Georgia teacher supply supplement will cost $20M

(The Center Square) – Georgia plans to spend about $20 million on a program to give teachers and school employees a $125 bonus, a state official confirmed on Friday.

Georgia announced the “Back-to-School Supply Supplement” program in July. Under the plan, the state will give a $125 supplement to teachers and school staff members “who work to provide instructional and supportive services directly to students on a daily basis.”

Officials said the money was necessary to offset the cost of classroom materials and help students rebound from learning losses they suffered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients can use the money to buy materials and supplies for “age-appropriate” educational purposes that help students.

However, spokespeople for the education department and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp could not verify the program’s cost when they announced it. Officials said they needed additional details from school districts across The Peach State before confirming the initiative’s cost.

On Friday, Meghan Frick, communications director for the state education department, divulged the $20 million price tag when The Center Square followed up to confirm. An estimated 160,000 “qualifying employees” will receive the $125 bonus, Frick said.

The state tapped into the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund to pay for the initiative. Georgia has about $59.7 million in GEER funds available.