GLMA Legislative Update and Reasons to Oppose HB 908

** GLMA Legislative Alert **

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

“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

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.

What’s Next?
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 –
Find your legislators –

Reasons to Oppose House Bill 908

1.Expenditure controls are in place to assure equity throughout the state
and to ensure that funding makes it to the school level where education is
being delivered rather than the bureaucratic level.

2.  Media expenditure controls have an important purpose – to ensure that
funding is provided for print, non-print, periodicals, online databases, supplies, and equipment
that are available to the entire school and are critical to the support
student performance. These materials are housed in and circulated through
the library media center for use by the entire learning community of the

3.  The Ga Performance Standards require that each student read 25 books
in grades 4 – 12.  The most economical way to support this standard is to
buy multiple copies of durable books that are available to circulate to
the entire school population.  If our expenditure controls are eliminated,
we will not have the funding to support this standard.

4.  The school library is a great equalizer in terms of supporting student
achievement.  The student that is not reading on grade level in the
classroom can still be successful using the media center’s resources which
provide for varied reading levels and needs.

Betsy L. Razza

About Buffy J. Hamilton

I am a writing and Language Arts teacher who loves learning, literacy, stories, learning, dogs, poetry, fabulous shoes, and good lip gloss. I began my career as a high school English teacher in 1992 and then became a high school librarian and 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker before returning to the classroom in August 2016.

Posted on January 19, 2010, in legislation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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