The State Board of Education (SBOE) met for committee meetings March 24 and a full board meeting March 25. Several important items were considered, including a one-time pay supplement for most educators and education support staff and use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act federal stimulus funding, which will soon flow to Georgia schools.
The SBOE’s March 25 agenda is available HERE.
One-Time Educator Pay Supplement Approved
The board unanimously approved a one-time $1,000 pay supplement for most Georgia educators. The pay boost, intended to curb educator attrition, is funded with a $230 million federal stimulus, in a partnership between the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and Gov. Kemp’s office. Most Georgia educators and education staff, including, but not limited to teachers, building level leaders, counselors, paraprofessionals, school nutrition workers, bus drivers, custodians, school nurses, school psychologists, long-term substitutes, and clerical and administrative support staff will be eligible for the one-time raise. Part-time staff will receive roughly half the bonus. The grant requires school districts to spend the federal funding on employee pay supplements, and the pay boost must be awarded to employees by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. GaDOE has developed a database with a unique identifier included for every eligible employee and will train local districts on use of the database early next week. Educator questions regarding eligibility for the pay supplement and timing of its delivery should be directed to their local school districts. GaDOE’S press release and FAQ regarding the educator supplement are available HERE and HERE. The SBOE’s discussion on the well-deserved pay supplement is pictured below.
American Rescue Plan Funding Accepted
Another high profile federally funded budget item was also approved by the board. The SBOE voted to accept $4.2 billion ARP funds and allocate $3.8 billion to local districts. ARP funds will be disbursed to local districts proportionally, based on Title I student population. District ARP allocations are available HERE.
Within the guardrails and timeline set by the federal government, local districts have considerable control over how ARP funds are spent to address pandemic-related student learning challenges. Despite this, SBOE members discussed creating suggestions for local use of the funds. “I’ve seen this movie before, [we] should show vision," District Seven Board Member Mike Royal said in support of providing districts with best practices for expenditure of ARP funds.
Board members reached consensus that they will discuss the matter further at their April meeting. Read more about requirements for use of ARP funds in PAGE’s recent ARP report HERE.
Other Items: Math Standards, SST Dyslexia Plan Tabled, April Board Retreat
Other notable board action included tabling of the Student Support Team (SST) plan regarding student dyslexia until May. This board item was the subject of criticism from several parents who provided public comment Thursday morning. Posting of proposed math standards also appeared to generate friction between some board members and State School Superintendent Richard Woods’ team. Woods assured the group that the standards review has been inclusive of many opinions, and the next round of public input will include solicitation of feedback from multiple groups using multiple methods.