Board of Education and SCCPSS Cabinet members met with our area legislative delegation for an annual luncheon to discuss legislative priorities for the upcoming session. The Legislative Priorities as determined by the Board are listed below:
BOARD OF EDUCATION 2019 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES (GOALS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
The following items represent key Legislative Priorities for the 2019 Legislative Session as supported by the Board of Education.
Legislative Implementation Process:
We believe that effective implementation of new initiatives brought about by legislative action should include sufficient time for planning, budgeting, and implementation. With this in mind:
- Ensure educational legislation allows for an adequate delay of at least one-year prior to implementation, thereby allowing for effective implementation and time for adjustments.
- Any mandate provided by state government should be funded by the state in a manner that does not impose financial burden on local school districts.
Increase Quality Basic Education (QBE) Funding Formula:
We urge the General Assembly to modify the existing QBE formula that was developed in 1984 to properly account for current cost realities. The QBE shall be indexed yearly for increases in inflation.
Relief from Unfunded Mandates associated with Increased Cost of the State Health Benefit Plan and the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia:
Increased costs associated with the State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) and the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) of Georgia have continuously shifted to local districts creating an additional burden on education budgets that are already underfunded. We support, as a state funding priority, an increase in education funding to offset anticipated increases.
We urge the General Assembly to ensure increased funding through the Legislative Appropriations Process in support of the following priorities:
Provide state funding for at least one school resource officer in every Georgia school.
Support for Student Well Being
Ensure the appropriate state funding levels to decrease the ratio of school counselors to students from 1 in every 450 to 1 in every 250, as is nationally recommended.
Support for Georgia Teachers
Provide adequate state funding to increase the starting salaries for Georgia teachers in a manner that ensures Georgia is nationally competitive.
Early Learning – Pre-K
As a high demand district for Pre-K services, we support increases in Pre-K program funding that will ensure greater access to early childhood programs by adding Pre-K classes in Georgia schools. Further, we support the restoration of funding to improve state salary schedules for Pre-K Teachers.
State transportation funding is provided at just 9% of the total cost to transport students. The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System transports more than 24,000 students a day over 33,000 miles. We urge the General Assembly to fully fund transportation costs for all students.
Career, Technical and Agricultural Education:
The Board opposes any movement for the programmatic transfer of the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education programs from the State Board of Education to the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia.
Consistency in the State Accountability Model (CCRPI):
We urge state leadership to commit to an accountability tool that will remain unchanged for a minimum of three years. The commitment to minimize CCRPI changes is imperative as it directly impacts the five-year performance contract districts have with GaDOE and GOSA.
Fair and Equitable State Accountability System:
We advocate for a proper CCRPI weighting measure for middle grade students who take high school courses. The lack of differential scoring for middle school students taking the End of Course versus End of Grade tests fails to recognize the advanced level of rigor undertaken by a middle school student who completes a high school course and passes the End of Course test. Furthermore, not rewarding schools that provide middle grade students with access to advanced learning opportunities creates a disincentive for school offerings in exchange for maximizing the CCRPI score.
Reform Tax Credit Program (QEE):
Current legislation provides the Georgia Qualified Education Expense (QEE) Tax Credit Program. Individuals and corporations can make tax-credit donations to authorized non-profit organizations that in turn fund scholarships at private schools. We support reform of this legislation to provide the same tax-credit donation opportunity for public schools (districts) in the state of Georgia.
We support increased state contribution for local education technology and staffing needs to improve and enhance classroom instruction to achieve the following: fulfill state statute §20-2-281 mandated online assessment; support state statute §20-2-319.4 expanded access to digital resources and virtual instruction; and to assist with the mandated collection and reporting of student achievement and teacher quality data.
Greater Access to International Baccalaureate Exams
The Board urges the state to appropriate funding that shall account for expenses associated with International Baccalaureate exams for any student attending a Title I School.