Winfred Dukes said one of the things he’s most proud of is restoring the funds for K-12 education.

“Schools are going through some very difficult times right now. In lieu of the pandemic, they’re suffering, and it would be even more difficult for them to go through this if they didn’t have the funds to educate the kids of Georgia,” said Dukes.

State Rep. Winfred Dukes (D) for Georgia's 154th District.
State Rep. Winfred Dukes (D) for Georgia's 154th District. (Source: WALB)

Dukes said Kemp and the Georgia General Assembly wanted to show schools how much they appreciate them.

The budget lists a $1,000 dollar bonus for teachers.

“It just shows our state leaders showing a little bit of appreciation for how much our school systems employees have gone through,” Kevin Dowling, Lee County Schools assistant superintendent, said.

The budget also gives a little more than $600 million in funding for K-12 education.

Dowling said that would help with staffing, infrastructure and advancing technology.

“Just looking at the pandemic. Virtually, you got some students, especially in our area of southwest Georgia, that live in rural Georgia and getting the internet is a struggle,” said Dowling.

For this reason, legislators included expanding broadband in the budget.

“It is a will of the General Assembly to see if we can expand broadband, in particular rural Georgia, and other areas of our state where people are lacking access,” said Dukes.

The budget also gives $455,000 to victim services after there were federal cuts.

“I think it’s incumbent upon the state to provide some level of service to those people who have been violated,” said Dukes.

Open Arms has been impacted by federal cuts to funding.
Open Arms has been impacted by federal cuts to funding. (Source: WALB)

Open Arms Associate Executive Director Rosalynn Fliggins said federal cuts are impacting them and that these local funds would help.

“It would be helpful because victim services includes sheltering of course abused, homeless and trafficked right here in our community,” said Fliggins.

Fliggins said the pandemic brought more costs.

“We’re having to take extra precaution making sure everyone is safe so that would be a huge huge help,” she added.

Kemp said this budget reflects Georgia’s values. He said by working together, he assured Georgia’s best days are still ahead.

Copyright 2021 WALB. All rights reserved.