Legislative Updates 2012

Stay tuned to this post during the next month or two. We will try to add news as it reaches us from the Capitol during this legislative session.  Please send updates to the blog at dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com

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Submitted by David Montané:

By banding together with Republicans, one of the DeKalb Delegation, Democrat Senator Jason Carter, may succeed where other Democrat Senators failed. Last year, he and five Republican Senators sponsored Senate Bill 49, which if passed into law would raise the age for mandatory education from 16 to 16-1/2.

Last year, Senate Bills 14 and 208 sought to raise the mandatory education age from 16 to 17, and Senate Bill 43 sought to increase the range of mandatory education from ages 6-16, to ages 5-17. All sponsors of these three bills were Democrats, including several from the DeKalb Delegation. SB 49 was the only one of the four bills to make it out of the Education and Youth committee, and to be re-activated in the current legislative session. Republican Senator Fran Millar, also part of the DeKalb Delegation, is the committee Chairman.

Unfortunately, this mandate would: further expand the state’s power over the people, is estimated to add $8 Million to the state budget, and may give school boards (including DCSS) yet another excuse to increase local taxes instead of tightening their belts. Forcing would-be high school dropouts to remain an extra semester will not have the desired effect (more jobs or higher pay), instead leading to even more teenage angst, more truancy, more security risks. More disgruntled students distracting the attention of teachers from your motivated child.

The bill can be found at http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/32420.

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http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display/20112012/HR/738

The proposal of HR 738 is of even more concern to me as a parent. I don’t want anyone interfering with my rights as a parent, and I hope that people will take the time to support this bill!

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From Mary Margaret Oliver’s newsletter:

HB 671, which was pre-filed by MMO, has been re-introduced as required, and MMO is serving on a specially appointed committee of the DeKalb delegation to redraw election district lines for the County Commission and the DeKalb School Board.

There will be a public hearing on how these lines should be drawn, and how the School Board will be reduced from nine to seven members as required by SB 79.

We will certainly be ‘watching’ for that information!

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UPDATE:

Nancy Jester has posted the suggested new district maps on her blog. You can download them here.

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DeKalb lawmakers may delay school board reduction

Lawmakers took no decisive action Wednesday to overcome an impasse over a mandate to reduce the number of school board members in DeKalb County, but they did grasp for a potential solution — one that could involve voters.

The meeting of the county House delegation was civil, in marked contrast to one last week when members complained that race-based politics had made compromise impossible.

The House group, prompted in part by word of new legislation in the Senate, unanimously decided to study the matter further. They established a committee to talk with legal staff about proposals that would postpone for two years the mandated reduction in the school board from nine members to at most seven.

A law passed last year requires that reduction to take effect in January 2013. That law didn’t stipulate a process, and legislative leaders gave the local delegates until Wednesday to agree upon a method and a map.

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UPDATES for Center for and Educated Georgia – FEB 24, 2012

House Passes Charter School Constitutional Amendment; Senate Vote Expected Soon

School Choice RallyOn Wednesday, February 22nd, the Georgia House of Representatives passed HR 1162, the proposed charter school constitutional amendment. The resolution received 123 votes in favor after Representative Jan Jones (R-46) worked with House Democrats to create a compromise bill that addresses charter school funding and clarifies the state’s role in authorizing charter schools. The House Democratic Caucus voted to rescind its opposition to HR 1162, allowing Democrats who support the resolution to vote freely.

Click here to see how your representative voted.

On Thursday, February 23rd, the Senate Education and Youth Committee passed the resolution. It now goes to the full Senate for a vote.

Contact your state Senator today by phone or email to tell them, “Please vote ‘Yes!’ on HR 1162 and protect Georgia’s charter schools.”

Click here to find your state Senator’s contact information.

School Grading Bill Passes Senate Committee

On Thursday, February 23rd, the Senate Education and Youth Committee unanimously passed a bill that would require the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education to assign each school and school system a letter grade on the quality of learning by students. The grade would come from a 0-100 numerical score calculated using measures of student achievement, achievement gap closure, and student progress.

The Center for an Educated Georgia released a report in fall 2011 comparing student achievement in Georgia and Florida, and encouraging letter grading of schools as one of four primary recommendations for improving education in Georgia.

The bill, SB 410 sponsored by Senator Tommie Williams (R-19), also requires the publication of annual indicators on each school and school system’s financial efficiency and school climate. SB 410 now heads to the full Senate for a vote.

