Gov. Kemp Proposes Teacher Pay Raise at Swearing In
In a joint session of the House and Senate, Gov. Brian Kemp was sworn in for his second term by state Supreme Court Justice Carla Wong McMillian. State Superintendent Richard Woods, along with Lt. Gov. Burt Jones and Georgia’s other constitutional officers were subsequently sworn in by Kemp.
Kemp announced his proposed $2,000 pay raise for Pre-K and K-12 teachers, other certified staff, and state employees in his inaugural address. He thanked public employees and educators for their service during the pandemic and cited employee burnout as one rationale for the proposed pay raise. He also said his budget proposals will include one-time funding of $150 million to address student learning loss, school security, and help Georgia paraprofessionals with bachelor’s degrees obtain initial teacher certification.
The governor’s proposals for the Amended Fiscal Year 2023 and Fiscal Year 2024 budgets will provide additional information about the pay raise and launch the legislative budget process. The budget process will continue Jan. 17-19 with joint meetings of the Senate and House appropriations committees. The General Assembly must approve the budget and will likely revise Kemp’s proposals. PAGE will report more on the proposed educator raises and other education funding when budget documents are released and more information becomes available.
Sen. Clint Dixon Named Senate Education & Youth Committee Chair
The Senate released committee chair assignments with Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Gwinnett) taking the helm of the Senate Education & Youth Committee. Dixon, who served as one of Kemp’s Senate floor leaders in 2022, sponsored several major education bills on behalf of the governor. Visit Dixon’s campaign website to read his biography and learn more about his legislative priorities. PAGE looks forward to working with Sen. Dixon.
Senate Education Funding Study Committee Wrapped up Work in Late 2022
The Senate Study Committee to Review Education Funding Mechanisms held its final meeting on Dec. 4 at the University of Georgia. Committee members took a close look at one component of state funding for public schools -- funding weights for the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula. Throughout its meetings, Committee Chair Sen. Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) described the committee’s aim as updating the QBE formula, which was passed in 1985. The committee has not released specific recommendations to do so, though Dugan has said he expects the legislature will take action.
At the December meeting, Jon Cooper, budget director at the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), explained the QBE funding weights, which determine the amount of state funding allocated to students in each QBE category, for example kindergarten, lower elementary, and upper elementary. The primary factor in the funding weights is class size. Student categories with lower class size, such as kindergarten and elementary grades, receive higher amounts than high school and other categories with higher class sizes.
PAGE Senior Education Policy Analyst Claire Suggs shared concerns PAGE members have raised about funding for school counselors, student transportation, and school safety with committee members. She also described key findings from the 2022 PAGE member survey on those and other budget-related issues. A video of the December meeting is available here with Suggs’ remarks starting at about 1:15.