Saturday, February 11, 2006

65%=Failure: Distribute the Resolution

On February 7th, the Bibb County Board of Education unanimously passed the following resolution opposing the Governor's 65%=Failure legislation. The resolution does a good job of explaining why this is a bad bill. This is a political move, not an effort to improve our children's schools. The bill, passed by the Georgia Senate, is likely to make it's way to the House floor very soon. Recent committee revisions have made the problems with the bill worse, not better. What could make a difference at this point is if PTA and PTO organizations and other elected Boards of Education joined together by passing similar resolutions, to show the Governor that we are not fooled and that advocates for our children's schools are opposed to this arbitrary, politically motivated legislation. Say NO! today by contacting your representatives and Governor Perdue.

Here is the full text of the Bibb Resolution. This is a good template for other groups:

A Resolution

Whereas, a bill entitled Classrooms First for Georgia Act has been introduced in the 2006 Georgia General Assembly; and

Whereas, this proposed legislation provides that beginning in Fiscal Year 2008 each local school system shall spend a minimum of 65 percent of its total federal, state, local and other operating expenditures each fiscal year on direct classroom expenditures; and

Whereas, direct classroom expenditures are narrowly defined in the proposed legislation as those expenditures for salaries and benefits for teachers and paraprofessionals; costs for instructional materials and supplies associated with classroom related activities such as field trips, music and arts; and tuition paid to out-of-state school districts and institutions for special needs children; and

Whereas, there are many other costs that directly support teaching and learning in the classroom but which are excluded from the 65 percent requirement; and

Whereas, virtually all federal funds allocated to the Bibb County School District are designated for specific purposes; and

Whereas, current state statutes require that over eight-three percent of state funds allocated to the Bibb County School District through the state funding formula be spent on direct classroom expenditures; and

Whereas, the state currently requires that 100 percent of formula earnings for media services be spent for media services and that 90 percent of formula earnings for professional learning be expended for professional learning neither of which is included in the 65 percent definition; and

Whereas, the Bibb County Board of Education is constitutionally charged with control and management of the Bibb County School District; and

Whereas, such control and management should reasonably include discretion in the expenditure of property tax revenue derived from the levy on taxable property in Bibb County; and

Whereas, the Bibb County Board of Education is currently required to expend a significant portion of local property tax revenue to offset austerity and other reductions in education funding by the State of Georgia in areas such as pupil transportation and facility maintenance and operation; and

Whereas, no credible research exists that demonstrates a cost-benefit analysis demonstrating that the 65 percent threshold is the point at which positive educational returns may be expected from the investment of funds; and

Whereas, the Bibb County Board of Education has as its unwavering goal the wise expenditure of all available financial resources required to provide for the educational, physical, social, and psychological needs of every students in every classroom in every school in our school district.

Therefore be it resolved, that the Bibb County Board of Education and the Superintendent of the Bibb County School District are opposed to enacting into law in the State of Georgia the Classrooms First for Education Act.

Bibb County Board of Education, this 7th day of February, 2006.

Susan Y. Middleton, President Lynn Farmer, Vice President

William T. Barnes, III, Treasurer Tom Hudson, Secretary

Albert Abrams Gary Bechtel

Robert Nichols Terry Tripp

Sharon Patterson, Superintendent

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