House Introduces Parent Trigger Legislation

StudentHouse Bill 731, sponsored by Representative Ed Lindsey (R-54), allows a majority of parents at a public meeting to agree by secret ballot to convert a school to a charter school.

Under the bill, eligible schools include schools that failed to meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) for two or more consecutive years, a school in a local system that is on probation or lacks accreditation, or a traditional, noncharter public school operating for at least 10 years.

The bill is awaiting a hearing by the House Education Committee.

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19 Responses to Legislative Updates 2012

  1. Every decade, after the U.S. Census is completed, state governments, or an independent body, make changes to district lines at all levels of government.

    This means, a citizen who lived in one county commission or school board district last year may live in another district after the boundaries have been redrawn and approved.

    Oliver’s HB671 “addresses the issue of just how we go about reducing the school board’s size,” she said. “We can’t just decide to suddenly shorten the term of office of someone who has been duly elected by DeKalb citizens without taking the proper steps. So this bill is designed to work out all of those questions.”

    For more read here:

    Oliver Playing Major Role In DeKalb Redistricting

    This is SUPER important everyone… please pay attention!

  2. East Atlanta Lawmaker Heading DeKalb Redistricting

    JANUARY 21, 2012

    State Rep. Simone Bell, D-Atlanta, is chair of two House DeKalb caucus committees that will be determining the new boundaries. The redistricting is mandated by the federal government every 10 years when a new Census is completed and released.

    Bell said public hearings may begin as soon as the next one to two weeks.

    “We’ll be working with representatives from both the county commission and the school board to determine the new lines, and then bring those maps back to the full delegation,” she said. “These committees will be doing the legwork.

    “Our timetable is to have everything reported out of the legislature by Feb. 14,” she added.

  3. THE MAIN POINT:

    Every decade, after the U.S. Census is completed, state governments, or an independent body, make changes to district lines at all levels of government.

    This means, a citizen who lived in one county commission or school board district last year may live in another district after the boundaries have been redrawn and approved.

  4. Bill would expand tracking of SPLOST money

    County residents could get more insight into how Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes are spent under a proposed law.

    Voters approve the taxes, which are spent on infrastructure such as roads, public safety and libraries.

    House Bill 814 would make local governments disclose any surplus money not spent for an approved project, the estimated date of completion for projects funded and the actual cost of projects once finished. Local governments already publish yearly a report showing money spent, costs changes in approved projects and how much is spent yearly.

    “SPLOSTs allow voters to decide whether they want to be taxed to support a very specific project, but once their approval is given, voters have very little oversight in assuring that their hard-earned money is used appropriately,” said the bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Alex Atwood, R-St. Simons. “HB 814 would rectify this by allowing voters to see exactly how much money their tax generates and how that money is used.”

  5. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    We’re now told, (reliable source)

    “Millar has proposed delaying the entire process until 2015 and shortening board terms as they expire so everyone faces election in 2014 for the seven new seats. If all nine board members choose to run again, two board members in each end of the county would face off under Millar’s plan, thus defusing any charges of favoring one area over another in the reduction to seven members.”

  6. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Updates have been added from the Center for an Educated Georgia.

    In addition, they recommend the following link to this handy guide from the Georgia General Assembly outlining the details of how a bill becomes law.

    http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/senate/publications/habbal.pdf

  7. Georgia PTA’s Legislative Update for February 26, 2012

    Update on the Charter School Resolution: We still need your help!

    HR 1162, the constitutional amendment that would allow the state to create charter schools passed out of the House this week and in a highly unusual move was heard and passed out of committee in the Senate the next day. As reported last week, language to address funding was added supposedly to prevent the local dollars from being allocated to the state authorized schools but in the Senate committee meeting the author stated that while a specific school districts dollars would not be appropriated, the dollars would come from all the school districts. In real terms that means the total dollars allocated for education in the state budget would not change (the pie isn’t getting bigger), so the dollars would be taken from one education budget and reallocated for the state charter schools. She also stated that this would set up a dual education system in Georgia.

    The enabling legislation still has not been seen that would explain who would provide the authorization or oversight nor has the funding issue been fully clarified. If the state can’t afford to fully fund public education today (the state still underfunds public education by over $1B annually) where will they get the dollars to fund new charter schools? The wording of the ballot question is still misleading. Until these questions are addressed we ask you to tell your senators to oppose HR 1162.

