Ga. schools see drop in students for Bible classes

By Dorie Turner

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 26 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

In this Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, photo, Senior Amanda Weldon turns a page during Bible class at Woodland High School in Cartersville, Ga. Georgia was the first state in the country to allow Bible classes in public schools, but the number of districts offering the classes have dwindled to just a handful as budgets remain tight.

David Goldman, Associated Press

ATLANTA — Georgia was the first state in the nation to allow Bible education classes in public schools five years ago.

Back then, the debate was over the separation of church and state. Now it's a matter of money. With dwindling budgets in many school districts nationwide, the number of districts in Georgia offering the classes has dropped.

Superintendents there say interest has waned and schools don't have the money to pay for courses with only a few students enrolled.

What's more, budget cuts mean it now takes more students to fill up a class — some classes need more than 25 enrolled before they are considered affordable.

Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Oklahoma also allow such Bible classes, but those states don't track which districts offer them like Georgia does.

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