GLMA Legislative Alert: Bill Eliminates Expenditure Controls
House Education Kicks Off the Session in High Gear
On the second day of the 2010 session, Tuesday, January 12th, the House Education Committee heard presentations on several pieces of new legislation. It is disappointing to report to you this early in the session on a bill that eliminates provisions you have fought hard to maintain.
“Flexibility Bill” – HB 908
As written, HB 908 gives local systems total flexibility through “blanket waivers” that
• Eliminate Expenditure Controls – media center, direct instruction, and staff development costs
• Eliminate the 65% Rule – minimum classroom expenditures
• Eliminate Maximum Class Size – maximum individual class size for math, science, social studies, and language arts
• Eliminate Funding for Additional Instruction Days
• Eliminate the Minimum Salary Schedule
The language in this bill eliminates the need for systems to request waivers for any or all of these provisions through July 1, 2013. When questioned about the negative impact this bill would have on student achievement, legislators and DOE staff defended their position by pointing out that the systems would still be held accountable for student achievement – but there are no accountability measures spelled out in this bill.
Now is your time to act! The General Assembly will adjourn Friday, January 15th through Sunday, January 24th for budget hearings. We expect the committee to move quickly on the legislation when they return on Monday, January 25th.
Though we know Georgia’s financial picture is bleak, you know children will suffer if local school administrators use their ability to take advantage of waiving these code sections that were put in place years ago to assure system and school accountability and student achievement.
Governor’s Plan to Pay Teachers for Performance
The Governor will introduce legislation this session through his floor leaders to “…enhance the way Georgia compensates its teachers by adding a performance-based pay option to the existing salary system.”
According to a press release issued by the Governor’s office, the current salary schedule would remain, but teachers would be given the option to opt-in to a pay for performance compensation program. You may have received an email detailing this initiative from the Governor yesterday. We will update you further on this legislation once it is introduced. You can read the press release in its entirety HERE.
Other Legislation Presented to the House Education Committee on January 12th
Teacher Contracts – HB 906
HB 906 is similar to the legislation from the 2009 session that would allow systems to extend the date for execution of teacher contracts from April 15th to May 15th. The bill would give systems this flexibility through 2013. Author: Rep. Jay Neal (R – LaFayette)
Leadership Degrees – HB 923
HB 923 would extend the deadline for degree completion from 2010 to 2013 for those enrolled in a leadership degree program as of April 1, 2009. Author: Rep. Jay Neal (R – LaFayette)
The Education Committee also discussed legislation on the sexual offenders list supplied to school systems (HB 909), gender equity reporting (HB 910), flexibility for location of middle school grades (HB 907), capitol outlay (HB 905), and funding equalization (HB 904). The committee plans to vote on most of these bills on Thursday, January 14th.
Contact the Representative and Senator representing your home and your school address (if they differ) during the legislative break next week. Schedule a time to visit the capitol with us to speak with legislators and/or present testimony to the education committees, get your students and their parents involved before it is too late.
Have questions or need more information? Contact us directly and visit the links below.
General Assembly – http://www.legis.state.ga.us/
Find your legislators – http://www.congress.org/congressorg/state/main/?state=GA
2711 Irvin Way, Suite 111
Decatur, GA 30030