  8. Legislation Update:

    School Maps: Every school district and commission district must be redone to account for changes in population since the last census. While several districts passed their maps during the special legislative session this summer, the majority of the maps are being redrawn and submitted for approval during this legislative session. Each county delegation (comprised of all house and senate legislators who have a portion of that county) has the final say in how the district lines are drawn and may or may not take input from the local officials whose districts are being redrawn. PTA members are urged to pay attention to the proposed changes.

    SB 289: Students starting high school in the 2014-15 year would be required to complete at least one course online. State Board can provide a system waiver if resources are not available. By 2015-16 all EOCTs would be taken online. Removes priority status of public school students taking GA Virtual School courses. Bans a school from prohibiting a student from taking a course online if it is offered at school. By the fall of 2012 every student must be informed of the opportunity to take full or part time virtual instruction. Passed Senate

    SB 403/HB 935: School nurses are to be included in the QBE formula for funding and use the FTE student counts in calculation of the grant to go to school districts (1:750 elementary, 1:1500 for middle and high). Provides money for clinic supplies, heretofore never funded. Funds a state wide coordinator in DOE. SUPPORT Passed Senate Appropriations

    SB 404/HB 936: Professional development funds to include school level administrators. State strategic initiatives can use professional development funds. Passed Senate Appropriations

    SB 410: A new way to evaluate schools as a result of the NCLB waiver. Schools would receive a numeric grade based on a variety of factors including academic proficiency, closing achievement gaps and financial efficiency. Would also earn grade and star ratings. Passed Senate Ed.

  9. Georgia PTA’s Legislative Update for March 4, 2012

    The Georgia General Assembly meets for 40 days. On Day 30, Crossover Day, if a bill has not passed either the House or the Senate then it is considered dead. This coming Wednesday, Mar. 7, is Crossover Day. If a bill hasn’t passed out of committee by Day 28 it can’t get on the Rules calendar to be considered on the floor so if it hasn’t passed out of committee at this point then it is likely dead. There is always the possibility that the language of a bill may get appended to another bill but that doesn’t happen often. This week’s report will summarize the status of bills that recently passed or need to pass before Crossover Day.

    Legislation in the House or Senate this week:

    HB 641/SB 127: Child protection and Public Safety Act, the comprehensive revision of the Georgia Code’s juvenile court provisions. SUPPORT Passed House – Unanimously! Thank you to all who contacted your Representatives asking for their support on this important bill.

    HR 1162, The constitutional amendment that would allow the state to create charter schools was heard on the Senate floor this week but when it became apparent that the Senate didn’t have enough votes to pass it with a constitutional majority the bill was tabled. The bill can be pulled from the table any time between now and the end of the session and brought to a vote. There is a lot of arm twisting going on to get Senators to change their votes. The Governor’s office is applying pressure, for-profit education management groups are bringing in people from out of state to lobby and one pro-charter/pro-voucher organization is even resorting to offering Starbuck gift cards to those people who will lobby for this bill. While we are a non-partisan organization we thank the Senate Democratic Caucus for holding together united in its opposition on this bill. Please take a moment to thank them by calling their offices. They are being bombarded by well funded organizations and appreciate when their own constituents reach out to say thank you for holding strong against such political pressure. OPPOSE

    SB 403: School nurses are to be included in the QBE formula for funding and use the FTE student counts in calculation of the grant to go to school districts (1:750 elementary, 1:1500 for middle and high). The provision to provide money for clinic supplies and a state wide coordinator in DOE was removed and will be funded through a grant. SUPPORT Passed Senate

    SB 404 Professional development funds to include school level administrators. State strategic initiatives can use professional development funds. Passed Senate

    Legislation that Passed in Committee that must pass by Wed. to continue:

    Two education related bills that will be heard on Monday are listed below. Several more that need to be heard by Wed or die are also listed below.

    Scheduled:
    SB 410: A new way to evaluate schools as a result of the NCLB waiver. Schools would receive a numeric grade based on a variety of factors including academic proficiency, closing achievement gaps and financial efficiency. Would also earn grade and star ratings. Scheduled to be heard in the Senate on Monday.

