Carter’s education plan: All it’s missing is how, how much, and for whom

You would be hard-pressed to find a political candidate who has spent more time talking about an issue without bringing any clarity to it than Jason Carter has done with education.

The Atlanta Democrat has made education — or more accurately, education funding — the centerpiece of his bid to unseat Gov. Nathan Deal. Yet, exactly what he would do about it remains something of a mystery.

Carter says he would establish a separate k-12 schools budget as a kind of “trust fund for education.” This, he says, would end the “shell game” that legislators use to fund schools today.

How much money would go into this fund? That’s hard to say.

Carter has criticized budget cuts that in some years hit $1 billion, although in truth that figure doesn’t represent an actual reduction in spending. Rather, it’s the difference between what was spent and what the state’s outdated funding formula said it should have spent, a figure the state has never hit. In any case, Carter hasn’t committed to spending a specific amount as governor.

How would he keep money from leaving the fund? That’d be hard to do.

The very first question I’d expect legislators to ask after receiving his school-funding request is, “How much will this leave for everything else?” The notion they’d simply pass that k-12 budget, no questions asked, and then deal with everything else the state does — colleges, Medicaid, courts, prisons, transportation, etc. — is the kind of fantasy that usually doesn’t last beyond the REM stage of sleep.

Where would he come up with the money for the fund? Carter insists he won’t raise taxes, but his alternative suggestions are lacking.

First, he was going to find it among the “giant amount of waste” in state government. But when pressed for specific examples, he demurred. Then, he was going to get it from tax delinquents who owe the state. But tax experts say that is an unlikely and unsustainable source.

Finally, after months of talking up the need for more spending as if every additional dollar sent to schools would be spent wisely, Carter allowed that some of the waste just might be found in … schools.

“I do believe that adding money to the system is not necessarily going to solve every problem,” he said at a meeting of the Georgia PTA earlier this month. “And I do believe in many school districts, especially the largest ones, you can do a lot to reduce waste, to make it more efficient … .”

Precisely which school districts ought to be watching their waste — and which ones would get some of the $1 billion, or however much Carter would add to the “trust fund” — is left to your imagination.

Curiously, Carter cites overcrowding in his son’s kindergarten class as evidence of funding shortfalls, even though Atlanta Public Schools last year spent more per pupil than all but two systems in the state. Among Georgia’s 10 largest school districts, APS not only spent the most per pupil; it outspent the No. 2 district, Fulton County, by more than $3,500 a head, or 37 percent.

So, is that overcrowded class an example of regrettable budget cuts or a wasteful misallocation of resources?

Cue Nancy Pelosi: You’ll have to vote for this trust fund to find out what’s in it, and for whom.

Reader Comments 0

72 comments
Virgie Hudgins
Virgie Hudgins

Nice ideas - I was enlightened by the facts . Does someone know if I might acquire a sample PHQ-9 A2663B copy to type on ?

luckjoe
luckjoe

I would not spend another dime on education until doing away with tenure. Once a teacher has tenure, no matter how bad they are, there are there until retirement.
The education system solution for poor performance is to add more layers of people. Instructional Coordinators, Literacy and Math Specialists, Interventionist, EIP teachers and more paraprofessionals. All at taxpayer expense. Money is not the problem, poor management is.

Trefusis
Trefusis

Jason Carter belongs precisely where he is.  I am so disappointed in this rendering of his sense of what is broke and isn't broke in GA ed.  He has no business running for the Executive office if his understanding of the problem is so rote and expensive.  It would be better to fire the campaign consultants as obviously they are boobs on the crucial matter.  Each thing Jason says is. I am sorry to say, exactly the wrong thing to say.  Thank goodness that he will lose the race.  Nice fellow, though.  But boy, how silly and lacking of care. 

Trefusis
Trefusis

Kyle, this is my field, now at macro-level.  So thank you for visiting it with your trained skepticism. (Certainly I agree).  It makes little sense to me that these candidates hit one another so hard over education, as, really, Georgia is rather good at that Game.  No one is serious about it however.  Just repeat that last assertion several times. Mr. Wingfield, because I know what of I refer. 


Georgia knows a lot.  These things take time and must pick the timing, so watch what happens in the forty days following certification of the Election.   I good conscience I probably should observe that about a third of Georgians lack functional literacy and suffer as a result and wish that their lack were not the...case.   Plenty of folks rush to remediate this problem but there are only about three persons in the state who understand how to stop it at the spigot.  It's a manufactured problem, and needn't be so.  


That's as far as you can goad this reader in criticism of Georgia's educators, who mostly I admire greatly and sort of jealously.  But it's silly to blame the crew for a leaky ship, and perhaps inadvertently you are referring to a hull full of gaping holes.  Please don't mention this to your colleague, as she's smugly in the teachers' dorm up on the Sun Deck.  The last thing she wants to contemplate is restructure.  She loves a system that bleeds money with diminishing returns, whereas I count upon your common sense and hard skepticism.

straker
straker

stonepony  - "it's time for corporations to do their share"


You and I both know that will never happen.

