• Georgia governor repeats pledge for additional teacher raise

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    ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Georgia's governor is repeating his commitment to a further pay raise for teachers, although he's not saying when the additional money is coming.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Gov. Brian Kemp made the comments Thursday speaking to the Georgia School Superintendents Association in Athens, as he also touted full funding of the state's education formula and new money for mental health services for students.

    The first-term Republican has promised a $5,000 pay raise for teachers. Earlier this year, he and lawmakers raised teacher pay by $3,000.

    "We've got to continue to work on paying our educators for the critical work that they do every day," Kemp said, "and as I said on the campaign trail my commitment is to ultimately raise the educator pay by $5,000 and I believe that we're going to get there."

    The governor has asked many state agencies to cut their budgets by 4% beginning Oct. 1 and to propose 6% cuts to him for the next budget beginning July 1. The school funding formula is exempt from those cuts. But Kemp repeated concerns that the state's fast-growing dual enrollment program is "on an unsustainable path." It pays for high school students to take college courses. Kemp says he believes some students are misusing the program, although he didn't elaborate.

    "I've been very clear that we're going to continue to have this great program, but we've got to make sure it's accountable and that the taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment," Kemp said.

    The governor also says he's still committed to overhauling state learning standards to dismantle the influence of the national Common Core effort, of which Georgia was a leader.

    Kemp said Thursday he's working with state Superintendent Richard Woods to develop "Georgia-centric" standards,

    "We have to be very careful about how we do that and how fast we move in doing that," so educators have time to adjust, the governor said.

    Both he and Woods, who spoke later, said they'd heard enough from teachers to know that schools are too focused on testing.

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    Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

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