    HB 673: Return to Play: By Jan. 2013, the state board of education, SBOE, shall develop and distribute to local school districts mandatory guidelines for informing and educating coaches, student athletes, and parents about the risks of concussions. Guidelines must include criteria for removal and return to play, and risks of not reporting the injury and continuing to play. Local school boards shall, by July 2013, develop procedures and regulations which must require: annually, each student athlete and parent be given information about concussions and the athlete and parent shall sign that they have received same; immediate removal of a student athlete from activity should a concussion or brain injury be sustained; and no return to play on the same day and only after a medical evaluation with written clearance from the medical provider. Also applies to cheerleaders. Scheduled to be Heard in the House Monday

    Passed Committee But Not Yet Scheduled for House of Senate Vote:

    HB 651 In an ironic move, the House Ed voted to eliminate funding for charter systems. Under current law, by 2015 a school system must choose to be a charter system, an IE2 system or declare they are keeping the status quo. Systems that become charter systems are awarded a financial incentive per child.

    SB 364: Would prohibit standards based grading in grades 4-12, except where grandfathered. SBOE could not waive this ban.

    SB 498: Would prohibit public entities (including schools) from erecting cell towers if zoning laws would prevent them from being erected on the adjacent private property.

    SB 501: Repeals the charter school commission language. Creates a charter school advisory commission. Charter school applicants would apply to local boards of education and the advisory commission. The advisory commission would provide assistance to the local school board and the charter applicant to resolve issues that might be impediments to charter approval. The local board votes to either approve or not. If the charter is denied, then the state board of education may consider withholding of state funds to the school system. Bill is considered as an alternative to a constitutional amendment to respond to the Supreme Court decision of May 2011 that made commission charter schools unconstitutional. All charters approved would be local. The threat of state fund withholding to local systems is an incentive to those local boards which refuse to consider any application of a charter. Denial of a charter for good reasons would not result in a financial penalty. This could be a viable alternative to HR 1162. Bill has bipartisan sponsors

    SB 493: Persons ages 18-21 will be eligible for gun licenses to carry. Requires training by a licensed firearms instructor within 3 months of application. The school safety zone has been erased in law. This means students can bring guns onto campus, but not in buildings. Passed Sen. Judiciary

    SB 452: The SBOE must hold hearings about school board members in districts which lose accreditation to make a recommendation to the governor regarding whether the board members should be suspended or removed from office. The hearing must be held within 90 days of the loss of accreditation, up from 30 days. The local board of education must pay the costs of the hearing, which are costs of court reporters, travel expenses of state board members to the hearing site, and miscellaneous costs.Passed Sen Ed

    PTA Day:

    PTA Day at the Capitol, held on Tuesday, was a success with approximately 300 members having the opportunity to hear first hand from our State Superintendent, John Barge, how GA PTA’s legislative priorities tie in with the Department of Education’s initiatives. Dr. Barge gave an overview of the recently received waiver that the State received to relieve Georgia of some of the requirements under No Child Left Behind. Advocates then visited the Capitol to talk to their representatives and senators about voting for the juvenile code rewrite and against the charter school resolution. The day finished with lunch at the Freight Depot where PTA advocates had the opportunity to sit down with their legislators and discuss a variety of issues both statewide and local. We thank everyone who joined us for a day of advocacy!

    Karen Hallacy

    Georgia PTA

    Legislative Chair

  10. Georgia PTA’s Legislative Update for March 11, 2012
    Crossover Day was a long day at the Capitol with both chambers meeting until after 10:00 pm. The bills that moved are summarized below as well as the ones that never made it to the floor for consideration. Starting this week the various committees will focus their attention on the bills that did pass and will try, in the next ten legislative days to process as many as possible. The next three weeks will be busy ones.

    What Happened this Week: Legislation that Passed

    HB 797: This bill (the enabling legislation for HR 1150) establishes the State Charter Schools Commission as a state-level authorizing entity working in collaboration with the Department of Education under the supervision of the State Board of Education. The Commission would have the power to approve or deny petitions for state charter schools, and renew, non-renew, or terminate petitions in accordance with State Board of Education rules and regulations. The State Board of Education would be able to overrule the approval or renewal within 60 days of the decision upon a majority vote of the members of the state board. The Commission would also have the power to conduct facility and curriculum reviews of state charter schools (but will only meet bimonthly). The bill goes on to outline the requirements for eligibility to put in a petition, the responsibilities of the state charter schools in the event that petitions are approved or terminated. The legislation also provides for appropriations of funds for the state charter schools by the Georgia General Assembly and shall be treated consistently with all other public schools in this state, pursuant to the respective statutory funding formulas and grants. This Act would become effective on January 1, 2013, only if a Constitutional amendment authorizing the General Assembly to create charter schools as special schools is ratified at the November, 2012, general election. Passed House

