Legislative/State

2015 Legislative Update from GA PTA

Monday, January 26, 2015, the Georgia General Assembly convened for its 5th Legislative Day. The General Assembly was in adjournment Friday, January 16 through Sunday, January 25. During this time, the Joint Appropriations Committee met to hear proposals from agency leaders regarding the current fiscal year 2015 budget. 

In addition, Governor Deal named individuals who will serve on the Education Reform Commission that he announced during his State of the State address.  The commission will study the state’s education system, including its funding formula, and provide recommendations intended to improve the system, increase access to early learning programs, recruit and retain high-quality instructors and expand school options for Georgia’s families. Read More

With education as a top priority, Governor Deal also suggested a constituional amendment that would create Opportunity School Districts. This model has been used successfully in New Orleans. It would authorize the state to step in to help rejuvenate failing public schools. Furthermore, Gov. Deal announced that the General Assembly will continue to invest in education.  In fact, this year’s budget, coupled with his proposal for next year’s budget, represents an infusion of over one billion additional dollars for K-12 education.

Please read other important information below to prepare you for this week’s legislation session.

House and Senate Committee Meetings

  • Senate Education and Youth Committee met monday at 1:00 PM in room 307 CLOB to adopt the committee rules for 2015-16 legislative term and discuss SB-2, Tippins-37th, a local board of education can award high school diplomas to 16 year olds or older students who complete certain 9th or 10th grade core high school classes (and tests) as well as certain other eligibility requirements and who are accepted at and complete a course of study at a post-secondary institution. This bill is expected to be amended into a substitute bill.
  • House Appropriation Subcommittee will meet Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM, room 341 CAP. See Agenda 
  • Senate Higher Education Committee will meet Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, room 310 CLOB. See Agenda
  • Senate Education and Youth Committee will meet Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, room 307 CLOB. (Agenda TBD)
  • House Education Committee will meet Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM, room 606 CLOB. See Agenda
  • Senate Higher Education Committee will meet Thursday, January 29, 2015, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, room 310 CLOB. (Agenda TBD)

New House and Senate Legislation

  • HB-43, Smith-125th, so as to provide that both parents are entitled to pick up and drop off their child from school unless a court order has terminated such right; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • HB-52, Quick-117th, relating to parenting plans, so as to change provisions requiring parenting plans to be incorporated into final orders involving the custody of a child; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • HB-54, Waites-60th, relating to grants to children of law enforcement officers, firefighters, and prison guards, so as to provide for undergraduate full tuition grants to children of law enforcement officers, firefighters, prison guards, and Highway Emergency Response Operators of the Department of Transportation who were killed in the line of duty who attend institutions of the University System of Georgia and who meet certain eligibility requirements; to provide a definition; to provide for voluntary donations through state income tax returns and drivers’ licenses for funding; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • HB-62, Tanner-9th, relating to qualifications for the scholarship program for special needs students, so as to waive certain qualifications for students whose parent is an active duty military service member stationed in Georgia within the previous year; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • HB-63, Tanner-9th, relating to the imposition, computation, and rate of and exemptions from state income taxes, so as to revise the amount of the adult basic skills education program tax credit; to provide for procedures, conditions, and limitations; to provide an aggregate cap on the amount of the tax credit; to provide for a short title; to provide for an effective date and for applicability; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • HB-65, Caldwell-20th, relating to elementary and secondary education, so as to require local boards of education and certain charter schools to hold at least two public meetings on the proposed annual operating budget; to require that a summary of the proposed and adopted annual operating budget be posted on the Internet; to require that the detailed annual operating budget be made available upon request; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • SB-35, James-35th, relating to cruelty to children, so as to provide that leaving certain children in vehicles under certain circumstances constitutes cruelty to children in the third degree; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
  • SB-44, Orrock-36th, relating to education, so as to provide that noncitizen students receiving a grant of deferred action for childhood arrivals from the United States Department of Homeland Security may be extended the same consideration as citizens of the United States in determining whether they qualify for in-state classification for purposes of tuition and fees by the university system and the Technical College System of Georgia; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Read and Referred Legislation

