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Wednesday, February 22, 2023 - Legislative Day #22
Archive of Past Legislative Alerts 

2023 GAE Day at the Capitol is Tomorrow!
Voucher bill imminent in the Senate
GAE has learned that legislation will be filed tomorrow that would provide private school tuition assistance (vouchers) to any student in Georgia.  The bill will apparently be Senate Bill 233.

Similar to legislation defeated last session, the bill would give any student in Georgia $6,000 to spend on the private school of their choice.  A medical or learning disability is not required to qualify.

With 1.75 million students, the cost to the state is unimaginable.  Senators rejected this idea last year by a vote of 29-20.  If half the students and their families participated, the cost to the state each year would be over $10.5 billion dollars.  Even if just 10%, the cost to the taxpayers of Georgia would be $1 billion.

Given the financial needs of public schools, this money would be better spent on a myriad of funding needs such higher more teachers, counselors, social workers, school psychologists and improving the pay of all educators.  Legislators could easily ensure high-speed internet throughout the state and in rural Georgia.  The General Assembly could fund the transportation costs increasingly born by local systems and provide additional funding for schools that have a high number of students living in poverty.

GAE opposes all voucher legislation.  Public funds should be used by public schools to provide the best education for all Georgia students.
This Week at the Capitol
The Senate Committee on Higher Education met this afternoon and approved two bills:

SB 52 requires the Georgia Student Finance Commission to issue regular reports to the General Assembly and to establish participation and performance targets, including, but not limited to, targets to increase participation and success among under-represented groups of students in the state's dual enrollment program.

SB 86 allows eligible students participating in the dual enrollment program to access HOPE career grant funds for certain CTAE courses, irrespective of whether they have reached maximum credit hour caps.

Calendar for tomorrow

Tomorrow, during GAE's Day at the Capitol, numerous committee meetings are scheduled.  A complete list of hearings tomorrow may be found here.

The House Education Committee will meet at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to take up four bills:

HB 51 would allow the use of "vehicles other than school buses for the transport" of 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.  The sponsor described the bill as a less expensive, more energy efficient way for school system to transport students to scholastic and athletic activities.

HB 318 pertains to Charter Schools Commission and the Office of District Flexibilty.

HB 338, the "Student Technology Protection Act," filed by the chair of the House Education Committee Rep. Chris Erwin of northeast Georgia, requires schools to implement technologies to prevent access to "child pornography," "harmful to minors," and "obscene material," which are defined in the bill and current law.  A school or school system that fails to do so risks loss of state funding.  HB 338 includes language that states it cannot by waived by school districts.

HB 402 requires each school to provide parents/guardians with information about water safety education courses and swimming lessons.

The newly established Senate Committee on Children and Families will hear SB 45,
which provides for the creation of a "seizure action plan" to be followed by the school for a student with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. The meeting is posted for 1 p.m., 307 Coverdell, and can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/showcase/9076408?autoplay=1

The Senate Retirement Committee has a meeting scheduled for Thursday, February 23, at 2 p.m. in the Senate Mezzanine.  No educator-related retirement legislation is on the agenda.

Last chance to register for
tomorrow's GAE Day at the Capitol

Next Update will be Friday, February 24

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