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Gainesville City Schools could face state funding cuts
Superintendent says loss of some money wouldnt hit until fiscal 2020
Wanda Creel
Gainesville City Schools Superitendent Wanda Creel

Gainesville City Schools is one of nine school districts and two virtual charter schools that could face cuts in state funding under recommendations from a subcommittee of the Education Reform Commission.

Gainesville Superintendent Wanda Creel said the changes, which would amount to a 2.3 percent cut — or $900,000 per year — wouldn’t kick in until fiscal year 2020.

The reduction would come because of the system’s high number of Early Intervention Program students, Creel said after talking to Susan Andrews of the governor’s office.

That program is offered from kindergarten through fifth grade, providing “specialized instruction in smaller classes to students who are performing below grade level,” according to the school system’s website. Creel said the state is proposing to cut some funding for such classes.

The subcommittee’s proposal comes as the committee is exploring wide-ranging changes to how education funding is allotted in Georgia.

While Creel said “it’s never good news that we have, in essence, to do more with less,” she appreciated having three budget years to make adjustments.

Creel said she found out about the recommendations around noon Wednesday.

The subcommittee meets again Nov. 12, a few days before commission chairman Charles Knapp hopes to give a full report to Gov. Nathan Deal. Creel emphasized that the proposal could still change before it becomes final.

She said the possible cut in funding is less than previous cuts by the state. One possible solution, she said, was moving some Early Intervention teachers into regular classrooms.

Lumpkin County was another one of the school districts that may see cuts, as well as Burke, Coffee, Crisp, Floyd, Haralson, Tattnall and Worth counties. Georgia Cyber Academy and Georgia Connections Academy also face possible cuts.

While these schools could see less money, the proposal increases Georgia’s overall education spending by 2.5 percent, or $234 million, to $8.4 billion.

Critics of the overhaul backed by the Republican governor argue that the commission hasn’t discussed how much a good education costs and is simply deciding how to split up a lower amount of money than schools needed.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.