Week Six Legislative Report, March 1, 2013

Week Six Legislative Report
March 1, 2013

Legislative Calendar
Week Seven:  Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (Thursday is Crossover Day)
Week Eight:  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Week Nine:  March 20th (Day 35)
Days 35-40 of the legislative session will be determined at a later date.
Highlighted Bills:  The bills below have seen some movement;
therefore, they are being monitored closely
HB 70 (Rep. Golick) House gave a DO PASS
The bill amends the current law related to special needs vouchers.  The bill would allow the State Board to require a local board to expedite development of an IEP and to waive the prior school year requirement (on a case-by-case basis) for specific medical needs of the student.  The State Board will also report the number of waivers granted annually.  Applications for the special needs voucher program shall be accepted by the Department of Education on September 15, December 15, and February 15 each year.  The Department of Education shall make quarterly scholarship payments to parents on later than November 1st, January 7th, April 1st, and May 1st.
HB 211  (Rep. Benton)
The bill exempts public school systems from motor vehicle taxes.
HB 244 (Rep. Coleman) House gave a DO PASS
The bill establishes the state developed annual performance evaluation process for educators, which much prioritize student achievement growth as a measurement tool.  Student growth is required to count for 50% of the total evaluation of the educator.  Educators will be measured on a four-tier scale, with unsatisfactory as the lowest evaluation outcome.  It requires school systems to report more than two unsatisfactory performance evaluations for an educator to the Professional Standards Commission (PSC).  The requirement for professional development plans for deficient educators is eliminated.  The bill also mandates that school systems conduct any promotions, dismissals, compensation or reductions in force based on the evaluation system described.  Teacher contract deadlines are permanently extended to May 15th rather than April 15th.  Teacher acceptance of such contracts is also extended from May 1st to June 1st.
HB 245 (Rep. Benton) House gave a DO PASS
The bill explicitly states that an educator cannot be prohibited from enrolling in a leadership preparation program regardless of their current position within the school system.
HB 283 (Rep. Coleman) House gave a DO PASS
Title 20 revision bill. This bill changes the weights for middle school years programs.  The bill deletes all references to middle grades program.  This means every school 5-8 will get the same funding.  Charter system funding would be changed to provide a one-time implementation grant, rather than an additional amount annually per FTE.  Other changes include:
Verbiage change.   The term “vocational” to career, technical, and agricultural education in state code
Adjusts program weights of QBE programs to reflect change in SHBP calculation and recommended changes in personnel funding.
Changes supplemental funding for charter systems to a one-time implementation grant for all charter system approved on or after January 1, 2012
The QBE formula is amended, so that school psychologists, special education leadership personnel, and school social workers are indirect costs in a student services category.
Authorizes the State Board to establish a grant program, subject to appropriations, to incentivize adoption of digital learning using high-speed internet connections.  Grants could be used for the purchase of technology capital including desktop computers, network equipment, wireless equipment, and tablet computers.  Grant criteria may include financial need, lack of existing bandwidth, and any previous grants received by the local board.
Amends the online clearinghouse of distance learning courses to state that the Department of Education shall set fees for one-credit and half-credit courses offered by a local school system or charter school to another local school system or charter school.
Amends home school reporting to allow written or electronic confirmation of attendance.
Amends definition of charter petitioner so that as of July 1, 2013, a charter for a local charter school shall be a three-party agreement between a charter petitioner, a local board of education, and the State Board.
Allows local boards to take 90 days to consider a charter petition for a conversion or start up charter rather than the current 60 day limit
Clarifies that a separate audit of a charter school is not required if the charter was included in the school system audit
Authorizes the Office of Student Achievement to incorporate a nonprofit corporation that could qualify as a foundation.  No regulatory powers or governmental functions could be conducted by the nonprofit.
HB 284 (Rep. Pruitt) Committee Sub
Return to Play Act of 2013
House gave a DO PASS
The bill enacts the “Return to Play Act of 2013” and requires public, private, and charter schools to provide information to parents on the nature and risk of concussion and head injury.  It also establishes concussion management and return to play policies.
HB 327 (Rep. Coleman) House gave a DO PASS
The bill provides for three levels of flexibility based on CCPRI scores.  It retains the five year term and the renewal term of 10 years is not listed.  The new teacher evaluation system (HB 244 may not be waived by any school/charter system).  Initial ratings for school systems will be based on a two-year average of CCRPI scores for each school system, based on the2012-2013 and 2013-2014 CCRPI for individual schools and averaged to determine the school system rating or the most recent CCRPI for the school system (whichever is higher).
