'Divisive Concepts' Senate Bill Passes & Moves to the House
By a vote of 32 to 20, largely along party lines, the Senate passed PAGE-opposed “divisive concepts” legislation, SB 377 by Sen. Bo Hatchett (R-Cornelia). SB 377 is very similar to HB 1084, a House divisive concepts bill which recently moved to the Senate. PAGE strongly supports curriculum transparency but questions the need for divisive concepts prohibitions based on current Georgia K-12 school practices, and has shared strong concerns with policymakers regarding feasibility of the complaint process outlined in the pending bills.
When presenting the bill on the Senate floor, Hatchett characterized his bill as an attempt to give parents voice in teaching outside established bounds. “Ninety-nine point nine (99.9) percent of Georgia teachers do not teach these concepts,” said Hatchett, but he indicated that since he introduced SB 377, some educators have communicated to him they want to teach the ideas prohibited by his bill, which is indicative of the bill's necessity.
Read PAGE’s summary of SB 377 HERE. The Senate voting record on SB 377 was not available when this report was published. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
House Passes FY2023 Budget, Including Educator Raises & QBE Austerity Restoration
The House passed the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget, which includes a $2,000 pay raise for certified educators and adds back the $383 million in funds cut from the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula, the state’s formula for funding public schools. The version of the budget which passed today includes a pay boost of 5.4 percent for school nurses, matching the salary bump provided to school bus drivers and nutrition staff.
Senate Disagrees to House Tuition Tax Credit Private School Voucher Changes, Passes Military Student Bill, Tables Outdoor Classroom Pilot
The Senate disagreed with the House version of SB 517, by Rep. John Carson (R-Marietta), which seeks to expand spending for Georgia’s controversial tuition tax credit private school voucher from $100 million to $200 million over the next five years. Read PAGE’s previous alert of HB 517 HERE. It is not yet clear what will happen to the bill—the House or Senate could recede from their respective positions, the bill could languish, or a conference committee could be appointed to mediate differences.
The Senate passed SB 357 by Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta), which would allow students of active-duty military or deployed reservist families to attend any Georgia public school of their family’s choosing regardless of the residence of the child. If choosing to enroll outside of their home school district, families would need to provide their own pupil transportation. The bill now moves to the House.
The Senate tabled SB 603 by Sen. Sheikh Rahman (D-Lawrenceville), which seeks to create a pilot program on outdoor learning spaces. It may be considered during a later floor session.
Tuesday, March 15: Legislative Day 28 - Crossover Day