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July 1 brings new laws
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A number of new laws go into effect July 1 and here is a brief review.

SB 14-Prohibits superintendent or school board members from serving with an immediate family member as principal, assistant principal or central staff.
HB 149-Allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college and receive high school credit. (“Move on When Ready”)
HB 243-Sunsets National Board Certification program, grandfathers in those already awarded or in pipeline
HB 193-Allows local school boards to use total hours instead of total days in meeting the 180-day mandatory attendance.
HB 280-Increases step pay for beginning and existing science and math teachers.
HB 86-Requires proof of citizenship in registering to vote
HB 228-Creates new department of behavioral health and moves public health to Department of Community Health
SB 196-Creates a misdemeanor when a driver has a collision caused by a right of way violation involving bicycles, motorcyclists
HB 160-Increased driver’s license reinstatement fees, but “Super Speeder” provisions begin Jan. 1, 2010.

Education funding hurts some more than others
Formula driven k-12 education and higher education grow despite budget cuts, gains for growing systems

Although education makes up a large part of the state budget, the cuts to k-12 education have been significantly less than cuts to other agencies. Fast growing systems have been the main recipient of the new funds.

Enrollment in k-12 education has continued to increase as Georgia’s population has grown. Since 2001, Georgia’s k-12 student population has grown by 14 percent, or 200,000 students, while k-12 funding has grown by 38 percent. In FY10, k-12 education overall makes up about 40 percent of the state funds in the budget. The FY10 budget appropriates $7.39 billion in state funds to the Department of Education, in addition to $413.1 million in federal stimulus budget stabilization funds. State funds appropriated to the Department of Education over the past five years are as follows:
• FY06, $6.61 billion
• FY07, $7.39 billion
• FY08, $7.97 billion
• FY09, $7.99 billion
• FY10, $7.97 billion (including federal budget stabilization funds.)                                                                                          

So, in the last five years, funds going to K-12 have increased by $1.3 billion.

In total, in FY10, the Department of Education and its component programs only received a 3 percent or $211 million cut from the original FY09 budget which would have funded Education at $8.2 billion and presumed that revenues would grow rather than shrink. By way of comparison, cuts to other agencies in the state averaged 11 percent below the original FY09 budget, not including statewide cuts such as withholding staff pay raises.

K-12 programs have also seen a substantial increase in funding from the federal government through the stimulus bill funding for Title I programs for disadvantaged students and funding for students with special needs. An additional $650 million will go directly to school systems for these programs in FY10.  

Next week — more analysis of winners and losers in education funding formulas

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