Education

Poll: Georgia Voters Want More Efficient Use Of School Funds

A new poll from the Foundation for Excellence in Education shows most Georgia voters support an overhaul of the state's school funding methods.
A new poll from the Foundation for Excellence in Education shows most Georgia voters support an overhaul of the state's school funding methods.
Credit CHRIS FERGUSON / WABE

Georgia voters say the state is spending enough money on students, but it needs to use the funds more efficiently. That’s according to a new poll from the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Georgia spends just over $9,000 per student. Ryan Mahoney, the foundation’s southeast regional advocacy director, said almost half of those surveyed said that number is fine.

“Most people think we’re spending about the right amount right now, and the real question is less about how much we’re spending — whether we’re spending too much or too little — but how we’re spending those dollars,” Mahoney said.

But Claire Suggs, with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said Georgia’s per-pupil spending is about $1,600 less than the national average. Voters didn’t have that information when they were surveyed.

“Without that comparison data, it’s difficult to assess whether current spending is sufficient,” Suggs said in an email.

The majority of respondents supported reforming the way schools are funded and agreed schools should have more flexibility when it comes to spending money.

So far, a state commission tasked with overhauling school funding has made flexibility a key part of its plan.