Day 29: Teachers' Bill of Rights Disappears
by Angela Palm on 3/24/2010

Sometimes the news is more about what doesn't happen than about what does.  Today was one of those days.  SB 320, the teachers' bill of rights, was on the Senate Calendar for a vote but that vote never came.  First it was moved to the bottom of the calendar, then the Senate was adjourned just as it came back up.  We are told it is finished this year.

HB 281, the Georgia Virtual School Opportunity and Enrichment Act, failed on Monday but a motion to reconsider passed today.  It did not come up for a vote today but probably will Friday.  The bill allows students who have chosen to attend a charter school (state or local) or to attend a public school outside their attendance zone to be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities at the home school they chose not to attend.  Principals, in accordance with local board policies, must approve.  

Yes You Can

HB 1200 authorizing local boards to solicit and accept donations for field trips, passed the House 160-1. The Constitution already allows local boards to accept donations, bequests, etc, but can there be too many ways to say, yes you can?

HB 980, allowing local board members to be bail bondsmen, passed the House 162-1.

SB 308, changing the public gatherings definition and expanding places for those with a concealed weapon permit to carry them, passed the Senate 41-12.  The bill prohibits guns only from K-12 schools, government buildings, jails, prisons, and mental institutions.

SB 457, adding another method for an area to decide to become a cluster charter, passed the Senate 38-11.  Under current law, the teachers and parents separately vote to convert to a charter.  This bill would allow a referendum for the voters in the attendance zone of the cluster to decide.

Update on SPLOST Legislation

Earlier this session there were three proposals for amending the education SPLOST provision in the Constitution.  HR 1203 is now the vehicle for making a change.  HB 1020 is the enabling legislation that gives the details should the Constitutional amendment pass.  Districts could use the SPLOST for any or all of the following:  capital outlay, maintenance and operations, rolling back the millage, or paying indebtedness.  It changes the SPLOST procedures to be more similar to the county model rather than the simpler method to which districts are accustomed.  It also removes the language about negotiating the split of the SPLOST funds between county and city systems.  We will update our analysis to reflect this latest version.  House leaders want this on Friday's calendar so let your Representatives know how you feel about these changes.

The General Assembly is in recess until 9 AM Friday, March 26th.