ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp covered a lot of ground Wednesday in his fifth State of the State address Wednesday. There was a big focus on education and crime.
He made a lot of claims about teacher raises and gang arrests. 11Alive took those statements to the experts to verify if they were true.
Have Georgia educators seen a $7,000 pay raise in the last five years?
Yes, this is true as $2,000 of the $7,000 pay raise is proposed in this year's fiscal year budget.
WHAT WE FOUND
After fact-checking Kemp's claims about the amount of teacher raises, he's correct that educators have seen a pay bump over the last five years.
“In total, we will have given hardworking educators a $7,000 pay raise in just five years. No other General Assembly or governor will have raised teacher pay by so much, so quickly, in state history," Kemp said.
Verdaillia Turner, the president of the Georgia Federation of Teachers said its been a consistent budget line item during Kemp's five years in office.
“He marshaled that through, and all teachers ought to be very grateful. He is one man and he's had to fight some folks, even in the General Assembly, to get those budget items in there," Turner said.
The video below is from his proposed pay raise in 2022.
Does Georgia have the highest teacher salaries in the region?
Ultimately, yes. The average teacher salary in Georgia leads the southeast.
WHAT WE FOUND
Thanks to Kemp and Georgia's General Assembly consistently approving pay bumps, average teacher salaries are the highest in the southeast. This is also in part because of Kemp's proposed $2,000 raise for educators.
“With the passage of this budget, the average teacher salary in Georgia will also now be over $7,000 higher than the Southeast regional average," Kemp said.
Turner said this helps Georgia's salaries remain competitive and attract top educators to the Peach State.
“The governor is doing a good job in terms of making Georgia first and he's setting the bar very high for the rest of the region," Turner said.
Has Georgia's Attorney General's Office indicted more than 50 alleged gang members in the first six months of creating its specialized unit?
Yes, the new gang prosecution unit has made more than 50 arrests since it was activated in July.
WHAT WE FOUND
“I’m grateful that the Attorney General and his team have already indicted over fifty gang members in just the first six months of standing up this Unit, with more on the way," Kemp said.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr's Office tells 11Alive the new gang prosecution unit has arrested 50 alleged gang members since the unit was formed on July 1, 2022.