UPDATE: Arts Center for Deciding Vote on Opportunity School District
From the Albany Herald...
After 12 years of controversy about funding a new fine arts center at Albany State University, a stoke of a pen can write an ending when Gov. Nathan Deal signs off on Georgia’s $21 billion 2015-16 budget.
Included in the budget is $19.8 million to build a new multi-purpose academic center on campus.
Why? s majority in the Senate and the House required to get his Opportunity Schools referendum, the centerpiece of his education reform package, on the ballot in November of next year.
Sen Freddie-Powell Sims, D-Dawson, co-sponsored SB133 which dealt with giving the state the power to take over failing schools. She was the only Democrat to co-sponsor the Senate bill.
Senate Democrat’s Vote for Opportunity District Worth $19 Million?
From the AJC...
Freddie Powell Sims, a former middle school principal from Southwest Georgia, was the lone Democratic State Senator to vote in favor of the Opportunity School District proposal. Her vote was needed to ensure the two-thirds approval necessary for the proposal to go on to the House.
According to the AJC’s Political Insider: “We’re told that a $19 million appropriation for an Albany State University was used as both carrot and stick for Powell Sims.”
"...a $19 million appropriation for an Albany State University was used as both carrot and stick for Powell Sims.”
-- AJC's Political Insider
School takeover. College credit. High school diplomas.
Georgia lawmakers didn’t pass a lot of bills related to education this session, but those that did pass could have a big impact on Georgians.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest education-related laws passed this year: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local-education/georgia-lawmakers-approve-big-changes-for-students/nkmRm/
Take Action: http://www.empoweredgaaction.org/esa.html
SB 116, the Celebrate Freedom Week bill, was stripped and became the education savings account bill, which is a voucher bill. Georgia’s teachers and parents deserve legislative transparency, not trickery. This voucher bill wasn’t even approved by the Education committee and voted down in Ways & Means due to its high fiscal note.
Senate Voting Records
Find out how your state senator voted on the Opportunity School District (click here to look-up your legislators).
House Voting Records
Find out how your state representative voted on the Opportunity School District (click here to look-up your legislators).
A plan to give the governor’s office sweeping new powers to take over failing Georgia schools will land on ballots next year after surviving a second razor-thin legislative vote Wednesday despite criticism that it gives the state too much control over local classrooms.
House lawmakers voted 121-47 to approve Gov. Nathan Deal’s proposal to create a statewide “Opportunity School District” with the power to fire principals, transfer teachers and change what students are learning at failing schools. It narrowly crossed the two-thirds threshold it needed, following an equally tight Senate vote earlier this month.
The plan, Deal’s top initiative this session, was his most significant legislative victory since his 2010 election. But his fight is just beginning. He and his allies must persuade a majority of voters to approve the plan in a November 2016 referendum.
Read more: http://www.ajc.com/news/news/deals-school-takeover-plan-heads-to-ballots-after-/nkfJs/?ecmp=ajc_social_twitter_2014_sfp
Out-of-State Special Interest Group Spends $10,740 to Send State Officials on 2-day Junket to Louisiana to Sell Opportunity District Idea
Update at 4:44: After a lot of discussion of “failing” vs. “chronically failing,” the House Education Committee today passed Gov. Deal’s two-part legislative package to empower the state to take control of failing schools. The bill now moves to the full House.
SR 287 and SB 133 are the enabling legislation for a state “Opportunity School District” freighted with the authority to seize control of schools deemed to be chronically failing. The state would be able remove principals, transfer teachers, change what students are learning and control the schools’ budgets.
The Governor’s Office estimates about 140 schools would be eligible, including more than 60 in the metro area.
SR 287 amends the Georgia Constitution, so it requires a higher bar to pass the General Assembly, a two-thirds majority in each chamber. The resolution won passage in the Senate. Now, we will see if the measure can do so in the House.
Read the full AJC piece: http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/03/23/house-ed-votes-on-school-takeover-bill-today-organized-opposition-mounts-but-will-that-matter/
>> Take Action! Contact Your Representative: http://www.tinyurl.com/gaopportunity
The State Spent Millions Closing Down Schools and Firing Principals/Teachers and By Their Own Report, It Didn’t Increase Student Achievement
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Education news and commentary from EmpowerED Georgia, an independent non-profit 501c3 organization.
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