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Day 38: Budget is Done

In the last few days of the session, there is never a shortage of rumors and today was no exception.  It seemed like the rumors had rumors when it came to the education savings account voucher bill and how it would hit the floor today or be on the calendar tomorrow.  It didn’t and it won’t be.  We’re told that it’s dead for this session.  If that changes, you’ll be the first to know :).  By the way, just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean people weren’t trying to get it moving again.  We appreciate everybody who was keeping an eye out for any action on it.

FY ’20 Budget Done 

The Conference Committee on the FY ’20 budget wasted no time coming to agreement.  They finished yesterday and both chambers adopted it today. The Department of Education section begins on page 93 of the document. Here are a few of the changes from previous versions of the budget:

$522 million for a $3000 raise for certified employees beginning July 1, 2019 — budget writers had to find $86 million more to start the raise in July instead of September

$12.2 million in bonds for vocational equipment 

$4.2 million increase for dual enrollment plus $1 million to establish funding for an Early HOPE program for those in dual enrollment

$2 million for charter school facilities grants

$1 million for grants to schools for feminine hygiene products for low-income students

$1 million for additional high school counselors and enriching counselor programs for Title I schools

$968,634 increase in sparsity grants — the budget also directs a study to be done over the summer to come up with a plan for updating the sparsity grant formula

$750,000 for professional development to implement SB 108, the computer science bill

$413,000 increase to RESAs by reducing austerity to the base formula

$274,920 for three school safety coordinators and for operations (Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency) 

$200,000 to expand the Communities in Schools model of wraparound services

We appreciate all the efforts of the Governor, Lt. Governor, legislators and budget staff to fund all these needs.  There were some big shifts in the money needed, and it’s hard to do that.  Between the supplemental budget and this one, the Governor kept those campaign promises about school safety funding and got 60% of the teacher pay raise done in his first year.  What an excellent start for a new administration.

What Passed 

HB 530, notification to DFACS if a student is absent 45 consecutive days and the school has not received a notice of intent to homeschool or a request for a transcript

HB 266, doubling the state income tax credit for contributions to 529 education savings accounts (completely different kind of accounts than the voucher mentioned above)

HB 322, advertising certain bids or proposals in the Georgia Procurement Registry

HB 527,changing the program weights for QBE

UPCOMING SCHEDULE 

The General Assembly will convene at 10 AM for Day 39