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Thursday, February 9, 2023 - Legislative Day #16
Archive of Past Legislative Alerts


Yesterday, we wrote that a bill has just been filed to vastly improve benefits for ESP retirees in the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS), SB 105.

PSERS is the state pension plan for custodians, cafeteria workers, school maintenance personnel, and school bus drivers.

Pension benefits under PSERS are shamefully low ... the monthly benefit check averages $290 a month.

If enacted, SB 105 would raise the minimum multiplier to $17 with no statutory cap.  Current law caps that benefit at $16.50.  As of July 1, 2022, the multiplier is set at $16.

As educators and constituents, you can play a critical role by communicating the importance of this bill's passage. Take a moment using GAE's "two-click" process to let your state Senator and your state Representative that you strongly support this bill.  Click here to begin the process.

Once there, you'll find a sample letter that will be automatically sent to your Senator and Representatives.  PLEASE TAKE JUST A SECOND TO PERSONALIZE this letter.  Tell your legislators about yourself, where you work, and how valuable ESPs are to your mission.  Tell them a story about an ESP who has helped your students and how valuable custodians, cafeteria workers, school maintenance personnel, and school bus drivers are to you and your school.

GAE will continue to work to pass this bill and to improve salary and benefits for all members, including our valued ESPs.
This Week at the State Capitol

The General Assembly will meet again on Monday, February 10 to begin the 17th day of the 40-day session.  Adjournment is scheduled to be on March 29.

Monday, the House Appropriations Committee's Subcomittee on Education will begin reviewing Gov. Brian Kemp's proposed budget for the next fiscal/school year, which begins July 1, 2023.  The hearing will begin at 3:00 p.m., in Room 415 of the Coverdell Building and can be viewed live at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8988927?autoplay=1.

The House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee will also meet Monday, at 1:00 p.m., 415 Coverdell, to review the 2023-2024 budget for the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, and the Georgia Student Finance Commission.  The meeting will be live streamed at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8988927?autoplay=1.

House Education Chair Chris Erwin announced in a meeting of his committee today that subcommittees will hear three bills Monday, beginning at 1:00 p.m., 515 Coverdell.  Members may view the meeting live or recorded at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/8988920?autoplay=1. The bills on the agenda are:

HB 32
, a bill to require the use of video instant replay in high school football state championship games,

HB 51
would allow the use of "vehicles other than school buses for the transport" for any student.  Current law, adopted in 2021, allowed the use of such vehicles to transport students receiving special education services and students who were homeless as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and

HB 141
, which would require every student age eight through 18 to undergo a suicide screening at the beginning of each school year.

At today's meeting, the House Education Committee passed HB 81, which makes changes to state law that governs low-wealth capital outlay grants used to assist school systems with relatively low tax bases.  These grants help fund their school construction programs.  These school districts fall in the bottom 25% of districts based on sales and property tax revenue.

The purpose is to assure that lower wealth systems provide "every public school student is housed in a facility that is structurally sound, well maintained, and has adequate space and equipment to meet each student’s instructional needs."  It is specifically targeted at buildings more than 35 years old and is intended to expedite funding for their replacement.

The other bill passed by the committee is HB 87, entitled the "Non-Traditional Special Schools Act," which  makes changes to the charters of Coastal Plains Education Charter High School, Foothills Education Charter High School, and Mountain Education Charter High School.  These schools offer individualized, self-paced, accredited evening high school for students who have otherwise dropped out of school.  In remarks before the subcommittee earlier, representatives of each of these schools expressed support for the legislation, which was passed and which now moves to the full House.


HB 297, by Rep. Yasmin Neal, would raise starting salaries for "teachers, administrators, and other certificated professional personnel" to $50,000.

HB 301, by Rep. Jason Ridley, would lower the penalty for passing a school bus or speeding a school zone, when captured by cameras, from $250 to $10 for the first offense and $20.00 for the second or subsequent offenses.

HB 320 would require all certified public-school personnel to receive annual training in depression and suicide awareness and prevention.

Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler has a bill, SR 121, to establish the "the Senate Helping Georgia Students Overcome COVID-19 Related Learning Loss Study Committee."



Sen. Rick Williams, R-Milledgeville, chair of
the Senate Retirement Committee

Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Gwinnett, chair of
the Senate Education Committee

Rep. Chris Erwin, R-Homer, chair of
the House Education Committee

Rep. David Wilkerson, D-Mableton, member of the
House  Education and the House Retirement committees

State School Superintendent Richard Woods

More to be announced soon!

Next Legislative Alert will be Monday, February 13

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