Legislative Day 22 was a day of quick work in the House Education Committee. The following bills were discussed and passed:

HB 402 – Rep. Scott Hilton presented the water safety act name changed to Edna Mae McGovern Act during the meeting to honor Edna who drowned in her backyard pool under the age of 2.  Her mother shared the tragic story of the day Edna slipped away and was found later floating in the family pool. This bill honors her by requiring schools to provide water safety information annually and the places in the local community where water safety certifications are available for students 18 years of age and younger. After much discussion and many questions, the bill passed unanimously.

HB 51 – Rep. Clay Pirkle – Presented the bill is to provide flexibility in transporting students mainly in small numbers 8 or less to school sponsored activities. The local school district can adopt this policy and provide an alternative vehicle to transport students. This is to address the concerns of running a large school bus for a few students and reduce the cost of operations.  It is an opt in piece of legislation.  It passed unanimously. This is potentially a bill that could solve some transport issues related to students and their school related activities. The GADOE will promulgate some of the detailed rules.

The Senate continues to work through the AFY24 budget and we are getting bits and pieces of their recommendations and some of what we have seen will likely cause the House and the Senate to create a conference committee from each chamber to hammer out differences. We will continue to monitor the budget developments.

Tomorrow the full House Education Committee will hear the following bills:

HB 318 – Rep. Scott Hilton – We have suggested changes to some of the language in the bill.  This bill is poorly written public policy where it is requiring the State Board of Education to supervise employees from the charter commission. An appointed political body providing supervision of efficiencies and effectiveness of the performance of employees. Just not a good fit! There is a 3% enrollment cap that is a part of the charter contracts and this bill permits exceeding the cap without any accountability. Another bad idea. Why have an enrollment cap if you give a green light to violate it.  These are just a few issues with this legislation.  You might want to contact your legislator if they sit on the education committee and express your thoughts.  You can click on the bill number and read other details of the bill that are just unclear and it shifts in small steps the authority to the state level.  (my opinion) I expect this is salvo number 1 and I am sure the goal is to eventually leap frog the local boards and pressure them to approve more charters or limit their ability to approve or overrule their position.

HB 338 –   Rep. Chris Erwin – Student Safety Technology Act – This bill passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate. It is a decent bill that addresses filtering of harmful materials to students on school servers and equipment. The key is going to be the cost which is being cleared up in the explanation of what the bill accomplishes.  Stay tuned for the details.

Have a good night!

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