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Governor Perdue Signs Education Legislation Into Law

Tuesday, May 20, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Bill Offers Needed Flexibility For Funding, Class Size Mandates

Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today signed into law education legislation marking important first steps towards real education reform in Georgia.

"Senate Bill 249 offers a good first step towards meaningful education reform in Georgia. The bill provides Georgia's school districts with some needed flexibility in the key areas of funding and delays costly mandates to implement across-the-board class size reductions," said Governor Sonny Perdue.

"Extending implementation of this requirement for one year will save Georgia's citizens from steep property tax hikes and Georgia students will be spared from layoffs of school counselors and teacher's aides."

"It should also be noted that without the flexibility afforded in Senate Bill 249, school systems would end up returning precious money to the state because they cannot spend the money according to the legislature's dictates. As accountability for school performance becomes more important, Georgia must be able to get needed resources to the school systems that need them most. Senate Bill 249 helps us do just that," said Governor Perdue.

"As I sign Senate Bill 249 into law, I would like to thank Senator Joey Brush, Representative Brooks Coleman, Superintendent Kathy Cox, State Board of Education Chair Wanda Barrs and numerous other education advocates for their support of this important legislation. I'd also ask these supporters of education excellence to join me next year as we work together to push for more reforms that will make an even greater difference for Georgia's children," added Governor Perdue.

Summary Information Regarding Education Legislation

As signed into law by Governor Perdue, Senate Bill 249 will:

  • Remove All Site-Based Expenditure Controls and Position Tests. School systems returned a total of $3 million in remediation money last year. These schools were disproportionately African-American. Three large metro school systems, DeKalb, Cobb, and Gwinnett returned a total of $1 million in media money last year because they could not spend the money according to the state's restrictions. Senate Bill 249 removes these restrictions for one year.

  • Maintain One System-Level Expenditure Control. State taxpayer money in direct instruction must remain in direct instruction at the system level, including remediation money. Senate Bill 249 maintains these controls for one year.

  • Offer Flexibility with Class Size. Classes can exceed maximum class size by two if the system average meets maximum class size requirements. Senate Bill 249 gives flexibility in this area for one year.

  • Delay Phasing-In of Reduction of Maximum Class Size for One Year. To protect systems from undue financial pressure during this budget crisis, the class size reduction is fully delayed one year in grades 4-12 and partially in kindergarten. Statewide, this provision is expected to save local school systems more than $80 million (Source: Office of Planning and Budget).