The Smarter Funding, Better Outcomes initiative recognizes the real possibility for better student, economic and state outcomes from improving the state’s school finance system. What might these outcomes look like?
Better Student Outcomes
Although an effective school finance system alone does not ensure that students will achieve at high levels, it is the foundation upon which strong schools are built. Georgia will only improve student outcomes if it makes the most of each and every dollar. Georgia’s school finance system must therefore support an equitable distribution of resources that targets funds where they’re needed most, allow districts and schools the flexibility to use funds to address the specific needs of their students, and be transparent enough to permit taxpayers and policymakers to determine outcomes and improve student achievement.
The 2012 General Assembly’s changes to QBE legislation show that policymakers are listening and interested in new ways to fund and improve Georgia’s public education system. And according to a 2012 survey, 55% of Georgia voters believe that local schools don’t have enough spending flexibility, while 66% believe giving more flexibility will improve performance.
The Smarter Funding, Better Outcomes report, to be released later in 2012, will introduce research and strategies exploring how Georgia school funding might better connect to outcomes and improve student achievement.
Better Economic Outcomes
The following illustrate how Georgia can benefit if we realize improved academic performance:
Income and Unemployment
- Georgians with bachelor’s degrees earn twice as much as those with only a high school diploma and are half as likely to be unemployed.
- Average household incomes are also doubled when headed by those holding a bachelor’s degree vs. a high school diploma; they triple when no one finished high school.
- Higher education yields higher tax revenues. On average, a person with a bachelor’s degree pays 72% more in state and local taxes than someone with a high school diploma.
- Converting 1% of high school grads in Georgia’s workforce to bachelor’s degree grads would yield $32 million more a year in state and local taxes – or $1.2 billion over a 40-year working life.