The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (Senate Bill 10), which was signed into law in May 2007, provides parents of students with disabilities who are enrolled in Georgia public schools and have an active Individualized Education Program (IEP), the opportunity to transfer their children to another public school or to a state approved participating private school in Georgia.
The Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship (House Bill 1133), which was signed into law by Governor Perdue in May 2008, allows individuals and corporations to receive tax credits for donations to Georgia Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs). SSOs use the donations to provide tuition scholarships to students moving from public to private school.
House Bill 100, passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by Governor Perdue in May 2009, would have amended the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program (House Bill 1133). Provisions in the bill included clarifying eligibility requirements, increasing accountability, and raising the amount individuals could donate to Georgia Student Scholarship Organizations (SSOs).
House Bill 907, passed by the House and Senate but vetoed by Governor Perdue in June 2010, would have amended the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (Senate Bill 10). Among other changes, provisions in the bill included requiring schools to notify all parents that their child may be eligible for the scholarship, establishing payment dates, and creating multiple scholarship application deadlines.
Signed by Governor Deal in May 2011, House Bill 325 amended the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program (House Bill 1133). Provisions in the bill include increasing the $50 million state-wide cap based on the consumer price index, clarifying eligibility requirements, and improving efficiency, accountability, and transparency of the program.
Passed by both chambers but vetoed by Governor Deal in May 2012, House Bill 181 was intended to increase access to the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship by creating multiple enrollment dates and improving eligibility notification.
The Charter School Finance Act (House Bill 831), signed into law by Governor Perdue in 2008, requires the State Board of Education to establish a grant program for qualified charter school contributions. The grant program provides one dollar in matching funds for a single charter school project for each dollar donated to a qualified charter school organization for such project.
Signed into law by Governor Perdue in May 2008, House Bill 881 created the Georgia Charter Schools Commission. Consisting of members appointed by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House, the Commission authorized start-up charter schools that were denied by a local board of education. House Bill 881 was ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in May 2011.
House Bill 1065, signed into law by Governor Perdue in May 2008, authorized county and independent boards of education to include local charter schools, state chartered special schools, or both as capital outlay projects in projects specified in ballot language for proposed taxes.
House Bill 555, signed into law by Governor Perdue in May 2009, amends the Charter Schools Act of 1998 to allow commission charter schools to receive moneys from the facilities fund along with local charter schools and state chartered special schools. The legislation also makes it easier for charter schools to use surplus property of a local board of education.
Passed by the Senate but never receiving a vote in the House, Senate Bill 34 would have authorized public school students in charter schools and virtual schools to participate in extracurricular activities at their assigned district school.
House Resolution 1162, which passed both chambers in 2012, amends the state constitution to provide the state of Georgia the authority to create and maintain charter schools. The amendment is in response to a state Supreme Court ruling in May 2011 that struck down the Georgia Charter Schools Commission (HB 881). The amendment must pass a state referendum in November 2012.
House Bill 797, signed into law by Governor Deal in May 2012, creates the State Charter Schools Commission. The Commission has the authority to authorize and fund charter schools not approved by local districts. The law only becomes active if the charter school constitutional amendment (HR 1162) is ratified by voters in November 2012.
Signed by Governor Perdue in April 2008, House Bill 1209 allows local school systems to enter into a contract with the State Board of Education for increased flexibility from certain state laws, rules and regulations in exchange for increased accountability. Among other changes, the legislation requires all local school systems to notify the Department of Education of its intention to request increased flexibility or continue to comply with all state requirements by June 30, 2013.
The Move on When Ready Act (House Bill 149), signed by Governor Perdue in April 2009, allows eleventh and twelfth grade students to take courses at post-secondary colleges and schools for high school credit. The legislation stipulates that funding for the post-secondary courses will be provided by the state.
House Bill 251 was signed into law by Governor Perdue in May 2009. Among other changes, the bill requires school systems to offer intra-district transfers to students by providing the option for parents to enroll their child in another public school within the local school system other than the one to which the student has been assigned if the school has classroom space available.
Passed by both chambers but in different forms, Senate Bill 184 did not become law in 2011. Among other changes, the legislation would have required local boards to consider teacher performance as the primary factor for layoffs instead of teacher tenure.
House Bill 175, signed into law by Governor Deal in May 2012, requires the Department of Education to establish a clearinghouse of online learning courses currently offered by local school systems and charter schools. This law will allow for students to take online courses from other local school systems or charter schools.
Senate Bill 289, signed into law by Governor Deal in May 2012, requires the State Board of Education to establish rules and regulations to maximize the number of students who complete at least one online course prior to graduation. It also requires school systems to provide opportunities for all students in grades 3 to 12 to participate in part-time and full-time virtual instruction programs.
Signed into law by Governor Deal in April 2012, Senate Bill 410 requires the Georgia Department of Education to assign a numeric grade on a 0 to 100 scale for individual schools and school systems based on student achievement, achievement gap closure, and student progress. Schools will also receive star ratings out of five in financial efficiency and school climate.
Signed into law by Governor Deal in May 2013, House Bill 70 increases access to and efficiency of the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship (SB 10) by creating multiple enrollment dates and establishing deadlines for scholarship payments to parents.
Signed by Governor Deal in May 2013, House Bill 283 amended the Georgia Tax Credit Scholarship Program (House Bill 1133). Provisions in the bill include increasing the annual state-wide cap on donations to $58 million, clarifying eligibility requirements, and improving efficiency, accountability, and transparency of the program. The legislation also updated and revised the state funding formula for public schools.
House Bill 123 passed the House in March 2013 but did not come up for a vote in the Senate. The bill was intended to increase parent empowerment by allowing the majority of parents at a school to petition the local board of education to convert an existing public school into a charter school or to impose turnaround models.
Signed into law by Governor Deal in May 2013, House Bill 244 requires local school systems and charter schools to implement a new evaluation system for elementary and secondary teachers, assistant principals, and principals. The new evaluation system takes into account student achievement growth, classroom observations, and student perspectives. The bill also requires school systems to base decisions regarding retention, promotion, compensation, dismissal, and other staffing decisions primarily on the results of the evaluations.
House Bill 327 passed the House in February 2013 but did not come up for a vote in the Senate. The bill was intended to streamline and synthesize the state’s accountability and flexibility structure for public school systems. Under the legislation, each school system would be categorized as a Category 1, Category 2, or Category 3 school system. Struggling school systems would receive greater government support and high performing school systems would receive greater flexibility from state regulations.