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State Board of Education Meeting Report - December Meeting 2023

The State Board of Education (SBOE) met Dec. 6 and 7 and acted upon several items including one related to student assessment and requirements of HB 538, the Georgia Early Literacy Act. Board members also heard a presentation from the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) on pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide additional mental health resources for students.

The full agenda, available HERE, includes links to all items considered by the board.

Assessment and Literacy Requirement Rules

Rule 160-3-1-.07 Testing Programs – Student Assessment, which had previously been submitted for public comment, reflects adoption of the mathematics and English Language Arts courses that will be assessed using student testing in alignment with new state standards. The rule would also incorporate dyslexia and universal reading screeners required by the Georgia Early Literacy Act.

During the Rules Committee meeting, some board members expressed interest in reopening and amending the rule to provide additional clarification related to HB 538. After extensive debate and testimony, including comments by HB 538's sponsor, Rep. Bethany Ballard (R-Warner Robins), the committee tabled the rule. The following morning, the rule was revised at the full board meeting to remove text reflecting Early Literacy Act requirements, which were incorporated into a new rule, 160-4-2-.40 Georgia Early Literacy Act Requirements.

The board approved both rules for public comment, which can be submitted HERE.

Other Rules Progress

The board voted to open an amendment to Rule 160-5-1-.33 Strategic Waivers and Title 20/No Waivers School Systems for public comment. The change aligns certain sections of GaDOE's strategic waiver school system (SWSS) and charter system waiver rules with recent updates to state law and Georgia's amended Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) state plan. It also incorporates language related to the requirements of local education agencies to maintain or achieve financial stability.

The rule is now open for public comment, which can be submitted HERE.

The board also acted on the following new courses:

Public comment on the proposed Elementary School CTAE Clusters can be submitted HERE.

DBHDD Presentation

Board Member Mike Royal and DBHDD Commissioner Kevin Tanner spoke regarding cooperation between the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and DBHDD to provide student mental health services. According to Commissioner Tanner, more than 700 schools in Georgia provide no mental health services while others provide only limited services. To alleviate such issues, Tanner suggested GaDOE and DBHDD explore a MOU to provide telehealth services for students. While recognizing that certain issues such as privacy concerns need to be addressed, all parties expressed excitement to continue exploring this concept.

Peach Education Tax Credit

Board Member Matt Donaldson provided a brief presentation on how to make use of thePeach Education Tax Credit.

Selection of New SBOE Officers

Stan DeJarnett (10th District) will serve as the next board chair and Phenna Petty (14th District) will serve as vice chair. Board members thanked outgoing Chair, Jason Downey, for his service.

PAGE appreciates Chairman Downey’s committed service to Georgia’s students and educators during his two years leading the board.

January 2024 SBOE Meeting

The next board meeting will be held Jan. 10 and 11 in Atlanta.

The full calendar of 2024 SBOE meetings can be found HERE.


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