Rep. Terry England, R-Auburn, said at the appropriations conference committee Tuesday morning that the funding gap had weighed on the minds of lawmakers for years and applauded Gov. Nathan Deal and his staff for making it possible to finally close it. State revenue estimates rose $195 million, which produced the extra money for the education budget.
“We’re excited about that and tickled and again incredibly thankful to our governor,” said England, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The gap between the formula's promise and what the state actually paid schools was over a billion dollars wide when Deal took office seven years ago. He vowed to re-write the formula, a goal he was unable to accomplish despite the efforts of a year-long "education reform" commission. Still, he consistently added money to the school budget and gradually closed the gap as the state's budget recovered from the Great Recession.