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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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!
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!
Nancy Jester has posted the suggested new district maps on her blog. You can download them here.
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.
UPDATES for Center for and Educated Georgia – FEB 24, 2012
|House Passes Charter School Constitutional Amendment; Senate Vote Expected Soon
On 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
House 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.
|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:
The supplemental budget is now expected to go to a conference committee where members of the House and Senate will agree on a version.