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Day 15: Senate Begins Review of AFY 2023 Budget; Joint Hearings on Literacy Continue

Senate Budget Writers Review House Budget Proposal

State education agency leaders outlined changes the House made to Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposed Amended Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which runs through June 30. The House version of the AFY 2023 budget is available here. Several House changes prompted questions from senators, including a reduction in funds Kemp added to reimburse paraprofessionals for earning certification through the GaTAPP program. Rusk Roam, chief financial officer at the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), explained that the funding level proposed by Kemp would cover reimbursement for all eligible paraprofessionals, while the House estimated that only a portion of those eligible would use the grant. Senate lawmakers also questioned the impact of the House addition of $3.4 million for construction equipment to expand construction industry certification, and one described the $1.25 million added by the House for a matching grant program for character education as "nebulous."


Senators will continue their review and propose their own version of the AFY 2023 budget, which they will send to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for approval.


Joint Education Committees Hear Update on Literacy Efforts in TCSG and Three Local Districts

The joint committee of Senate Education & Youth and Senate Higher Education members held its penultimate meeting to examine literacy instruction efforts in the Georgia Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and several school systems across Georgia.

Cayanna Good, assistant commissioner of adult education at TCSG, provided information on the agency’s Adult Education Certified Literate Community programs. The programs work in conjunction with adult education providers and members of the community to deliver services intended to increase adult literacy. TCSG Commissioner Greg Dozier shared that these programs were impacted by COVID-19, much like K-12 classrooms. He anticipates that the performance of students in these programs will increase as the programs rely less on online learning platforms.


Charles Wilson, superintendent of Bulloch County Schools, and Crystal Simpkins, director of early learning and literacy for Bulloch County Schools, shared information on the district’s literacy efforts. Wilson said that, due to challenges students faced during the pandemic, they are coming to school more unprepared than they have in the past. He labeled literacy as a community issue, not one that a school system can solve alone. The district created the Bulloch County Literacy Council, a community-based collaborative aiming to boost student literacy in grades K-5. One part of the initiative is the Book Bus, a bus sponsored by community businesses that distributes books to the community. Other initiatives sponsored by the council include the Bulloch READ initiative and Reading Nooks.

Beth McMichael, literacy content specialist for Barrow County Schools, shared information on the district’s framework for literacy instruction, including a review of funding required to operate the programs. McMichael also shared details of Barrow County’s assessments used to measure literacy progress in students including DIBELS and MAP as well as the Barrow Literacy Partnership. Diane Bresson, principal of County Line Elementary in Barrow County, shared efforts taking place at her school to increase literacy proficiency.

Grant Rivera, superintendent of Marietta City Schools, shared information on the district’s Literacy and Justice for All. Part of the district’s efforts on literacy include using salary supplements to attract and support teachers with specific credentials to teach reading in the district as well as hiring more literacy instructors to lower classroom ratios. Rivera asked legislators to provide funding in this year’s budget for the dyslexia screener that is required to be in place in Georgia by 2024. He also asked the committee to focus on aligning teacher preparation programs with modern research-based pedagogy and to prioritize classes for teacher candidates on reading instruction.


Register Now for PAGE Day on Capitol Hill

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill, in conjunction with the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL), and the Georgia Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (GACTE), is coming up soon. Please register now to join us Tuesday, Feb. 21, for this free event. You will learn more about pending education legislation and advocate for educators, students, and public education.


If you previously registered for PAGE Day on Capitol Hill and did not receive a confirmation email from "PAGE Events," please register again at the link above. We discovered a technical issue in our registration system that has been fixed. Contact Josh Stephens at jstephens@pageinc.org if you need assistance.


Upcoming Schedule


Thursday, Feb. 9 – Legislative Day 16

House Education Committee, 1 p.m., 506 CLOB


Monday, Feb. 13 - Legislative Day 17

House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, 3 p.m., 415 CLOB


Tuesday, Feb. 14 - Legislative Day 18

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