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Tuesday, January 23, 2024 - Day 7
Prior Legislative Updates for this Year

Day 7 is in the books; session will

be 25% completed by Friday

The Senate Education and Youth Committee held its first meeting of the session, passing four bills this afternoon.

HB 306 makes changes to the state law that allows public school systems to enter into multi-year contracts for "energy cost savings measures" which reduce energy or water consumption or wastewater production.  The bill passed unanimously.

SB 208 and SR 189 are enabling legislation and a proposed Constitutional amendment that allow "high growth school systems" to impose "educational development impact fees" that could be imposed to pay for a share of the cost of additional educational facilities to serve new growth and development.  A "high growth" system is defined as one which has seen a total enrollment increase of 20 percent or more in the last ten years and has spent more than $250 million or more on the construction of new educational facilities in the past ten years.

A fourth bill, which passed on a 4-2 vote, is SB 147, appears to be a bill to allow the Forsyth County Virtual Academy to enroll students from other school districts across the state, taking state funding from the student home-resident system, including equalization grants.  The 4-2 vote may portend some concern among legislators outside the committee.

<<< Click on the graphic to access
GAE's two-click process to tell
legislators you oppose
private school vouchers

New legislation would require educators email
parents each time student checks out a book

Legislation filed this week in the state Senate would require educators to send an email to parents/guardians each and every time their child checks out a book from the school library.

The bill, SB 365, would also add to existing law, passed in 2022, SB 266, which established new parental complaint procedures for parents/guardians to challenge material that is "harmful to minors."  SB 365 adds "any written or electronic materials made available to students in a public school, including classroom materials, school library materials, or any materials made available to a public school student as part of an extracurricular activity offered or supervised by the public school."

The bill also would add to existing law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), to include:

"... [Without limitation, attendance reports and records; test scores, grades, disciplinary records, counseling records, and psychological records; applications for admission; health and immunization information; student evaluations by teachers and school counselors; reports of behavioral patterns; records relating to assistance provided for learning difficulties, including information collected regarding any intervention strategies used with the student; and records relating to any written or electronic materials made available to students enrolled in a public school, including classroom materials, school library materials, or any materials made available to a student as part of an extracurricular activity offered or supervised by the public school."

Senate Retirement Committee expected to
vote Thursday on pension bill affecting ESPs

SB 105 affects custodians, cafeteria workers,
bus drivers, and maintenance personnel
SB 105, a GAE initiative to eliminate the statutory limits on pension benefits for school bus drivers, cafeteria staff, bus drivers, and maintenance, will reportedly be considered by the Senate Retirement Committee Thursday.

The average benefits for these ESPs in the Public School Employees Retirement System (PSERS) is $290 a month!  Benefits are figured using a figure of $16.50 multiplied by years of service.  That $16.50 figure is set in state law.  SB 105 would eliminate that cap and set a minimum of $17, which can grow each successive year. 
The Senate Retirement Committee will meet on Thursday at 1 p.m. in 310 Coverdell.  The meeting will be live-streamed at: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9076396?autoplay=1.
Click on the graphic above to sign up for tomorrow's Legislative Contact
Team (LCT) meeting and the latest reports on the legislative session.
The next Legislative Update will be Wednesday, January 24
Some members have reported difficulty downloading the nomination form for candidates for delegate positions at 2024 NEA Representative Assembly
Click here to download the form.  Directions for submitting are on the form.  It is not fillable, and you must print and sign.  You can email a scan or a picture of the completed form to gaeelections@gae.org.
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