HIGHLIGHTS FROM GEORGIA’S
The 2019 Georgia Legislative Session was notable for the flurry of education bills introduced that
could have had detrimental effects on the state’s public education system. GAE and other education
advocates played defense at the Capitol this year, working hard to prevent legislation that would
further undermine public education. There were moments, however, where GAE was able to work
with legislators and other education advocates to advance the interests of students, teachers, education
support professionals, and administrators.
Below is a summary of the most important education pieces to pass the Legislature this Session. Governor Kemp had until May 12,
2019 to sign or veto these bills; after that date any bills not signed or vetoed automatically became law and went into effect on July
1, 2019 (unless a different date is specified in the legislation).
Additionally, this was the first year of Georgia’s biennial
legislative process, so this summary includes bills that passed
both chambers of the Georgia Legislature and also includes bills
that did not pass both chambers but are still “alive” for next
TEACHER PAY INCREASE
Georgia lawmakers gave final passage to HB 31 the state’s $27.5
billion education budget for the 2020 fiscal year, beginning July
1, 2019. The bulk of the funding increase over the $26.9 billion
amended FY 2019 budget is earmarked for the $3,000 teacher
raises for all certified teachers and public school personnel. HB
31 also provides for a 2 percent pay raise for bus drivers, cafeteria
staff and school nurses. The total cost to the state for these
educator pay raises is roughly $530 million in FY 2020. The
budget also includes $133 million for K-12 enrollment growth,
$48 million for charter system grants and State Commission
Charter school supplements and $1.5 million to provide feminine
hygiene products in schools to students who cannot afford them.
Increasing pay was a top 2019 legislative priority for GAE.
This is a big win for our members. Governor Kemp ran on the
promise to increase pay for educators by $5,000 and we will
continue our work to ensure that he fulfills that commitment
next year. We understand that many school districts have budget
hurdles due to past austerity cuts but GAE will advocate for our
members to receive pay increases as intended by the Governor
and General Assembly. GAE President Charlotte Booker meeting with Rep. Sandra Scott.
22 | KNOW • Volume 17 Issue 2