Abrams pledges to end ‘backdoor vouchers’ if elected governor 


Democrat Stacey Abrams vowed to fully fund Georgia’s k-12 education formula and end “backdoor vouchers” if she’s elected governor.

Abrams, who faces Republican Brian Kemp in November, outlined her education agenda Wednesday at a “back to school” event at her campaign headquarters. 

She said she would adopt a “more comprehensive” version of the Quality Basic Education Act’s formula, a decades-old funding calculus that’s never been significantly updated. 

Her tweaks to the formula would include increased investments in student transportation, technology and schools in low-income neighborhoods, she said. 

That won’t be easy: Gov. Nathan Deal made a similar promise to overhaul the formula during his 2014 re-election campaign before abandoning it amid entrenched opposition. She said what was missing during his second-term was the “political will” to make those changes. 

“We know it’s more expensive to educate a child who is poor, it’s more expensive to educate a child who speaks English as a second language, or has special needs” or live in rural areas, said Abrams. “You have to be willing to be honest with Georgians about why this has to happen.”

Pressed on how she would finance the increases without raising taxes, Abrams said the state’s improving economy already allows room for more financial flexibility. She pointed to Deal’s decision this summer to spend $100 million on a Ga. 400 transit line as an example. 

Another potential pot of funding would come from her plan to eliminate student scholarship organizations, a $100 million tax credit program for private school scholarships that Kemp wants to double. 

Abrams said that $100 million sum, which was raised by lawmakers from $58 million earlier this year, could be used to help pay for teacher salary hikes or technological upgrades.

“We have the resources,” she said. “We just have to be willing to have that conversation.” 

Kemp has largely echoed Deal’s approach to k-12 education. 

He supports expanding the state’s charter school system and providing more “school choice” options, along with new virtual learning opportunities geared toward rural students. He also said he would fully fund the state’s K-12 education formula.

 

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Political Insider

08/19 Mike Luckovich: Ungodly
08/19 Mike Luckovich: Ungodly

The pill that must be swallowed, if the state wants Atlanta's airport
The pill that must be swallowed, if the state wants Atlanta's airport

One of the most volatile and consequential conversations imaginable in Georgia politics is about to begin in the state Capitol. On Wednesday, Burt Jones, R-Jackson, will convene a 13-member Senate study committee to determine if the state should assume oversight of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, a vast economic engine that has been owned...
The Jolt: Brian Kemp makes course corrections for November
The Jolt: Brian Kemp makes course corrections for November

With a gubernatorial nomination in hand, Republican Brian Kemp has begun sharpening his approach on a few key issues. Call them course corrections, if you prefer. Let’s start with voting machines. The secretary of state has long said he wants to replace Georgia’s outdated electronic voting system and that he’s open to paper...
Torpy at Large: Who’ll get burned next as City Hall scandal steams up?
Torpy at Large: Who’ll get burned next as City Hall scandal steams up?

Another one bites the dust at Atlanta City Hall. This time, it’s former Mayor Kasim Reed’s deputy chief of staff, a highly educated City Hall veteran who pocketed bribes but insists she didn’t know what they were at the time. Oh well, I suppose the concept of corruption takes a minute to sink in on some people. Katrina Taylor-Parks ...
Ga. county under pressure to reject ‘ugly’ plan to close precincts 
Ga. county under pressure to reject ‘ugly’ plan to close precincts 

Pressure is mounting on Randolph County officials to abandon a proposal to close seven out of nine polling places in a predominantly African-American area in southwest Georgia.   Dozens of voters crowded an elections board meeting in Randolph County on Thursday to blast plans to close polling sites for the November election that were open...
More Stories