The Georgia General Assembly is half way down their 40 day road. Here are some of the education issues coming down the pipe.
HB 969 – School Tax Rate Cut
There are 180 school districts in Georgia and DeKalb Schools pays the 2nd highest school tax (millage) rate in the state. Art. VIII – Sec VI of the Georgia Constitution says, the “school system shall annually certify to its fiscal authority or authorities a school tax not greater than 20 mills per dollar for the support and maintenance of education.”
House Bill 969 was dropped last week which would affect the funding for certain counties funding their school districts over 20 mills. The state constitution prohibits school districts from having a millage rate over 20 mills but provides an exception for certain districts. DeKalb has received this exception since 1971. House Bill 969 only affects county school systems having, in addition to the county school system, one or more cities school systems. There is only one county school district, containing a city school district, that taxes over 20 mills … DeKalb.
HB 659 – Financial Transparency and Disclosure
The House passed HB 659 which requires systems and schools to report certain financial information via web sites. Boards of education shall make the following accessible to the public:
- school site budgets and expenditures
- cost of all materials, equipment, and other nonstaff support
- salary and benefit expenditures for all staff
- cost of all professional development
- total cost of facility maintenance and small capital projects
- cost of new construction or facility repair reported on a per square foot basis
- school district annual budget
- annual audits on the system finances
- ratio of expenditures to revenues
- total dollar amount of local property tax revenue the system is authorized to collect and the total program mill levy
- total dollar amount of all other tax revenue collected
- total dollar amount of all additional private funds received or distributed to each school within the system
HB 977 – Limit public college tuition and student fee increases
According to the college board, since 1978 the cost of living has increased roughly 3-fold while college tuition and fees increase has approached 10-fold. HB 977 attempts to tie college tuition and fee increases to the rate of inflation.