Monthly Archives: February 2016

Education Legislative Updates

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.

Cross Keys Over Crowding – The Plan

DeKalb County School District held three (3) public meetings to present redistricting options to address overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster.
Related Posts
03/07/2016 – Approved Cross Keys Redistricting Plan
02/14/2016 – Cross Keys Over Crowding – The Plan
01/16/2016 – Redistricting the Cross Keys Cluster
  Public Meetings on Redistricting Options 
Why Are We Considering Redistricting?
There is substantial overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster. The goal is to reduce overcrowding and the number of students in portable classrooms for next school year (Fall 2016).
The Board, upon recommendation of the Superintendent, may alter school attendance areas in accordance with Policy AD based on the following criteria:

Primary Criteria
1. Geographic Proximity
2. Instructional Capacity
3. Projected Enrollment
Secondary Criteria
1. Safety and Traffic Patterns
2. Previous Redistricting
3. Balancing of Special Programs
4. School Feeder Alignment
5. Intact Neighborhoods

Fall 2016 Redistricting Plan
On February 11th at Cross Keys HS, DeKalb Schools district staff presented a recommended plan to help relieve overcrowding in the Cross Keys Cluster starting this year, Fall 2016.

  • Redistricting 61 Woodward ES students to Fernbank ES
  • Redistricting 269 Montclair ES students to Fernbank ES
  • Redistricting 394 Montclair ES students to new Former ISC school (new K-5 school)
  • Redistricting 444 Dresden students to Montclair ES
  • Redistricting 301 Cary Reynolds students to Dresden ES
  • Redistricting 232 Cross Keys HS students to Chamblee HS

District staff also recommends the continued search for properties for two new 900-seat elementary schools to serve the Cross Keys Cluster. The District’s Secondary School Planning and Feasibility Study will kick-off (March 2016) the discussion of long-term relief for Sequoyah MS and Cross Keys HS and all other middle and high schools in Regions 1 and 2 in addition to the Clarkston Cluster. The district believes there is a major need for redistricting at elementary, middle, and high schools over the next three years for schools in Regions 1, 2, and 3, in conjunction with the Secondary School Planning and Feasibility Study and as new facilities come on-line.
The Superintendent’s recommendation will be presented for Board approval at the March 7, 2016, Board meeting. The proposed redistricting plan, if approved, would go into effect in August 2016.