Governor Nathan Deal signed the $26 billion FY 2019 budget on Thursday, and one of the most important items in the budget was the $17.7 million to fund the building of Camden’s local technical college.
Other items in the budget for Camden County include a fully funded education formula for the school district. Roughly $893,000 of state money will be restored to the district’s education funding formula. The school district has lost over $57 million in cuts since 2003, and Gov. Deal and the Georgia General Assembly has funded education at the tune of $9.6 billion since Deal has been in office. Additionally, the school system will receive about $85,000 in school safety funding. With this funding in place, the local school board can review and finalize their budget process for the next school year.
Camden County also benefited from additional funding for the Coastal Greenway project, $250,000, and the hurricane debris removal, $300,000, was also included in the FY2019 budget for Camden County.
The Greenway project looks to increase tourism by revitalizing and creating dedicated trails while for pedestrian safety in each of the six coastal counties in Georgia. In Camden County, the trails in St. Marys, Woodbine, and White Oak would be connected to all the other trails along the coastline in the six coastal counties.
The collective efforts of community leaders, local, and elected state officials advocated for the state funding over several years. This brings a total of the amount of funding from the state’s FY2019 to over $20 million to Camden County. Groundbreaking for the construction of the technical college will occur in September. The Coastal Pines Technical College Camden Campus will be located near the La Quinta Inn off Maycreek Dr. in Kingsland.
Reaction from Camden County’s elected General Assembly Members:
“It’s a great day for Camden County, and this has been a long-time coming,” said Rep. John Corbett. “I am glad that the students in Camden County will have a technical college that can provide the training and hands-on experience to equip them for the jobs of the future.”
“I am pleased that the budget allocates $17,795,000 in bonds for the construction of a new Coastal Pines Technical College campus in Kingsland,” said Sen. William Ligon. “Our community will benefit greatly from more educational opportunities that will be offered at the technical college.”
“The governor’s signature and final approval of the state budget marks the beginning of the culmination of many years of hard work to secure funding for our technical college in Camden County,” said Rep. Jason Spencer. “There have been many partners involved along the way to make this day happen, and I am proud to announce that these funds will now be coming to Camden County. I look forward to breaking ground on this project sometime in September, which will commemorate a jump start in our community’s workforce development.”
Other additional highlights in state FY 2019 funding are as follows:
- $30.8 million for the QBE Equalization program to assist low-wealth school systems
- $54.3 million for the University System of Georgia for resident instruction
- $26.7 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program
- $3 million to promote educational opportunities available at the state’s technical colleges
- $21.4 million for behavioral health services recommended by the Commission on Children’s Mental Health
- $38.9 million for child welfare services
- $240.9 million for Medicaid programs
- $11.8 million for community-based Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities services
- $6 million for additional Behavioral Health Crisis Centers
- $6.9 million for crisis services for children under 21 diagnosed as autistic
- $35 million in bond funds for the Savannah Harbor deepening project
- $12.5 million in bonds for improvements to state-owned rail systems