Published Online: May 11, 2010
Published in Print: May 12, 2010, as Ethics Bill Highlights Ga. Session

Capitol Recap

Ethics Bill Highlights Ga. Session

| GEORGIA | While the Georgia legislature passed a bill that would give Gov. Sonny Perdue the ability to remove school board members for ethical violations, the Republican governor’s biggest educational priority this session—a plan that would tie student performance to teacher evaluations—failed to reach a final vote before legislators adjourned April 29.

Gov. Sonny Perdue
Republican
Senate:
21 Democrats
34 Republicans
House:
74 Democrats
105 Republicans
Enrollment:
1.6 million

The evaluation proposal came in the wake of Georgia narrowly missing out on up to $400 million in round one of the federal Race to the Top Fund competition, which provides grant money to states for education reform efforts. The proposal was interpreted by analysts as an attempt to show Georgia’s willingness to enact significant education changes. But some angry teachers saw it as a large step toward performance pay, which they oppose.

The measure allowing the removal of incompetent or corrupt school leaders passed the Senate on April 21. Gov. Perdue pushed for the legislation after a 2008 situation when he was powerless to remove a board member in Clayton County, which subsequently lost its accreditation. The 50,000-student Clayton County district has since regained its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The ethics bill also establishes conflict of interest and nepotism guidelines for school board members and requires that they take ethics training.

The legislature also passed a $17.9 billion budget that slashes spending for schools and colleges by more than $600 million.

Vol. 29, Issue 31, Page 28

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