House Passes Governor Kemp’s Safe Schools Act and Glucagon in Schools Legislation, Both Supported by PAGE
The House passed HB 147, the governor’s Safe Schools Act carried by Kemp’s House Floor Leader Will Wade (R-Dawsonville), which:
Directs the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), in consultation with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) and other state agencies, to create school safety and anti-gang endorsements for eligible certificated professional personnel.
Encourages postsecondary educational institutions with GaPSC teacher certification programs to include training in safe schools and deterring youth gangs.
Mandates that school safety plans, which are already annually required, be submitted to GEMA.
Requires schools to conduct intruder alert drills for students, school administrators, teachers, and other school personnel by October of each school year. Local school districts may allow parents to opt their children out by written notification.
The House unanimously passed HB 440 from Rep. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna), which would allow schools to keep a supply of glucagon on hand in case a diabetic student needs it.
Both bills now move to the Senate.
Senate Education & Youth Committee Approves Bill that Limits School Board Member Discussions on Personnel Matters
Before the House and Senate convened in general session, the Senate Education & Youth Committee met early Monday morning and approved the following bills:
SB 98, by Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R-Dallas), which would prohibit local boards of education members from discussing individual personnel matters, with limited exceptions. Anavitarte said the impetus of the bill was a situation in his Paulding County district involving a former teacher of the year who was “bullied” due to her involvement in a local board of education election. Anavitarte reported that the teacher’s contract renewal process was slowed due to retaliation from a school board member.
Under SB 98, local school board members would still be allowed to discuss personnel matters in the following scenarios:
Fair Dismissal Act
Personnel complaint resolution policies
Local tribunal processes
Open Meetings Act
The bill was amended to make it clear that school board members can relay personnel issues raised by community members to the local school superintendent. The bill was amended to be named the “Kathy West Act” after the teacher in Paulding County. It passed with two dissenting votes and now moves to Senate Rules.
The committee also approved the following bills which move to Senate Rules:
SB 4, by Sen. Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro), the “Blind Person’s Braille Literacy Rights and Education Act,” would require evaluations of blind or visually impaired students to determine their need for Braille instruction. It also requires Braille instruction in the individualized education program of a blind or visually impaired student, if necessary.
SB 202, by Sen. Sheikh Rahman (D-Lawrenceville), would enable the Georgia Department of Education to launch and evaluate an outdoor learning spaces pilot program.
House Ed Subcommittee
The House Education Policy Subcommittee held a hearing on HB 469, by Rep. Penny Houston (R-Nashville), which would require schools to implement detailed and accurate school building plans, school property site plans, and crisis response mapping data to be shared with local law enforcement to aid emergency services in navigating schools during emergency situations. The bill does not require systems to use a specific vendor when developing the maps. Houston said schools could use school safety grant funding or local SPLOST dollars to cover any costs associated with the maps, and she said required costs should be low. No vote was taken on the bill.
The subcommittee passed HB 504, by Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin), which would exclude amounts attributable to level 1 freeport exemptions for purposes of calculating local five mill share. It now moves to House Rules.
Tuesday Feb. 28 – Legislative Day 25
Senate Education & Youth, 2:30 p.m., 450 CAP
House Education Curriculum Subcommittee, 3 p.m., 415 CLOB
Senate Retirement, 3 p.m., MEZZ 1 CAP
Wednesday, March 1 – Legislative Day 26
Senate Education & Youth, 10 a.m., 307 CLOB
House Industry & Labor, 3 p.m., 506 CLOB
Thursday, March 2 – Legislative Day 27