    HB 825: If the Professional Standards Commission sanctions a teacher for alleged inappropriate behavior to a student, the teacher may appeal with no time limit to an administrative law judge. Currently, the time for appeal is 90 days. Often these cases are referred to the district attorney to determine if there is a criminal aspect, and those investigations may take weeks or months. After the criminal investigation, the administrative law judge can hear the case for civil penalties. Some educators are never getting civil penalties because the 90 window has been consumed with a criminal investigation. Passed House

    HB 651:Eliminate premium funding for charter systems. Under current law, by 2015 a school system must choose to be a charter system, an IE2 system or declare they are keeping the status quo. Systems that became charter systems were awarded a financial incentive per child. The premium is stated at about $100/FTE, but with austerity cut applied, it amounted to about $82. A response to Fulton Schools application to be a charter system which would have required an estimated $8 million appropriation? Amended to grandfather existing charter systems but the FY 13 budget didn’t contain funding. Ironic in light of the seeming support charter schools are receiving. Passed House

    SB 410: A new way to evaluate schools as a result of the NCLB waiver. Schools would receive a numeric grade based on a variety of factors including academic proficiency, closing achievement gaps and financial efficiency. Would also earn grade and star ratings. Passed Senate

    SB 432: Political subdivisions of the state, which include local school districts, cannot by rule or ordinance put additional restrictions on knives than what is in state law. Passed Senate

    SB 493: Persons ages 18-21 will be eligible for gun licenses to carry. Requires training by a licensed firearms instructor within 3 months of application. The school safety zone has been erased in law. This means students can bring guns onto campus, but not in buildings. Passed Senate

    SB 355: All adults are required to report child abuse. Clergy, who may come by this information in confession or consultation, is exempt. Attorneys are exempt if client privilege exists. Specified mandatory reporters of child abuse report to DFACS; all other report to police. Passed Senate

    HB 1198: Expands grandparents rights to visitation of grandchild if it is in the best interest of the child.Passed House

    HB 1166: Any insurer offering policies in GA would also be required to offer individual child-only health insurance policies. Passed House

    SB 288: All vaccines, except HPV, can be administered by a nurse or pharmacist if there is a vaccine protocol with a physician. Flu shots are already done this way. Passed Senate

    What Didn’t Pass (but could still get amended into another bill):

    SB 501: Repeals the charter school commission language. Creates a charter school advisory commission. Charter school applicants would apply to local boards of education and the advisory commission. The advisory commission would provide assistance to the local school board and the charter applicant to resolve issues that might be impediments to charter approval. The local board votes to either approve or not. If the charter is denied, then the state board of education may consider withholding of state funds to the school system. Bill is considered as an alternative to a constitutional amendment to respond to the Supreme Court decision of May 2011 that made commission charter schools unconstitutional. All charters approved would be local. The threat of state fund withholding to local systems is an incentive to those local boards which refuse to consider any application of a charter. Denial of a charter for good reasons would not result in a financial penalty. This could be a viable alternative to HR 1162. Bill has bipartisan sponsors.

    SB 452: The SBOE must hold hearings about school board members in districts which lose accreditation to make a recommendation to the governor regarding whether the board members should be suspended or removed from office. The hearing must be held within 90 days of the loss of accreditation, up from 30 days. The local board of education must pay the costs of the hearing, which are costs of court reporters, travel expenses of state board members to the hearing site, and miscellaneous costs. Not heard by full Senate

    SB 364: Prohibit standards based grading in grades 4-12. Failed on the Senate Floor

    SB 87: Allows vouchers for children of active military or foster children. Tabled again.

    HB 673: Return to Play: By Jan. 2013, the state board of education, SBOE, shall develop and distribute to local school districts mandatory guidelines for informing and educating coaches, student athletes, and parents about the risks of concussions. Guidelines must include criteria for removal and return to play, and risks of not reporting the injury and continuing to play. Local school boards shall, by July 2013, develop procedures and regulations which must require: annually, each student athlete and parent be given information about concussions and the athlete and parent shall sign that they have received same; immediate removal of a student athlete from activity should a concussion or brain injury be sustained; and no return to play on the same day and only after a medical evaluation with written clearance from the medical provider. Also applies to cheerleaders. Recommitted and never came back to the floor.

    SB 498: Public entities cannot erect phone towers if the same would be a violation of zoning laws for adjacent private property. Addresses the desire of parents not to have cell phone towers on school property in residential neighborhoods. Not heard by full Senate.

    School Maps: The maps continue to be developed and passed. While this legislation is not subject to Crossover Day restrictions it must pass before the session ends.

