Georgia Republicans have calculated that slowly bankrupting public education and figuratively dimming the hope of younger Georgians via the pre-K program or HOPE scholarships, is a sound fiscal and political strategy.
Younger Georgians, especially in the 18-24 range, should pay attention this fall and be ready to go to the polls to protect education in Georgia.
Nationwide, “Rock the Vote” announced that its goal for 2010 is to raise $3 million to increase participation rates and register 200,000 new young voters – quadruple its 2006 registration level.
Georgia needs this type of effort of reaching out to younger voters and making them more aware of what’s at stake in regard to them personally and how not voting could negatively impact their future if Republicans are able to maintain control of the Georgia state capitol.
Conservatives have continued to frame education as a luxury rather than a priority.
Roy Barnes as governor, Carol Porter as lieutenant governor, and Mike Thurmond as Georgia’s U.S. Senator can help restore education as a priority in Georgia. However, it is up to the voters to come out and let their voices be heard.
Georgia’s prekindergarten program and the HOPE scholarship could be on the proverbial chopping block as state officials are estimating that there could be a half billion dollar budgetary shortfall in lottery revenue in the next two years.
State lawmakers were at the Georgia Capitol recently to find ways to tackle this pending deficit. The Pre-K program does have reserve a fund, but it could be depleted very quickly.
Tim Connell, president of the Georgia Student Finance Commission, says with fewer people buying lottery tickets that the deficit by 2010 could be $1.2 billion dollars.
Georgia lawmakers have debated about rescinding book and fee stipends altogether along with establishing an income cap in regard to students who are eligible for HOPE.
In essence, it will become increasingly more difficult for Georgia college students to help fund their education, and you can thank Sonny Perdue and Georgia conservatives for this shortfall.
Perdue and Georgia Republicans have been generally hostile toward public education, and with Perdue being term-limited, the fiscal crippling of the HOPE/Pre-K program is a proverbial parting gift by one of Georgia’s worst governors.
The lottery-funded HOPE scholarship program has always been a target of Republicans. After seven years of Georgia conservatives being in charge of the state capitol , the HOPE program requires help from the reserve funds for the first time in nearly a decade due to this pending deficit.
The state’s lottery-funded prekindergarten will take a hit as well as it will and this vital program serves more than 80,000 4-year-olds every year here in Georgia.