Legislative Day 8: Milestones Cost Questions

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Questions Standardized Test Funding

Following the House passage of the Amended Fiscal Year 2021 (AFY21) budget yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Education & Higher Education Subcommittee met today to discuss the budget proposal.


The subcommittee, chaired by former Senate Education & Youth Committee Chair Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta), heard from education-related agency heads representing the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA), and the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). The presentations were brief and hinted at no Senate changes to the House-approved version of the AFY21, with the exception of a standardized testing line item in GaDOE’s budget.

Tippins and subcommittee member Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) questioned GaDOE staff about standardized testing contracts approved by the State Board of Education. GaDOE Deputy Superintendent for Assessment and Accountability Allison Timberlake explained that Georgia has requested a waiver of federal requirements to administer the Georgia Milestones during the 2020-2021 school year, but that waiver has not been approved by the US Department of Education (USED). Timberlake predicted that USED may provide some assessment flexibility but a full waiver will not be forthcoming. Tippins asked GaDOE to provide more information on all required standardized tests and associated costs. “We won’t be able to finish the budget until y’all provide that,” said Tippins. Gooch remarked that he expects Milestones scores will be lower this year due to pandemic-associated learning loss. Of Georgia’s request for federal assessment relief, Gooch said, “I hope the state and feds can come up with something.”

For more details on the AFY21 budget as it passed the House, check out PAGE’s Day 7 Report from the Capitol.

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