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Was at my buddies this weekend and he had a new wireless laser printer. Was helping him get it hooked up and I asked where the old wireless inkjet printer they had was....She has to use it at the school or the kids wont have anything is what I was told.

Great story so you will have a major problem with the below:

Besides her $375,000 salary and $2,000 monthly expense allowance, incoming Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen also will enjoy perks such as a home office, moving expenses and retirement contributions.


The problem with gov't is taxpayers pay for steak and get rabbit turds in return.


The far left hates corporate fat cats but doesn't seem to care about the egregious perks and salaries of the gov't fat cats.  Far left=far right

JackClemens
JackClemens

@Cupofjoe  "The problem with gov't is taxpayers pay for steak and get rabbit turds in return."


Now that's some good stuff right here. (Stands and applauds)

stonepony
stonepony

wait, you mean that giving tax cuts to businesses while starving education is something to praise?  Deal and the republican-led legislature has been underfunding education for years while corporations enjoy low to nothing taxation.  It's time for corporations to do their share instead of funding education on the backs of middle class citizens. Also, Deal raided the State Health care plan to balance the budget, but has never replaced the missing money, causing many state employees to suffer high deductibles and health care costs.  You cannot be a credible reporter and think that Deal supports education in this state.  PS - how many of our state legislature members are part of ALEC?  That's also part of the problem.

Jazzpman
Jazzpman

Ok Please tell us what the Deal Education Plan is ?

consumedconsumer
consumedconsumer

@Jazzpman from his website:


A strong education system leads to a strong economy. Both Gov. Deal and Sandra’s parents were teachers, so improving education has been and always will be a top priority for Georgia.

On the heels of the Great Recession, Gov. Deal knew it would be more important than ever to give our state’s schools more support and reward teachers with more take-home pay. That’s why Gov. Deal has taken action to increase education spending by including an additional $530 million this year, and is working to provide even more tools and technology to Georgia’s classrooms.

When Gov. Deal took office, Georgia’s Pre-K program and HOPE scholarship were on the brink of bankruptcy. Gov. Deal worked closely with Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly to save the HOPE scholarship, one of the most generous in the nation, for future generations. Under Gov. Deal’s leadership, HOPE is thriving once again. Gov. Deal was also able to restore our universal Pre-K to a full-day program, ensuring Georgia’s youngest scholars would continue to receive a high-quality education.

Gov. Deal believes that the quality of a child’s education shouldn’t be determined by his or her ZIP code. That’s why he advocated for the charter school amendment, which gives parents more options for starting a school in their community. In his next term, the governor will fight to implement Recovery School Districts to turn around schools that have consistently underperformed academically. More options and more flexibility will bring better results for our children.

Our state cannot afford to fail our students. That’s why Gov. Deal will continue to prioritize education spending in Georgia, starting with updating the 1985 school funding formula. Gov. Deal understands that Georgia’s budget must meet the needs of today’s classrooms, and will advocate for new technology that will give our students an edge in our state’s growing economy.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Tiberius-Constitutionus @Jazzpman Oh and you left out bringing healthcare to thousands of Georgians.


Seems that would increase the tax base with the jobs it would create..


But you know ..... we just cant afford it..Funny we can find millions for Gulfstream though.

stonepony
stonepony

@consumedconsumer @Jazzpman this propaganda piece is the biggest bunch of bull I"ve seen come out of a politician's mouth in years.  Shameless pandering, but it was a mistake to send that pamphlet to a bunch of educators.  Talk about smacking you in the face before slamming the door in it.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

He KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING.


Yup....Running this state right into the ground.


50th in unemployment. Quite an achievement.


And our roads and schools are crumbling...But hey....taxes are low !!!!

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@HeadleyLamar 

You see, Heady, government taxes people, people pay taxes, and therefore, people fund the government.  We aren't exactly in the lowest of the tax rates by state anyway.  What we need are more TAX-PAYERS, you know, those people who, in direct refutation of Jay Bookman, actually pay for things you like, such as roads and those awful public schools. 

Juanx
Juanx

@Yes_Jesus_Can @HeadleyLamar  Yes Jesus Can...reading your posts leaves one to wonder why can't dreamers dreams become reality? Aren't most dreamers just creative producers? If we can elect Senator Carter as Governor of Georgia the least of our worries will be that Ethics charges will be filed because Governor Carter could not keep his hands of other taxpayers money.

Dusty2
Dusty2

Gov. Deal knows what he is talking about when he answers questions or discusses an issue  That is what I like about him.  He KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING.


Carter is just a nice young ;pie-in-the-sky fellow with a hope for the future but no plan. Kyle has described it quite accurately. 


Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

The state of GA has revenue issues it must address, but our economy is still precarious.  Tax too much and the economic engine could sputter. 

Not good, Jason Carter.  Not good Democrats. 

Who in the country is doing the best, and what party are the leaders from?  Texas, Florida.... Republicans. 

Yes, Deal was my last choice for governor, but he is not with the tax-it-first-and-spend-it party, which he seems to be denying all the time. 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Great description on how Carter sees funding as important and imperative, even if he doesn't give specifics. 


Now, can you cite Deal's solution for restoring funding that he cut? 


