Governor Kemp Signs Amended Budget into Effect at NAHS

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While students go to North Atlanta to learn about history, the school became a part of history on March 12 as Gov. Brian Kemp signed the amended state budget for this upcoming fiscal year. This budget is significant, as it not only gives the governor a chance to demonstrate his priorities, but it determines the amount of funding each department receives, including education.

North Atlanta was chosen to host this important event as many of the budget changes affect education, and the school has proven to be a statewide leader in this field. Administrators and government officials, including Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan and House Speaker David Ralston, came to North Atlanta from all over the state for this event.

For the governor, another more personal reason to choose the school is the fact that junior Larkin Rief is his niece. “It was such a special experience that my uncle chose North Atlanta,” said Rief. “It really made me feel more politically involved and connected to him.”

Some of the highlights of the budget include a greater emphasis on mental health programs and counseling for students, increased school security, and, perhaps one of the biggest changes, a pay raise for teachers. Georgia’s turnover rate for teachers is 44 percent, which is extremely high, so Kemp is hoping that offering higher salaries will help. “Budgets are a reflection of your values – your priorities for today and vision for tomorrow,” said Kemp.

In addition to education, the budget also prioritizes economic development, healthcare, and public safety. Public officials are optimistic. “Whether it is securing our school campuses to protect students and teachers or lending a hand to farmers in southwest Georgia recovering from Hurricane Michael, this budget delivers on Governor Kemp’s promise to ‘put Georgians first,’” said Ralston.

Whether these funding choices prove to be beneficial to Georgians or not still remains to be seen, but it is clear that they will create change. From teacher pay raises to better school safety practices, many educators are hopeful that theses changes will be positive.

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