Lawmakers Push Bills Toward Crossover Day Deadline
With Monday set as Crossover Day, legislators in both chambers passed a long list of bills, including several education-related ones. Crossover Day is the date by which a bill must pass either of the chambers to remain viable for the session. The push to pass bills will continue on Monday when HB 60, a private school voucher bill, is expected to be debated.
House Sends Proposed Budget to Senate
The House approved HB 81, which outlines the state’s proposed spending plan for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins on July 1. The bill adds back a portion of funds cut from public schools, but an austerity cut of about $380 million to the Quality Basic Education formula will continue. HB 81 now moves to the Senate. Read more about HB 81 here.
House lawmakers also passed HB 606, which adds the Georgia Independent Schools Association to the list of approved accrediting agencies for schools.
Voucher Bill Vote Expected on Monday
A vote on HB 60, which would create Georgia’s third private school voucher program, was delayed until Monday. PAGE opposes HB 60 because it would send public dollars to private schools, has inadequate accountability and transparency, and does not have the quality safeguards of public schools. More information about HB 60 is available here. If you have concerns about HB 60, contact your state representative in conjunction with PAGE advocacy efforts against this harmful bill.
Senate Says “Yes” to Three Education Bills
The Senate passed the following education bills:
SB 153 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-South Forsyth) would create a category of charter schools—known as Graduation Opportunities and Advanced Learning (GOAL) academies—for students at risk for dropping out. Charter schools could pursue designation as a GOAL academy through the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) or the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC). GaDOE, SCSC, the House Budget and Research Office, and the Senate Budget and Evaluation Office are charged with developing a long-term funding strategy for the academies
SB 220 by Sen. Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) would create a commission to oversee Georgia civics education.
SB 246 by Sen. Matt Brass (R-Newnan) would limit state requirements on student learning pods, described as parents voluntarily grouping children together to participate in or enhance their primary educational program. The bill also exempts learning pods from requirements for K-12 schools and childcare centers including background checks, minimum instructional space requirements, and staff certifications. Brass amended the bill to clarify that the law applies only when virtual learning is an option offered by a school district. Once virtual learning is no longer offered as an option, the protections in the bill no longer apply.