Or does Deal just say "deal with it, Educators!  I didn't like the head of Education, so I cut his funding! " 


I'd rather have someone with at least a goal of funding education in this state. 

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@HeadleyLamar @LogicalDude 

Again, the condition of the roads in Atlanta isn't great either.  The state needs to do many things regarding funding many issues it has right now. 

Jason Carter is dreaming though if he thinks he can wave a magic bamster-like pen or phone a fix it.  In which case he's just as dopey as his grandfather. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LogicalDude I have several friends whose wives are schoolteachers


Its absolutely disgusting how underfunded they are. Most subsidize Public School education out of their salaries buying paper and printers for classrooms.


Was at my buddies this weekend and he had a new wireless laser printer. Was helping him get it hooked up and I asked where the old wireless inkjet printer they had was....She has to use it at the school or the kids wont have anything is what I was told.


Im betting that situation is not unique.

Astropig
Astropig

@HeadleyLamar @LogicalDude 

" Was at my buddies this weekend and he had a new wireless laser printer. Was helping him get it hooked up and I asked where the old wireless inkjet printer they had was....She has to use it at the school or the kids wont have anything is what I was told"

Was it that one that costs $168 at Best Buy?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Yes_Jesus_Can @HeadleyLamar @LogicalDude Jason Carter is dreaming though if he thinks he can wave a magic bamster-like pen or phone a fix it. 


Its not magic...Just have to roll up our sleeves.


Like I said the 40 million bucks we taxpayers give to Gulfstream is a start. Im sure there is plenty more waste to be found. Especially with an ethically challenged Governor's office the last few years.

notagain
notagain

Carter could collect around 74 mil owed the state by copart.This could help education some. 

Hopefully Deal did not make nonpayement of these taxes part of his junk yard deal.If so I suppose he could somehow blame this on his daughter and son in law.Do you know where this son in law is now employed?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Someone please lay out the cohesive principles that inform Deal's "plan" for education thus far?


It is a hodgepodge that has changed from moment to moment!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Here is an illustration of how Carter might make decisions:  He might hire/appoint people who KNOW this stuff rather than friends and family!

MHSmith
MHSmith

Last night's Governor's debate was a total waste of time. Deal will be re-elected. 



luckjoe
luckjoe

Mr. Carter sounds more like Barack Obama every time he opens his mouth.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

First, he was going to find it among the “giant amount of waste” in state government


Cut the 40 million dollar giveaways to companies like Gulfstream that don't need them anyway.


Just 1 gets you 1/20th to that billion dollars. I'm sure we could find a few more.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Wascatlady This is just math. The spending per child ($8,500) goes down more than the revenue available (less than $4,000) does when a child receives one of those scholarships. Multiply that by 13,000 scholarship recipients, and we're talking tens of millions of dollars of costs avoided -- above and beyond the revenue reductions. There is no harm to public education.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Wascatlady How is there a harm to taxpayers if the burden of funding education goes down, due to the reduced cost?

The cap for individual taxpayers (off memory) is $1,000 per year, $2,500 for a married couple. The cap for the state is ~$60M.


Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Wascatlady @Kyle_Wingfield Never mind most of that money goes to kids already IN private schools.


There are plenty of recordings of school administrators telling parents exactly how to game the system.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar "Never mind most of that money goes to kids already IN private schools."

Never mind that the law was changed so that that couldn't be the case.

All your information on this law is outdated, dating back to before it was amended to address claims -- unproven claims, I might add -- against it.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @HeadleyLamar http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/22/education/scholarship-funds-meant-for-needy-benefit-private-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


Anyone who wants to get a good unbiased read on the situation go there. Im sure Kyle will tell us a lot of these problems have been fixed...pull the other one


“A very small percentage of that money will be set aside for a needs-based scholarship fund,” Wyatt Bozeman, an administrator at the school near Atlanta, said during an informational session. “The rest of the money will be channeled to the family that raised it.”

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar Headley, I have pointed out on this blog numerous times how outdated that article is, including once today. I'm not going to waste my time having that argument all over again on a post that isn't about that law.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Kyle_Wingfield @Wascatlady That tax write-off would have gone toward needs of the ENTIRE populace, rather than a child or two and the private school administration.  Leaving the rest of us to pull harder and did deeper to fund the state.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Kyle_Wingfield @Wascatlady But there is harm to TAXPAYERS, who have to foot more of the bill for the other parts of our state expenditures.


Not sure you are taking into account economies of scale in education spending.


This year, what is the cap on the write off individually, and what is the cap for the state?

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

is the kind of fantasy that usually doesn’t last beyond the REM stage of sleep.

Where would he come up with the money for the fund? Carter insists he won’t raise taxes, but his alternative suggestions are lacking.

-----------------------------------

Leftist explanations are long on rosy outcomes but short on results, and ALWAYS short on the means to pay for them. 

Somehow, we are supposed to believe that Carter, like every Democrat in Georgia, and in Washington, DC actually aims to be responsible with expenditures.  Also like every Democratic, we are right to doubt his ability to do that with the most irresponsible political party in America.