Just before the close of the 2015 fiscal year at the end of June, the state released a 24-page report examining the costs of Georgia’s State Health Benefit Plan. That is the health insurance plan for state employees, teachers, and other school district employees. The report is a requirement built into Georgia’s Amended 2015 budget and was produced by the international human resources consulting firm Aon Hewitt. It compares the state plan’s overall costs, as well as costs borne by employees, to other state employee plans in the southeast deemed comparable, including the health plan serving Georgia’s University System employees. The report also provides some analysis of the financial issues Georgia’s plan administrators must weigh on behalf of Georgia’s 180 school districts’ bus drivers, lunchroom workers and other non-certified employees. This all came to a head as a response to the 2016 budget’s provision to increase charges to school districts on behalf of these employees.
The report notes geography, demographics and the number of dependents per employee are among the external factors that explain why Georgia’s plan costs run fairly high compared to the other plans. However, it is important to note the report finds no amount of adjusting offsets the fact that state employees and teachers in Georgia bear a greater financial burden for their health insurance than their counterparts under most of the comparison plans.
Overall employee costs ran higher than each of the comparison plans and came in nearly 30 percent higher than the average across the comparable plans examined.
-- Independent report of the state's insurance plans for teachers
Many recent "Georgia" education bills have mirrored in language and spirit of ALEC model bills.
Washington Post | The four corporations that dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials — as well as sometimes hiring them — to persuade them to favor policies that include mandated student assessments, helping to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business, a new analysis shows.
The analysis, done by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy agency based in Wisconsin that tracks corporate influence on public policy, says that four companies — Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill— collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/30/report-big-education-firms-spend-millions-lobbying-for-pro-testing-policies/
Ledger-Enquirer | Kevin Green's question as to why Georgia did not have a state mammal sparked a project for the first-grade classes, who then lobbied the legislature, which led to the designation of the white-tailed deer as the state mammal. The governor signed the bill into law during an assembly at the school. Deal and the students are surrounded by members of the Columbus state legislative delegation, including state Sen. Ed Harbison, standing left, state Rep. Calvin Smyre, Reese Road principal Pamela McCoy, state Rep. Carolyn Hugley and Georgia Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams.
Read more here: http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2015/04/30/3696231/governor-signs-bill-at-elementary.html#storylink=cpy
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