Each year, the Georgia School Boards Association solicits input for the Associations’ comprehensive Legislative Positions to present to state governing and regulatory bodies. The Legislative Positions represents the collective resolve for all local boards in the State of Georgia. The local board’s suggestions are compiled by GSBA staff and forwarded to the GSBA Governmental Operations Committee for discussion and recommendation. The final document is approved at the Annual Business Meeting of the Delegate Assembly on Friday, June 13, 2014.
2014 State and Federal Legislative Positions
1. Selection of the Georgia Board of Education and State School Superintendent
DeKalb supports the non-partisan election by popular vote of State Board of Education members by Congressional District to serve a 4-year staggered term. DeKalb further supports the appointment of the State School Superintendent by the elected State Board of Education.
2. Non-Partisan Elections for School Board Members
DeKalb continues to support the non-partisan election of local school board members.
3. Written Notification of Local Legislation
DeKalb supports legislation requiring written notification to any impacted local boards of education where local legislation alters the terms, make-up, compensation, qualifications, or organization of the elected local boards of education.
4. Public School Choice
DeKalb supports school choice plans at the local school district level. Such plans should promote equity, innovation, accountability, increased parental involvement and overall school improvement and should include accountability and access requirements for all students.
DeKalb opposes vouchers, tuition tax credits, or scholarships whose purpose is to allocate public funds to private schools or home study.
6. State Leadership and Teacher Initiative
DeKalb supports the creation of a state-wide initiative to identify and recruit talented candidates into teacher and education leadership preparation programs and provide comprehensive recruitment, induction and retention strategies for all local school districts.
7. Pilot Compensation Programs
DeKalb believes the state should pilot new teacher and leader compensation programs prior to adoption to evaluate the effectiveness and viability of selected compensation scenarios.
8. Funding reform.
DeKalb supports tax reform based upon sound data and research that will bring about a tax system that yields adequate funding, is fair, is stable, and is transparent. Alterations in state support and transfers among districts should broaden the criteria used to determine net recipients of equalization shares including consideration of average real estate property values, the average per capita income, percentage of students on free and reduced meals and the number of taxpayers who live near or below poverty income in determining the “wealth” of school districts for equalization purposes.
9. Development Impact Fees/Zoning Decisions
DeKalb supports allowing for school board authority to levy and collect impact fees for school purposes. DeKalb supports requiring that the impact of planning and zoning decisions on the school district be a factor in the decision.
10. Road and Sales Tax Removal
DeKalb supports exempting local boards of education from paying sales tax on motor fuel.
11. Tax Commissioners or Tax Collectors Fee
DeKalb supports limiting the fee for county services for collecting school taxes to no more than 2.5% of the taxes actually collected.
12. Capital Outlay for Educational Purposes
DeKalb opposes the use of SPLOST funds for non-educationally related projects such as street, bridge, utility and similar improvements.
13. Facility Guidelines
DeKalb supports revising facility guidelines/regulations to include additional classroom space to accommodate appropriate teacher/pupil ratio, instructional needs, technology needs and Pre-K classrooms.DeKalb also urges the Georgia Department of Education to revise facility guidelines to more accurately reflect current building cost per square foot.
14. Professional and Staff Development
DeKalb supports state funding of professional and staff development at a level which will enable certified personnel to participate in approved professional development activities every five years in order to acquire needed job-related skills. DeKalb further supports the state to fully fund the training and professional development needs associated with implementation of any state mandated instructional initiatives.
15. Unemployment Compensation
DeKalb supports state funding of unemployment compensation for local school system employees.
16. Appropriation of Funds For Educational Resources
DeKalb supports state funds being appropriated in the QBE formula to cover actual costs for consumable materials and supplies, replacement of instructional equipment, textbooks, and media materials, including electronic formats.
17. Maintenance and Operation Funding/Transportation
DeKalb supports increased funding for maintenance and operation as part of the total cost of education. DeKalb supports state funding of transportation costs for all students.
18. Unfunded State Requirements/Flexibility
DeKalb supports requiring state funding for state mandates (or federal funding for federal mandates) that go beyond the scope of the traditional responsibilities of a local system. DeKalb further supports flexibility and controls at the system level which permit transfer of funds among QBE programs.
19. Health Insurance and Retirement for Non-Certified Employees
DeKalb supports state funding for employer’s cost of health insurance and retirement funding for non-certified personnel with the QBE FTE formula.
20. Public School Employees Retirement
DeKalb supports increasing Public School Employee Retirement benefits so that they are comparable to the benefits paid by TRS.
21. Teacher Retirement System
DeKalb opposes adopting high risk investments in the TRS portfolio that may endanger the actuarial soundness of the retirement fund.
22. Compulsory Attendance
DeKalb supports compulsory enrollment in educational programs for persons ages six years to 17 years who have not graduated from high school. DeKalb’s support includes both traditional and non-traditional programs as best suited for each student.
23. State-Local Collaboration
DeKalb supports efforts to improve student achievement through a collaborative effort between the Department of Education and local school districts in the development of a challenging and dynamic curriculum that allows for flexible instructional models to meet the needs of all students.
24. Authority Over Curriculum
DeKalb believes that curriculum determination is the responsibility of state and local boards of education and opposes legislative attempts to mandate curriculum.
25. Early Learning Initiative/PreK through Grade 3 Initiative
DeKalb supports the creation of a statewide initiative to formalize an early learning collaborative in each county of the state. DeKalb further supports the adoption of a prekindergarten through grade 3 integrated educational model for all children ages four through eight.
26. Dropout Prevention
DeKalb supports the development of local dropout prevention programs with state and federal assistance based on a uniform definition of dropout. DeKalb supports funding to allow innovative programs through both traditional and nontraditional channels. DeKalb supports providing a mechanism for students to be considered graduates who earn both a GED and a workforce development skills certificate (such students are currently considered dropouts.)
27. Special Education Students and Graduation Rate
DeKalb supports adjusting graduation criteria so that special education students who receive a certificate of completion will not count against Georgia’s graduation rate.[Alternative: …supports adjusting graduation criteria so that special education students who receive a certificate of completion will count toward’s Georgia’s graduation rate.”
28. Charter Schools
DeKalb supports the concept of publicly funded charter schools that provide innovative, quality programming.
29. Non Public School Students – Access to Activities
DeKalb opposes legislation or any State Board of Education rule which mandates access to a public school program, activity, facility, or funding by students not enrolled in that school.
30. Alternative School Programs
DeKalb supports program improvements for students needing alternative schools including expansion to include elementary programs to provide behavioral modification for students exhibiting disruptive behavior tendencies.
31. Educational Program Funding
DeKalb supports the efforts of the Georgia Board of Education and the State Department of Education to maintain a strong working relationship with the U.S. Department of Education
32. Special Education Funding
DeKalb supports fully funding Special Education at the 40% level as mandated by federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.