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School Funding Campaign Continues in East Cobb

A Thursday meeting at the InfoMart will include a new push to lobby the Georgia legislature.

Claire Suggs of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, author of "The Schoolhouse Squeeze" report. Photo: Wendy Parker
Claire Suggs of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, author of "The Schoolhouse Squeeze" report. Photo: Wendy Parker
Local advocates for full public education funding say they want to spread their message across Cobb County and the state of Georgia. 

But the cradle of their efforts for the moment continues to be East Cobb. 

Two grassroots organizations -- one that formed in East Cobb last fall and another with a statewide focus -- will be having a public meeting Thursday morning at which they will launch a more concerted campaign. 

FACE It Cobb (Funding Awareness Campaign for Education) and EmpowerED Georgia will be briefing the public on school funding issues starting at 8 a.m. at the InfoMart, 1582 Terrell Mill Road. 

it will be the third such meeting in East Cobb in the last month. In November, around 200 Walton High School parents attended a meeting sponsored by the Walton PTSA that outlined the Cobb County School District's anticipated $80 million fiscal year budget deficit.

Last week, a packed house at East Side Elementary School heard more of the same at a forum sponsored by the East Cobb County Council of PTAs, including a declaration from Cobb Board of Education chairman Randy Scamihorn that the 108,000-student system is "broke."

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Thursday's meeting at the InfoMart will include the launch of "Stop Putting Our Schools on Shoestring Budgets Campaign" to lobby the Georgia General Assembly and to "keep incumbents and others running for office next year on their toes and accountable."

The featured speakers include Ciaire Suggs of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, who published a report on the state education funding shortfall this fall and also spoke at the Walton meeting. 

The "Shoestring Campaign" also is organizing a lobbying day at the state Capitol on Jan. 27. 

Cobb school officials estimate that state austerity cuts over the last decade have deprived the system of nearly $450 million in Quality Basic Education funding; the estimated fiscal year 2015 QBE cut for Cobb is $65 million. 

The cuts have resulted in nearly 1,400 teacher reductions through attrition since 2009, larger classroom sizes and teacher and staff furloughs.

FACE It Cobb was organized by Dodgen Middle School parents last fall. EmpowerED Georgia is a non-profit grassroots advocacy organization that has been involved in a variety of public educational issues, including funding, test scores, reform, curriculum and charter schools. 







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