16 Legislative Days Completed 
  • Crossover Day (Day 28) will be Friday, March 1st.  This is the point at which bills must "cross over" from the first chamber to the second in order to stay alive.
  • Sine Die (last day) will be Thursday, March 30th.

Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed 2018 budget includes $57.4 million in additional lottery funds, bringing the combined total for Georgia's lottery funded Pre-Kindergarten and HOPE financial aid programs to $1.13 billion. About $757 million of that total is allocated to the HOPE program, and the remaining $364 million is directed to Pre-K.

The two most significant funding changes in these programs include an increase of nearly $50 million to boost HOPE award amounts by 3 percent to keep pace with program growth and a $5.2 million bump for Pre-K teacher salaries.

A Quick Overview of Governor Deal's
Plan B: HB 338
(In response to the  Opportunity School District plan)
  • A Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO) would be appointed by the State Board and report directly to them.
  • The CTO will recommend personnel to serve as turnaround coaches for State Board approval. 
  • Coaches will be assigned to one or more schools and shall assist in creating local collaborations to address personal and community conditions impacting student achievement.
  • The schools will be identified based on the number of years they have received "an unacceptable rating and any other factors deemed appropriate by the Chief Turnaround Officer." 
  • Local boards can amend their flexibility contracts to agree to receive assistance from the state.  Otherwise, the State Board has up to 60 days to implement one or more of the interventions in current law.
  • Local boards that have no flexibility contract can sign an intervention contract to agree to receive assistance or the State Board will immediately implement one or more of the interventions in current law.
  • Within 90 days of entering into the contract, a turnaround coach, RESA personnel, and possibly a third party provider shall conduct a comprehensive evaluation, make recommendations, and help develop an intensive school improvement plan.
  • After 2 years, if the school is not improving, there are ten possible interventions including continuing the implementation of the plan.
  • Before the implementation of any intervention, the local board can request a hearing before the State Board to show why the proposed intervention should not be implemented or that an alternative is better.
  • An Education Turnaround Advisory Council would report to the State Board their recommendations on the qualifications and method of identifying and selecting the CTO.  They could also submit names of potential candidates for CTO and turnaround coaches. The Council would be made up of the executive directors or their designee(s) of GSBA, GSSA, PAGE, GAE, and the President of Georgia PTA.
  • A Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process is also created in the bill.  The Committee shall also consider the possibility of establishing a school board review commission.
  • After five or more consecutive years of one-half or more of a district's schools receiving an unacceptable rating, the school board can be removed using the same procedures as are currently in place using the accreditation status as the trigger.  If the local board is under a contract amendment or intervention contract and is in substantial compliance with the contract, this is stayed. 
Key Education Legislation:
Click any number below to read the entire bill. 
HB 26:   Raise Mandatory Education Age from 16 to 17 

HB 28: Lead Contamination Testing in Public and Private Schools 
In House Education Committee. 

HB 32: Prohibit Sexual Contact Between School Employees & Students 
In House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. 

HB 37  Sanctuary Policies. Private post secondary institutions shall not adopt sanctuary policies.  In House Education Committee.

 HB 65: Low THC Oil Patient Registry 
In the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee. Would establish a registry for low THC oil patients. Redefines "low THC" from 3% to 5%.

HB 77 Mental Health Training Materials  In House Education Committee. Relating to student health in elementary and secondary education, so as to provide for the development of a list of training materials in mental health, behavioral disabilities, and learning disabilities; to provide that no cause of action is created; to provide that no duty of care is created. 

HB 139  Financial Transparency in Schools  In House Education committee. So as to provide transparency of financial information of local school systems and schools to the greatest extent practicable.

HB 198 Flu Vaccine. In House Education Committee. Requires local districts to provide info re the influenza vaccine.

HB 200 Sunscreen. Would authorize students to carry and self-administer sunscreen (and require a local board policy) because "the General Assembly hereby finds and declares that many children in Georgia are exposed to excessive ultraviolet radiation because school policies prevent the use of sunscreen at school and in school sponsored activities." 

HB 273 Recess In House Education Committee. Requiring each local board to schedule a daily recess for students in grades K-5 of at least 30 minutes of supervised, unstructured activity time, preferably outdoors beginning with the 2017-18 school year.  Local boards shall also establish policies to ensure recess is a safe experience, provides a break in academic learning, and that recess is not used as a punishment. 

HB 280 Campus Carry. Would allow permit-holding Georgians, age 21 and up, to carry weapons on college campuses.  The bill exempts  athletic facilities and student housing.  This year's version adds an exemption for preschool space but "shall not apply if (the campus) has more than one building on the campus housing preschool space."

HR 57:  Establishes study committee on school nutrition; attempts to undo nutritional guidelines already in place; also attempts to get more GA produce in schools (20% of produce used in schools from GA farms)

SB 3Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training (CONNECT) Act
In Senate Education Committee. To provide for industry credentialing for students who complete certain focused programs of study.

SB 16: Low THC Oil 
In Senate Health Committee. Relating to the regulation of low THC oil and the establishment of the Low THC Oil Patient Registry, and change the definition of low THC oil. 

SB 29: Require testing for lead contamination in child care learning centers 
In Senate Health. 

SB 77: Raise Mandatory Education Age (Sen. Vincent Fort)
Senate Education & Youth. Would raise age of mandatory education from 16 to 17. 

For legislative highlights and review, watch  Lawmakerswhich airs at 
7 PM on GPB
every day the General Assembly is in session. 
You can also watch a live stream of each legislative day's proceedings on the General Assembly website. Go to www.legis.state.ga.us and click the Live Broadcast link on the left. 
Georgia Library Media Association