Education top priority in Gov. Brian Kemp’s 2023 and 2024 budget proposal

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 11:00 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has submitted his budget proposal for this year and 2024 to the General Assembly.

At the top of his list of financial priorities is education, hoping to allocate millions to help students get back on track.

It’s been two years since students across the country went virtual as COVID cases increased.

To help parents, BTG tutoring center on Gentian Boulevard, where students work on math and reading, opened its space to allow virtual learning.

“That was very challenging because you had different age groups and some of the younger ones, kindergarten, it’s hard for them to concentrate and look at that Chromebook all through that class,” said

Wanda Wozniak, director of the tutoring center, says its been tough for some students to transition back to learning in-person.

“For example, a third grader can come in for tutoring, and he’s doing multiplication, but he doesn’t have the concept yet. He didn’t get those foundational skills. So we’re having to back him up,” Wozniak adds.

To help those students get back on track, Governor Brian Kemp has made education a focal point of his budget proposal for fiscal year 2023 and 2024. Along with $2,000 salary increases for teachers, he’s also hoping to allocate $50,000 for school safety grants, $26.9 million to increase funding for school counselors and $25 million for grants to help with learning loss.

“It’s making a direction towards improving the quality of education that we deliver to our scholars, reinvesting in our future,” said Darryl Carter, President of the Muscogee County Educators Association.

Carter is also a former Muscogee County teacher and a current counselor as a local elementary school. He says his job as a counselor is very rewarding.

“When they’re thinking about getting off course or something like that, they probably need someone, an adult friend and kind of pull them back in and hone them back in and say, ‘Hey, you can make it,’ when they’re putting their self down saying this is just too much. It’s too hard,” said Carter.

Carter says he’s also hopeful these proposals pass.

“I think Muscogee County is a very, very resilient type of school district and I think we can bounce back from anything. It just may take a little time but I’m glad that there’s funds there to help that process out,” Carter adds.

Tax season is right around the corner and Governor Kemp also wants to add more money on to what some taxpayers are already expecting. Outside of education and a bigger tax refund, he’s also hoping to allocate funding to help state and local law enforcement.

To access the full budget report, click here.