  • HB-17, Spencer-180th, Hidden Predator Act; enact. Judiciary 
  • SB-35, James-35th, relating to cruelty to children, so as to provide that leaving certain children in vehicles under certain circumstances constitutes cruelty to children in the third degree; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  Judciary Non-Civil  
  • HB-22, Evans-42nd, relating to HOPE scholarships and grants, so as to provide that HOPE grants cover the full cost of tuition; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. Appropriations 
  • SB-44, Orrock-36th, relating to education, so as to provide that noncitizen students receiving a grant of deferred action for childhood arrivals from the United States Department of Homeland Security may be extended the same consideration as citizens of the United States in determining whether they qualify for in-state classification for purposes of tuition and fees by the university system and the Technical College System of Georgia; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.  Higher Education

General Assembly Calendar

  • The House will convene on Tuesday January 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM for the 6th Legislative Day.
  • The Senate will convene Tuesday January 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM for the 6th legislative day.
  • Watch live broadcasts of both chambers. Here 

Thank you for your support and advocacy on behalf of the children in Georgia. I welcome you to reach out to me and share your thoughts and opinions as we move throughout the legislative session this year.  I can be reached via email at tbarr@georgiapta.org. 

+++++

2014 Legislative Update from GA PTA

During the legislative week of February 3-7, the House and Senate met to discuss several education bills. The Title 20 revisions bill was introduced; the 42 page HB 897 propose updates to the Education segment of the Georgia code.

On Day 16, the Senate passed SB 283, this legislation allows systems to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allows students and staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays). Also, a school system may display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional celebrations, if the display includes a scene or symbol of more than one religion or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol.

On Day 18, the Senate unanimously voted for SB 288 as amended, requiring GHSA and other athletic associations to post certain financial documents for schools receiving QBE funds to participate in the association. Sen. Renee Unterman amended the bill to reinstate a legislative oversight committee to review association activities, including the demographic makeup of the board. Also, HB 875, “the gun bill,” received a “Do Pass” from the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee. One of the provisions of the bill authorizes local boards to select personnel to be trained and armed. It goes to the House Rules Committee.

The Senate Education & Youth Committee held a hearing on SB 301, allowing schools to be built of wood, and gave it a “Do Pass.” Insurance rates are estimated to be 37% – 51% higher for the wooden construction. The bill moves on to Senate Rules. SB 343, placing requirements on GHSA, was heard as scheduled. The Committee heard a presentation from the Charter Systems Foundation including remarks from five superintendents.

On Day 19, the House passed HB 766, the Work-Based Learning Act, 163-1. It now moves to the Senate which has a similar bill. The Senate passed the supplemental budget 49-0. It goes back to the House for discussion with the Senate changes.

Committee Meeting Updates

House Education Academic Support Subcommittee

Passed HR 486 calls for a Constitutional amendment allowing cities created after January 1, 2005 to establish independent school systems.
Passed HR 689 urging school systems to implement renewal energy systems.

Senate Education Committee

Action was postponed on SB 301. The bill would allow school systems to construct facilities utilizing wood. Such facilities must be in compliance with state minimum standard codes as existed on January 1, 2014.
Assigned SB 321 to the Senate Education Policy and Choice subcommittee. The author submitted a substitute bill that eliminated original language allowing non-school officials to serve on disciplinary tribunals. The substitute removes hearing officers as an option for administering student disciplinary proceedings.
Passed SB 329 the Senate version of the Work Based Learning Act.

House Education Academic Achievement Subcommittee:

Passed HB 766 one of two Work Based Learning Act bills being considered this session, the other is in the Senate.
Passed amended versions of HR 1109 and HB 802 a Constitutional amendment resolution and enabling legislation allowing local systems to utilize education SPLOST funds for a specified list of M&O categories. Prior to the subcommittee meeting, the author made several changes that were not available in printed copy.

