As the top elected state official, each governor’s principal duty of 2019 is submitting a proposed budget to their respective state legislatures. While the budget development process originates with the governor, it signals the official start to the negotiation process that plays out annually between the governor’s office and other state officials over how funds will be allocated to critical programs funded by the state. Key amongst them is education. The proposed budget outlines recommended areas for scaling spending up or down and, by extension, serves as a primary indicator of critical issues that will be prioritized in the coming year.
As it relates to education, determining whether officials’ priorities are aligned with those of their constituents and the students in the state who need the most support is crucial. For this reason, the Southern Education Foundation has compiled a snapshot of governors’ proposed education budgets in the South to offer a clear picture of areas of promise, areas of concern, and equity-centered recommendations that will promote fair and just education investments throughout the state.
It is our aim to provide such insight during the critical window of time when the governor and state policymakers may still be influenced to address disparities that exist within the proposed budget prior to its approval. Furthermore, state legislators should be primed to listen to the needs of their constituents and, likewise, constituents should be holding legislators accountable for the level at which they prioritize the needs of all students in their state.