Today, Gov. Brian Kemp delivered his State of the State Address at the Georgia Capitol Museum. At the beginning of the address, Kemp promised to “put hard work and Georgians first,” fund priorities like education, public safety, and healthcare, and keep the government “efficient, responsible, and accountable.”
During the address, Kemp mentioned the Georgia Match Program, which he introduced at last year’s Workforce Summit. The program matches students in Georgia with colleges based on their HOPE GPA. “As of today, over 10,000 students have already “met their match,” said Kemp. “and we will keep working to reach every high school senior in Georgia so that they know there is a higher education path open to them right here in the Peach State, no matter their circumstances.”
Kemp’s amended 2024 budget and fiscal 2025 budget “double down” on the support of k-12 education. $1.4 billion has been allocated to total $12.8 billion in that area.
“Republicans and Democrats alike have supported this record investment in our students, and I want to take a moment and thank all of you for that strong, bipartisan achievement.” said Kemp.
However, Kemp noted that “increased funding does not always guarantee greater success.” He then addressed the ongoing debate around “school choice” and “educational freedom,” Saying that all parties should “get around a table” and agree on the best path for kids.
“In my opinion, what each of those terms or slogans fail to mention is the child.” said Kemp. “At the end of the day, our first and foremost consideration should be the future of that student.”
Lastly, Kemp proposed to make school security funding permanent to give students a safe education regardless of zip code. “Since I took office, I have had the opportunity to hold more than 30 roundtable discussions with educators and superintendents from all over this state,” said Kemp. “We heard frequently that our schools were in need of additional resources to enhance this security. That is why since 2019, we have provided more than 185 million dollars to all of our schools to help ensure the safety and well-being of our students and teachers.”
Kemp’s proposal includes a request for $104 million that will “go directly to school districts for school safety enhancements.” He said the schools will decide how best to use that money, whether it be for school resource officers or physical and technology improvements.” “I hope to see strong bipartisan support for this budget item to keep our kids and our schools safe,” said Kemp.
According to Kemp, the proposal also includes a pay increase for all state employees, including teachers. “This will build on the historic raises we provide it for educators overreach over recent years, and will increase every state worker’s pay by 4%,” said Kemp.
Kemp ended his address by praising the people in Georgia for their work throughout the past several years and encouraging them to keep “highlighting a different path” from the government in Washington.