  11. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Regarding the maps: Nancy Jester has added some clarity via her email newsletter:

    Reapportionment Update

    The BOE presented the DeKalb Legislative Delegation with a consensus map pursuant to their request. While there were other maps that I preferred, I thought that the Board’s consensus map was solid and I support it. Unfortunately, the DeKalb Delegation, that asked for this consensus map, recently rejected it and brought forth and passed yet another map. I have asked for a copy of this map but it has not been forthcoming from the legislators. It was also reported that members of the delegation believed that the BOE’s consensus map was not compliant with the statistical tolerances necessary to be a viable map. I have posted the BOE’s consensus map on my website, along with the statistical data that comes directly from the State’s own office for reapportionment.
    (Click here to go directly to my blog entry containing the map and data files.)

    This data demonstrates that the consensus map is within the prescribed tolerances (<1% deviation). The consensus map also provides greater unification of the Briarcliff corridor. This is a community of interest that has long been Balkanized and my preference is to see that area coalesced in one Board district subject to the population constraints given to us from the census data.

    The next step in the reapportionment process is for the Senate and House maps to be reconciled in a conference. The maps passed independently in the Senate and House are not the same. I would prefer that the conference reconcile the maps by accepting the Board's consensus map. I have included the delegations' emails below so that you may send them your thoughts.
    As always, I am available if you have any questions or concerns.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is an interesting take on “consensus”. Paul Womack went on record at the last BOE meeting to say that he had never seen the map. I’ve heard that at least one other board member refused to back this map after actually seeing it. Consensus indeed. This map is terrible for the DHHS community, and I do not support it either.

  13. As far as the board of education goes, a consensus requires 5 of 9 votes.

  14. justwatch says:

    This attitude is why DCSS can never move ahead. We need 9 board members who represent the entire district (that is actually their job) not just a certain segment or population. Wish that both our citizens and our board understood this.

  15. Anonymous says:

    That is a majority, not a consensus. Consensus implies unanimity and it is used in a misleading fashion in Nancy’s update. And if a vote was taken on this map without the map being reviewed by the entire board, that is illegal.

  16. dekalbschoolwatch says:

    Right. Sadly, right now our board is very split.

    As far as the maps go, I think the maps currently being discussed are the ones required by law due to reapportionment. (After each Census, all political maps change, due to population shifts – it’s always very highly politically-charged.) These newly drawn district maps must be evenly distributed by the same number population (with a 1% variance allowed) in each and will be what we will have to live with for the next 10 years. Thus the debate.

    The “other” issue – is the one that the legislature passed stating that DeKalb had to reduce the board members from 9 to “no more than” 7. That involved drawing maps. These were different maps. At one point the legislation proposed going straight to 5 members and only 5 districts (those up for reelection would simply roll off the board.) That failed. Fran Millar has now introduced some legislation extending the deadline for the reduction in board members. Truthfully, it’s all so confusing, we’ve nearly lost track! Anyone know for certain?

  17. Did Paul say which maps he HAD seen? Did he state a preference? Has he tried to work on this issue whatsoever with his board members? Have they even sat down together as a group to try to hash this out? Or have they gone around behind each other’s backs ‘dissing other people’s attempts at this mandatory project?

  18. One of our contributors attended the public meeting on the current legislative session held by Rep Scott Holcomb at Tucker. To read the very detailed notes click the post below:

    Notes from Rep. Scott Holcomb meeting in Tucker

  19. For the latest in education-related legislative updates, visit this link:
    http://www.gael.org/gael/legislative_news

Comments are closed.

Supplemental Budget Impacts School Choice

Each year the legislature updates the current budget (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012) to reflect any changes that have occurred or are expected to occur during the fiscal year. This supplemental budget, HB 741, is proposed by the governor and then approved by the legislature.

The House passed the supplemental budget on February 3rd, and on Thursday, February 23rd, the Senate approved the budget with a few changes.

The supplemental budget impacts school choice in two significant ways:

  1. The Governor and House versions reduce funding for the Special Needs Scholarship by over $200,000. The Senate removed this reduction and added more than $500,000 to the program for enrollment growth.
  2. The Governor provided an $8.6 million grant to the state chartered special schools that lost significant funding after the State Supreme Court’s ruling in May 2011 disbanded the Charter School Commission. The House reduced the amount of funding to $7.6 million, but the Senate returned the grant to the original amount.

The supplemental budget is now expected to go to a conference committee where members of the House and Senate will agree on a version.

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