2018 Election Recap:
Welcome Governor-elect Brian Kemp and Lt. Governor-elect Geoff Duncan. After a long election season, Georgia now has new executive leadership. Both the incoming Governor and Lieutenant Governor have voiced support for charter schools. Prior to the election their campaigns completed questionnaires from the association and both have been judged to be strong in their Charter support. Those responses can be found here.
Your team at GCSA will work closely with both of their offices in the coming weeks and months to ensure charter school equity remains a priority. If you have not heard, one of our board members has joined Lt. Governor Duncan as his policy director. Also, chosen as Duncan’s Chief of Staff is Chip Lake who was the lead Campaign Consultant for GCSA as we pushed for the Charter Amendment in 2012. We look forward to working with Dudgeon and Lake in their new roles!
There will be a historic record thirty-eight new legislators under the gold dome in the upcoming legislative session, which starts Monday January 14, 2019. There were thirty-three new House members elected this year; 14 seats moved from Republican to Democrat while three seats moved from Democrat to Republican. Republicans now control the house by a margin of 105 to 75. Five new Senators were elected, with two seats moving from Republican to Democrat. Republicans now control the Senate by a margin of 34 to 22.
Policy and Legislative Priorities:
Funding equity for charter schools remains our priority as we fight for you under the gold dome with the General Assembly and other policy makers. Below are the legislative and policy priorities we will focus on in the upcoming legislative session. Some of the items below will be addressed through legislation while some are policy fixes. We will need your help in conveying your story to your elected officials.
- Full funding of HB 430 for facilities ($100,000 per charter school)
- QBE Funding Formula reform or rewrite (recommendations of Education Reform Commission)
- Make unused state facilities and property available to charter schools authorized by either district or State Commission either at no cost to charter school or reasonable costs
- More teeth and transparency around free use of unused facilities by school districts for charter schools they authorize.
- Removal of Beating the Odds as requirement for renewal and competitive grants such as Facility Grants
- New system of accountability measures for online, virtual or blended schools.
- More flexibility and options in meeting governance training requirements of school leaders and board members, particularly required finance training
- Restoration of 10-year charter terms by GADOE for “high-performing” charter schools
- Streamlined process for charter renewal of “high-performing” charters
- Increased responsibility for State DOE oversight and rating of district and commission authorizers
- Improved policies, which incentivize districts to include E-SPLOST funding for charter schools they authorize
If you have any questions about our policy agenda, please contact our Vice President of Policy and Advocacy RaShaun Holliman at email@example.com or 614-778-9160.
How you can help:
Relationships matter! Now more than ever, bipartisan relationships matter in the state of Georgia. In order for charter schools to be sustainable and grow, we need support on both sides of the aisle. This is why GCSA is working very hard to develop a strong coalition of Democratic and Republican support in the legislature. This is done by forming genuine relationships and telling our story.
Legislators are moved when they hear more from us than those opposed to charter schools. This comes from inviting them to our schools, visiting them in their offices, emailing them, and connecting our parents with them to share stories about their children. GCSA is here to assist you with all of these things. We will be contacting you to set up meetings and visits with your Representatives at your school or at the Capitol. Also, be on the lookout for events we will host throughout the legislative session, which runs from winter to spring. Your support and involvement is critical in building on our success from last year!