Below you will find the latest Legislative agendas effecting our school and public education as a whole. Please read below and contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or require any further information:
Federal Funding for Public Education:
- Federal funding for public education programs has remained at 2% of the federal budget for decades, despite the increase in public school enrollment and the rising cost of education resources and services. This disparity between funding levels and actual costs means that the federal government has essentially enacted cuts to classrooms. The federal government’s deadline to fund the government for the next year is Sept. 30, 2017. If you would like the United States to have a strong economy powered by a well-educated workforce that can compete on the global stage, then stand with four million parents, teachers, students and community leaders as we demand that Congress #STOPCutsToClassrooms and invest more than 2% in public education before the next fiscal year on October 1, 2017. https://www.votervoice.net/Shares/BAAAAATmAElRAAfJRMR7FAA
State BoE News:
- The State Board of Education finished its two-day meeting Thursday, August 24th. On Wednesday, five Committees of the Board met. The Audit Committee discussed the school districts and state charters that are considered high risk based on timely financial statements, audit findings, and other factors.The Rules Committee reviewed proposed rule changes up for adoption, proposed changes to the school bus specifications, and discussed two portions of the state ESSA plan. The bus specifications have not been changed since 2010 so appropriate district personnel might want to review the proposal or at least review the summary of changes.
- The Committee also discussed proposed changes to the Testing Programs - Student Assessment rule. One of the changes would reduce testing for students in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. The course grade would be used in lieu of the end of course test (EOCT) so that students do not have to take the EOCT and the AP or IB exam. The Governor's Office of Student Achievement disagreed with the change since grading differs from one teacher to another and there should be consistency in the elements of the accountability system. There was no resolution in the meeting as this topic was for discussion only.
- The District Flexibility and Charter Schools Committee reviewed proposed amendments to district contracts and the updates to the charter rules. Dr. Bonnie Holliday, Executive Director of the State Charter Schools Commission, gave an update on the current petition cycle. Of the 12 petitions received, two will be recommended for approval. Five withdrew after the interview process and two did not meet the legal requirements. The Commission has averaged an approval rate of 20%-25%. There have been a lack of quality petitions. The bulk of the time was spent on a discussion on the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) and district improvement plan (DIP) sent out this year for the first time. Dan Weber, Executive Director of the Charter Systems Foundation, discussed the issues he saw with the plans and the legal authority to require that districts complete them. He made recommendations for changes based on feedback from some districts. Department personnel explained the state's rationale and efforts they have made to address the problems. Both sides will continue the discussion.
- The Budget Committee pulled one item from the agenda. Title V, Part B, Rural and Low-Income Schools Allocations was pulled as no information has been received from Washington as to the amount. The Committee reviewed most of the budget items on the agenda. The budget request for amended FY '18 and '19 did not receive much discussion as it contains few changes in accordance with the budget instructions. The proposed mid-term adjustment is $115.8 million in the amended budget. FY '19 includes a $25 million increase in equalization, a $35 million increase to the local five mill share deduction, and a total of $445 million in increases to QBE. The austerity reduction would rise $2.6 million to $169,388,279.
**The budget is the thing to watch. Governor Deal has established an Education Reform Commission which is charged with coming up with a new funding formula to distribute State monies to public schools to replace the current 35-year-old QBE formula. They issues a report with recommendations in late 2015. It can be viewed on the Governor's website.**
- The First Priority Act Committee received an update from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) on the search for a Chief Turnaround Officer The application period closed August 18th. They received 58 applications with at least 20 being identified as top tier. This group will be screened by phone in a 20 minute call with one State Board member and on member of the Turnaround Advisory Council on the call with NASBE. That group will be narrowed down to around 5-8 candidates. An in-depth screening call will be done with NASBE, three State Board members, and three members of the Turnaround Advisory Council. At its last meeting, the Council chose Dr. Allene Magill, Executive Director of PAGE; Kim Evans, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the CSRA in Augusta, named to the Council by Lt. Governor Casey Cagle; and Lex Rainey, former Superintendent in Gilmer County, named to the Council by Speaker of the House David Ralston. The second screening call will determine who will be interviewed in person. They anticipate having the CTO named by the end of October.
Georgia Draft of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- In 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. It reduces the number of mandatory statewide standardized tests and allows States to develop their own implementation plans. Georgia plans to submit its draft ESSA plan to the U.S. Department of Education in September 2017. The plan can be found here: http://www.gadoe.org/Documents/Georgia%27s%20State%20ESSA%20Plan%20--%20Governor%20Deal.pdf. An in-depth timeline is available at gadoe.org/ESSA.
Cobb County School District 2018 Budget Preparations:
- Visit the following website for details: http://www.cobbk12.org/centraloffice/finance/2018Budget/
The East Cobb Public Library located at 4880 Lower Roswell Road may be closing due to budget cuts.
- The Cobb County Board of Commissioners will conduct the second public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2018 budget at 9 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the BOC Room on the second floor of 100 Cherokee St., Marietta. At the public hearing, anyone wishing to be heard on the budget and the possible closure of the library may speak. The Cobb BOC will adopt the FY 2018 budget immediately following this second public hearing. To locate your county commissioner, go to https://cobbcounty.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=1645. There is also an online petition to stop the library closure, go to https://www.change.org/p/cobb-county-board-of-commissioners-keep-the-east-cobb-library-open.