Strategic School System (rating of lower than 80)
High Performing (a system with a rating of 80 or above or one which has significant improvement as demonstrated through CCPRI scores).
Charter Systems
High Performing schools would be free to use many waivers without application (starting in 2015), such as expenditure controls, salary schedule, certification, and classroom size.
Strategic School Systems may still request increased flexibility; however, they will be subject to increased accountability by submitting a waiver request and must submit a strategic plan to the state board of education. Any waiver requests should articulate in a strategic plan how the requested waivers will enable the school system to make progress toward specific goals relating to student achievement outcomes. The strategic plan must include proposed performance goals and performance measures and benchmarks for evaluating improvement and achievement and monitoring progress toward student achievement outcomes.
HB 337 (Rep. Fleming) House committee gave a DO PASS
The bill authorizes schools to keep a stock supply of auto-injectable epinephrine.  According the bill’s sponsor, the manufacturer of this drug has agreed to provide two pens to each school for free.
HR 218 (Rep. Sims) House Education Committee gave a DO PASS
The bill urges local school superintendents to recognize that learning the United States Constitution is a vital facet of primary education.
House Bills
HB 456 (Rep. Bell)
The bill prohibits discrimination by student scholarship organizations in hiring, admission, or awarding of scholarships or tuition grants.
HB 468 (Rep. Jacobs) House Judiciary Committee gave a DO PASS
The bill prohibits local school board members from using public funds for litigation expenses relating to removal proceedings.
HR 486 (Rep. Taylor)
This Constitutional Amendment provides that municipalities created on or after January 1, 2005 may establish their own independent school system even if the municipalities are located in different Counties.
HB 489 (Rep. Nix)
The bill provides that a member of the Teacher Retirement System of Georgia may revoke benefits to a spouse if that person remarries.
HB 490 (Rep. Barr)
The bill would provide teacher health insurance plans to library employees.
HB 512 (Rep.  Jasperse)
The bill would expand the areas in which you are permitted to carry a gun, such as churches and college campuses.   The bill also redefines a school safety zone.  The definition is expanded to include any building owned or leased by the school system.
HB 518 (Rep. Strickland)
The bill provides that a school bus driver must flash the amber lights within 200 feet of the bus stop and any driver must stop when these lights are on.
HR 502 (Rep. Tanner)
The resolution creates a Joint Study Committee on Mental Health and School Violence.
Senate Bills
SB 68 (Sen. Ligon) Senate gave a DO PASS
The bill establishes the week including September 17th as Celebrate Freedom Week to educate students about the sacrifices made for freedom in the founding of this country and the values, principles, and philosophies on which this country was founded.  During this week all public schools would be required to include about three hours of instruction on the Constitution, other founding documents, and the founding fathers.
SB 189 (Sen. Millar) Senate Education and Youth Committee gave a DO PASS
The bill permits proprietary institutions of higher education to participate in establishing college/career academies would be eligible for equalization grants.
SB 115 Senate gave a DO PASS
For accountability purposes, students who reside in residential placement centers shall have their student performance data included in a separate LEA (district) rather than in the district where the center is located.
SB 167 (Sen. Ligons)
The bill would prohibit Georgia from participating in the Common Core Curriculum and participation in Race to the Top.
SB 195 (Sen. Hufstetlar)
The bill authorizes schools to keep a stock supply of auto-injectable epinephrine.
SB 203 (Sen. Ligon)
The bill established a Curriculum Content Standards Advisory Council to review/revise competencies/content standards (i.e., Common Core).
SB 212 (Sen. Mullis)
Require schools to provide training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation in health or physical education courses.  This can be taught via video provided by the Red Cross and the course will not result in certification.
SB 215 (Sen. Mullis)
Education; no high school which receives state funding shall participate in athletic association; classifying schools for purposes of athletic competition
SB 227 (Sen. Millar)
Employment Security; provide changes to the determination of eligibility for unemployment benefits
SB 243 (Sen. Bethel)
The bill is another version of the student scholarship organization.  The rate would still be capped at $50 million and indexed by the consumer price index.  The bill calls for increased accountability by requiring the family gross adjusted income of recipients.  Organizations must expend at least 90% of revenues, however, this amount is lessoned if the organization receives over $1 million.  The bill requires students to be enrolled (i.e., registered) for at least six weeks.  The financial need of the family will be considered in the dissemination of the scholarships.
SR 412 (Rep. Shafer)
This Constitutional amendment proposes a prohibition on any additional sales taxes and prohibits raising the rate of sales taxes currently in effect.

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