Georgia Schools Strapped for Funds See Bible Studies Classes Shrink

Bible studies in public schools have suffered over the years due to controversies over the laws governing church and state, but in Georgia the issue of ending Bible classes might simply boil down to an issue of economics.

In a nation extremely cautious over the prospect of addressing religious topics in public schools, in 2006 the state of Georgia boldly decided that it would institute the presentation of bible studies in public schools. Five years later, classes are facing the prospect of being discontinued due to a combination of lack of funding and fewer students to fill classes.

According to The Associated Press, the viability of some Bible studies program hinges on the amount of students that are signed up for such classes. It is hardly an effective use of resources to offer a term of classes with a marginal amount of students.

A local school superintendent expressed the difficulty of utilizing the services of a teacher for a full class period with 10 to 15 students. Accordingly, such an exercise would be unreasonable in today's economy.

Since Georgia's law passed, a number of other states have instituted Bible studies programs, including Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Oklahoma. For many of those states it is explained that officials simply approve the program and allow local school districts the choice of offering classes.

Some school administrators point to the fact that it is not only difficult to find the resources necessary to higher qualified teachers, but budgets would also have to allow for the purchasing of text books and other materials.

Ironically, Georgia and other states who present Bible studies programs are in a better position than other states that exist under concerns of legality of such classes. Still, being able to do something and being able to afford it are two separate issues.

For some of these schools the needs are basic, Bible studies classes are seen as beneficial to the character and development of students, but districts have to be able to keep the lights on during class periods.

According to the AP, only 21 middle and high schools in 16 districts offered Bible classes in the last school year, compared to three times that many districts from four years ago. There are 180 school districts in Georgia.