March 12, 2020

Legislative Session
Day 28 (Part 1)
Report Snapshot

Legislature & Many School Districts Suspend Indefinitely

Partial Report from PAGE

Senate & House Approve Changes to Amended FY 2020 Budget

House Passes REACH Scholarship Reduction

Senate Passes Whole Child, Period Products, and Career Academy Bills; Other Bills Did Not Receive a Vote


Upcoming Schedule

Friday, March 13 – Legislative Day 29


Legislature & Many School Districts Suspend Indefinitely

Today marked Legislative Day 28, Crossover Day, the day by which all legislation must pass one chamber in order to remain viable. The day was made even more significant when House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan simultaneously announced that the state legislature would suspend indefinitely.

The announcement to suspend came shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp’s press conference regarding COVID-19. The governor cited a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia and said schools should assess whether to close for two weeks, beginning immediately. “We know school closures have a major impact on our Georgia families,” Kemp said. “Given the rise of the coronavirus, I am going to issue a call to action. If local communities feel it is prudent, you should consider closing day cares and schools as early as tomorrow through the next two weeks,” he continued.

Following Kemp’s announcement, a cascade of school district closures were announced.

For more information regarding Georgia public schools and COVID-19, please visit the Georgia Department of Education website .

-Margaret Ciccarelli
Partial Report from PAGE

Due to the uncertainty around the continuation of the legislative session as well as the number of bills reviewed by both chambers, the PAGE legislative team presents the Day 28 report in two parts. Part two of the report will be released tomorrow, March 13.


-Claire Suggs
Senate & House Approve Changes to Amended FY 2020 Budget

Highlight:

  • Amended FY 2020 Budget adds funds for AP exams.

The Senate and House agreed on final revisions to the Amended Fiscal Year 2020 (AFY 2020) budget, which are outlined in House Bill 792 . Lawmakers made two changes to the K-12 portion of the budget. They added $400,000 to cover the projected cost of Advanced Placement exams and reduced funding for the Local 5 Mill Share component of the K-12 funding formula, the Quality Basic Education formula (QBE), by approximately $3 million. This decrease reflects updated information.

The final AFY 2020 budget for the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), which covers the current school year, is about $12.9 billion. It includes an increase of $104 million for the QBE to fund an increase in student enrollment as well as a four percent cut to most other programs operated by the department. Additional information about the state budget is available in this report from the PAGE legislative team.

-Claire Suggs
House Passes REACH Scholarship Reduction

Highlight:

  • State's need-based financial aid program downsized.

The House passed HB 1026 , which reduces the number of slots for the REACH Scholarship program, the state’s need-based financial aid program. The bill aims to cut the number of scholarships available in large districts from 12 to eight, and from seven to five in small districts.

-Claire Suggs
 Senate Passes Whole Child, Period Products, and Career Academy Bills; Other Bills Did Not Receive a Vote

The Senate passed the following bills:

SB 102 by Sen. Emmanuel Jones (D-Decatur) codifies Whole Child work underway at the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).

SB 349 by Sen. Donzella James (D-Atlanta) would require each high school and middle school to have period products available to students in a central location determined by the school.

SB 416 by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) seeks to better align the efforts of technical colleges to recruit new and expand existing industries with programs offered by career academies. More information about the bill is available  here

The following bills were on the Senate Rules calendar to be considered today, but the Senate did not vote on them. The bills are no longer eligible to pass once the General Assembly reconvenes.

SB 101 by Sen. Brandon Beach would have required volunteer coaches with youth athletic associations to undergo annual training to reduce the likelihood of injuries to youth athletes ages 14 and under engaged in high-risk athletics.

SB 400 by Sen. Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) would have set objectives for the dual enrollment program including participation rates for underrepresented students. The bill would also have required the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) to prepare an annual report on the program that would include participation rates disaggregated by socioeconomic groups, college enrollment and completion rates for participating students, and factors linked to withdrawal from or failure in dual enrollment courses.

SB 404 and SR 776 by Sen. Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) constitute a package of companion bills, including a proposed constitutional amendment allowing voters to decide whether local boards of education can levy development impact fees. SB 404 would only have applied to several high-growth school districts such as Forsyth County, which Dolezal represents, and Buford City Schools.

SB 486 by Sen. P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville) would have allowed schools to provide a college entrance exam to junior high school students during normal school hours.

-Josh Stephens
Claire Suggs
Senior Education Policy Analyst
csuggs@pageinc.org
Josh Stephens
Legislative Affairs Specialist
jstephens@pageinc.org
Margaret Ciccarelli
Director of Legislative Services
mciccarelli@pageinc.org