Deal’s fiscal 2015 budget (for the year beginning July 1, 2014) is the 12th since Sonny Perdue became the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. All 12 have maintained education spending between 54 percent and 58 percent of all state funds spent. It was 56 percent to 57 percent in the years before Republicans took over.
In 2008, when state spending hit a then-record of $19.3 billion, education took up 57.8 percent of the total. Two years later, when it hit a recent trough of $16.6 billion, education took up… 57.8 percent of the total.
State budgets rose every year from 2004 to 2008, and education spending rose faster than the rest of the budget in four of those five years. As the Great Recession took its toll, education spending fared better than the rest of the budget in two of three years.
So when times were good and times were bad, education remained a priority within Georgia’s budget.
The rest of the budget has regained ground faster than education during the recovery, but that’s hardly surprising when education had fared better before that. It didn’t have as much ground to regain.
That’s not to say our public schools haven’t taken a hit since the recession; there’s no denying that. But because education was a priority, other programs took more of a hit.