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A look at state's new laws
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The governor has been steadily signing legislation and a number of important pieces have been signed, but there is still a lot of legislation that has had little publicity or is still left as the 40-day signing period winds down. 

Education-Continued from last week

HB 692—Resulted from the test cheating scandal in Atlanta. Requires teachers and administrators who received bonuses or salary increases based on falsified test score improvements to return the money.

HB 706—An 11-page bill but basically is a code language "clean-up" bill of Title 20 recommended by the Education Commission. State Superintendent John Barge was the chair of that subcommittee.  

HB 713—Delays the implementation of some career and college readiness initiatives for one year. Requires career education for all students in all grades and requires the state Board of Eduation to develop transition courses for students failing readiness standards.

HB 1162—The controversial "charter school" constitutional amendment to be voted on this November. Authorizes a charter commission and authorizes state funds to be allotted to public charter schools approved by the commission and the state BOE. Does not affect state funding going to local systems. They still earn full amounts based on FTEs and equalization status. Also does not affect local tax dollars going to education. Those local tax dollars continue and are not reduced. Basically, clearly authorizes state funding for public charter schools independent of local systems approval.

HB 797—If the constitutional amendment to be voted upon in November passes, HB 797 will provide the implementing legislation. The bill assigns duties to the Charter Commission and lays out the framework for considering new public charter schools. Gives the commission the authority to draft standards of accountability for charter schools and for new applications.  Provides for annual reviews of schools’ financial and academic performance. Applications would not be considered by the Commission until and unless the petition was turned down by a local board. Provides a funding amount that will be paid by the state BOE to include QBE formula, proportionately shared categorical and other grants and an additional amount equal to what the lowest five school systems receive and earn a state-wide average capital outlay amount per FTE. Bill is effective Jan. 1, 2013 only if HR 1162 is approved by the voters in the general election.

HB 39—Having to do with home-schooled children reporting requirements. Intent to homeschool must now be filed with state BOE initially and each September. School system must notify by certified mail of responsibility of parents to file intent to homeschool or enroll in public or private schools.

HB 175—Establishes an on-line clearinghouse of computer-based distance learning courses offered by local school systems and charter schools that may be taken by students enrolled in local schools or charter schools. The system will be fee-based. The state DOE must review content of each course prior to inclusion to determine if it meets curriculum standards.  Student enrollment would have to be approved by the student’s school system or charter school. Courses would be counted for formula funding. Systems and charter schools are still allowed to utilize computer-based courses from other sources.

HB 181—Georgia Special Needs Scholarships—Spells out the notification that parents must be given about options available under the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Act. Authorizes Board of Education to waive prior year public school attendance requirements and require the expedited development of an individualized education program for students to qualify for the scholarship.  Also amends the formula used to calculate the maximum scholarship amount and sets the dates on which quarterly scholarship payments must be made to parents of scholarship students.

Elections

SB 92—Election housekeeping bill, but does move the state to on-line registration and revises the process for when the governor calls a special election when there is a vacancy in the General Assembly. Provides a second qualifying period for independent candidates that coincides with partisan qualifying. Parts of the bill will not be effective until the U.S. Justice Department reviews.

SB 101—Authorizes each local board of education and election superintendent to develop a Student Teen Election Participant (STEP) program which allows high school students to volunteer as poll officers during any election up to six hours with supervision. Successful participants receive full credit for the school day.

Next week:

  Finance, Health and Human Services review

If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly Web site at http://www.legis.ga.gov.

 I may be reached at

234 State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334

(404) 656-5038 (phone)

(404) 657-7094 (fax)

E-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov

Or call toll-free at

1-800-367-3334 day or night

 Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811