The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
A new Internet-based public high school—called the Virtual High School—will give students across Georgia access to summer school classes, Advanced Placement courses, and other advanced mathematics and science courses that they might not be able to take otherwise.
The online school was one of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s top priorities in this year’s session. Lawmakers approved the Republican governor’s request for $1.38 million to start the project. They also approved a request for $1 million to provide students in the state with online SAT preparation. (“Georgia Is All Business as It Moves to Improve State’s Showing on SAT,” March 23, 2005.)
More than 60 courses will be available through the online school. So far, 13 schools are participating.
The state’s fiscal 2006 budget of $17.41 billion includes $6.4 billion for K-12 schools, an increase of $500 million, or 8.5 percent, over the current fiscal year. Almost $140 million of that total is for enrollment growth in the school funding formula.
The budget also includes more than $105 million for a 2 percent raise for teachers, which will take effect Sept. 1.
In addition, the state budget includes $14.7 million to add 4,000 more students to the state’s nationally known program of universal prekindergarten.