** GLMA Legislative Update **
Thursday, March 12th marked the 30th Day of the legislative session. Also known as Crossover Day, Day 30 was the day legislation needed to move from one chamber to the other in order to be considered for passage this year.
Legislators have been faced with difficult decisions this session due to the continuing decline in state revenues. The House and Senate have been focused on funding and increasing flexibility at the local school system level. Debated issues include
• Expenditure Control Waivers
• National Board Certifications
• “Move on When Ready” and “BRIDGE” Legislation
• School Choice and Vouchers
• Tax Relief via Assessment Caps and Freezes
• School Year Flexibility
The following is a list of bills that have made it through Crossover Day.
Expenditure Control Waivers
HB 278: IN SENATE EDUCATION
Waives expenditure controls on media centers funding, staff and professional development, and additional days of instruction for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.
National Board Certifications
HB 243: PASSED THE HOUSE YESTERDAY, IN SENATE EDUCATION
The Governor was going to eliminate the NBC program; the version of the bill that passed the House grandfathers in teachers already receiving the supplement and those in the pipeline as of 3/1/09. Lesson Learned: Contacting legislators does make an impact!
“Move on When Ready” and “BRIDGE” Legislation
HB 149: IN SENATE EDUCATION “Move on When Ready Act”
HB 400: IN SENATE EDUCATION The BRIDGE Bill
HB 251: IN SENATE EDUCATION
Allows for public school choice within the same district. Parents who want to take advantage of school choice and/or voucher legislation need to be aware that the school they wish to transfer their child to must either have the space or, oftentimes, accept the child. The parent also assumes responsibility for transportation to the new school.
Tax Relief via Assessment Caps and Freezes
HB 233: IN SENATE FINANCE
Places a moratorium on all increases in the assessed value of property subject to ad valorem tax from Jan. 2009 through Jan. 2011.
School Year Flexibility
HB 193: PASSED THE HOUSE YESTERDAY, IN SENATE EDUCATION
Requires a 180 day school year; State Board will determine guidelines. Though not the intent of this legislation, a potential outcome could be a 4 day school week. This would be left up to the local systems.
HB 455: PASSED THE HOUSE YESTERDAY, IN SENATE EDUCATION
Extends the deadline for contracts to May 15, 2009.
Funding Education in Georgia
On Tuesday, March 10th, the House and Senate agreed on the FY 2009 amended budget and sent it to the Governor for immediate consideration.
House and Senate appropriations subcommittees continue to work diligently on the FY 2010 budget. This is the budget with the most severe cuts, including the elimination of funding for the school nurse program ($30 million), academic coaches ($1.6 million), and the National Board Certification program ($12.3 million). The state will use funds from the Federal Stimulus package to patch some holes in the education budget, but with state revenues still on the decline, program cuts are still expected.
30 Down – 10 to Go!
There are only ten more days of the 2009 session. All of the legislation listed above could have an impact on your students, your profession, your school, and your family. If your voice has not yet been heard at the Capitol, speak up today!
We learned a valuable lesson with the National Board Certification legislation — if enough constituents contact their legislators, they will listen!
To find out more about the General Assembly and other legislation pending under the Gold Dome, CLICK HERE.
To find your legislators, CLICK HERE.
Until next week, stay tuned!
Lasa & Michelle
2711 Irvin Way, Suite 111
Decatur, GA 30030