House Education Committee:

Passed HB 766, the Work Based Learning Act bill.
Passed HR 486, a Constitutional amendment resolution that calls for creation of new municipal school districts in cities created after 2004.
Passed HR 689, a resolution urging school districts to implement renewal energy systems.
HB 405 relating to training of charter school governance teams and SB 68 requiring local schools to celebrate Freedom Week, were not taken up by the Committee.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

Monday, February 10, 2014

The General Assembly will convene at 10 AM.

9 AM House Education Academic Innovations Subcommittee will meet in 415 CLOB to hear HB 811, relating to advertising on school buses; and HB 832, relating to additional compensation for special education teachers.

2 PM House Education Academic Support Subcommittee will meet in 415 CLOB to hear HB 897, amending numerous sections of Title 20.
+++

2013 Legislative Session

We remain deeply concerned about the direction of public education in Georgia. We see our schools taken over more and more by what some refer to as “educrats” while students and their classrooms receive less and less a portion of school funding in order to pay these educrats in our school administrations.  In contrast to the state’s mandate to consolidate small systems in order to save administrative costs, the larger the system, the higher the cost of the system’s bureaucracy. It is for that reason that we support any change in direction that focuses tax dollars in the classroom, be it charter schools, or breaking up large systems like DeKalb in order to increase local control for teachers, taxpayers, parents and students.

The plain truth is, the number of school districts has contracted while the population doubled. The big districts have gobbled up the little ones. This quote comes from Newsweek

The situation has changed drastically in the past half century. The number of school districts declined from 130,000 to 16,000; classroom teachers, from 96 percent of the total instructional staff to 86 percent; the fraction of school funds coming from local government, from 83 percent to 43 percent. During the same period, population nearly doubled, cost per student multiplied more than five-fold even after allowing for inflation, and the quality of education plummeted. Schools are now run by professional bureaucrats. Monopoly and uniformity have replaced competition and diversity. Consumers of schooling have little to say. Control by producers has replaced control by consumers.

+++

To download Quick Facts about Georgia Schools, click here.

To read about the racial history of DeKalb County Schools and federal desegregation case click this link:
Roger Mills Collection – DeKalb County School Desegregation Case

+++

LOCAL LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

Board District Maps: Redrawn due to reapportionment

Consensus Map
BOE Consensus Map

Final Approved Map
DeKalb Delegation Final Map

===

FEB 2013
Local Lawmaker Plans Bill for a Dunwoody School System

Acknowledging the long odds against him, state Rep. Tom Taylor plans to introduce a bill in the General Assembly that would create a Dunwoody school system.

Talyor announced his plans this past Sunday night at a meeting of the Dunwoody Homeowners Association board of directors, according to the Reporter Newspapers.

Taylor said the proposal faces “a huge uphill battle” because it calls for an amendment to Georgia’s constitution.

His proposal would call for an amendment to the state Constitution, he said, and would be voted on during next year’s legislative session. If approved, the public would vote on the referendum later in the year.

+++

FOR A LITTLE HISTORY:

Read about Michael Thurmond and Gene Walker’s political attempts to gerrymander voting districts to create “Super Black” districts in Georgia. Now, both are in charge of the Billion Dollar DeKalb Schools budget and hand out ‘jobs’ to friends and family as they advance their cause.

Redistricting: The Most Political Activity in America
By Charles S. Bullock

+++

Read Georgia’s original 1943 ratified state Constitution here >> 1943 GA State Constitution

Read the latest updated version – ratified in 1983 and amended many times since >> Most recent GA State Constitution

++++

CLICK BELOW to read the law requiring 65% of operating expenses be spent directly on classroom expenses.

§ 20-Direct-Classroom-Expenditures

Advertisements

Leave a comment. Please be respectful.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s