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Posted: March 2, 2013 10:03 p.m.

BOE reviews GSBA Legislative positions

The Newton County Board of Education voted to approve proposed legislative positions and appointed two delegates to represent the school system for the upcoming Georgia School Boards Association’s summer conference.

The board approved at its Tuesday meeting for Shakila Henderson-Baker to serve as the Newton County School System’s delegate/representative during the GSBA Summer Conference and Delegate Assembly, which will be held June 14 and 15 in Savannah.

Board member Almond Turner was appointed to serve as an alternate representative, in the event Henderson-Baker was unable to attend the conference.

During the conference, a number of legislation priorities will be voted on. BOE Chair Abigail Coggin said each delegate will cast a vote for the school system they represent on the legislation priorities.

“The legislative priorities that our board approved this past Tuesday will be voted on officially by the members of GSBA,” Coggin said. “The delegates will also have the opportunity to offer changes to the legislative priorities if necessary.”
Coggin said GSBA Officers for the 2013 – 2014 year will also be selected during the conference.

The list of legislative positions from members of the Georgia School Boards Association is broken down into four areas--Governance of Education; The State/Local Funding Partnership; Improving Student Achievement; and Federal Issues. These four areas have several sections and subsections, which contain recommendations for each piece of legislation from GSBA members, which are the 180 elected boards of education.

The following are just a few highlights from the sections of legislative positions of GSBA:

Governance of Education
Sovereign Immunity: GSBA strongly urges the General Assembly not to pass legislation which would waive sovereign immunity of local school systems.

School Board Member Qualifications: GSBA supports legislation that imposes qualifications to run for a position on the School Board that are greater than those qualifications imposed on other elected officials.

State Leadership and Teacher Initiative: GSBA 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.

The State and Local Funding Partnership
Tax Reform: GSBA 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.

Alternative Revenue Sources: GSBA supports an amendment to the Georgia Constitution to authorize the General Assembly to enact legislation that would allow local school systems to receive revenues from tax sources other than local property taxes, including, but not limited to, a 1 percent option sales tax for general operations. Funds from this source should not supplant appropriations by the General Assembly for general operations.

Roads and Sales Tax Removal: GSBA urges the General Assembly to exempt local boards of education from paying sales tax on motor fuel.

SPLOST Autonomy: GSBA supports passage of a Constitutional Amendment changing current law requiring joint participation by county and independent school districts within a county for SPLOST authority and collection.

Sick and Personal Leave: GSBA supports state funding of sick and personal leave by the state to fully fund the cost of substitute teachers.

Unemployment Compensation: GSBA supports state funding of unemployment compensation for local school system employees.

Improving Student Achievement
Compulsory Attendance: GSBA supports compulsory enrollment in educational programs for persons ages six to 17 years who have not graduated from high school.

Early Learning Initiative: GSBA supports the creation of a statewide initiative to formalize an early learning collaborative in each county of the state.

Dropout Prevention: GSBA supports the development of local dropout prevention programs with state and federal assistance based on a uniform definition of dropout. GSBA further 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.)

Federal Issues
Educational Program Funding: GSBA supports efforts of the Georgia Board of Education and the State Department of Education in maintaining a strong working relationship with the U.S. Department of Education.

Flexibility in the Use of Federal Funds: GSBA recommends that the state statutes and the Georgia Department of Education’s rules and regulations governing the use of federal funds not be stricter than federal guidelines.

Special Education Funding: GSBA recommends that the state fully fund Special Education at the 40 percent level as mandated by federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The GSBA’s list of legislation positions will be considered and possibly adopted during the conference.

For a list of all of the GSBA’s legislative positions, visit gsba.com.

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