Duty-free lunch/teacher planning time bill passes
The Curriculum Subcommittee of the House Education Committee met today to consider
HB 340 to protect duty-free lunch in grades K-5 and ensure planning time for teachers in grades 6-12. The bill has bi-partisan support and passed the committee unanimously. Excerpts from the bill:
"Every teacher who is employed in grades six through 12 for a period of time of more than one-half of the class periods of the regular school day shall be provided a daily planning period of not less than 30 consecutive minutes, and such employee shall not be assigned any responsibilities during such planning period ...
... This duty-free planning period shall not be calculated under any circumstances as a part of any daily lunch period or other noninstructional time."
The bill does includes exceptions in the case of "extreme economic conditions or an unforeseen and unavoidable personnel shortage." The bill as introduced does not include a clause that would prevent school systems from waiving it.
State Rep. Doreen Carter asked the sponsor to include language so that the bill could not be waived by school districts. Her request was not incorporated into an amendment to the bill.
HB 538, the Georgia Early Literacy Act, was also heard. The sponsor of the bill is Houston County Republican Bethany Ballard. HB 538 unanimously passed committee by a substitute. GAE's member and president of the Cobb County Association of Educators (CCAE) was present to testify for the bill. The committee also heard HB 537, another literacy bill, which states: Beginning July 1, 2025, "at least 20 percent of annual training requirements for all new and existing child care learning centers and family child care learning home providers shall be focused on age-appropriate evidence based literacy instruction." HB 537 also passed out of committee.
The Education Policy Subcommittee of the House Education Committee will meet Wednesday, March 1, at 8:30 a.m. in Room 506 of the Coverdell Building. There is no agenda posted as of this writing.