PLEASE READ AND CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR
With your help, SB 173 , a harmful private school voucher bill, failed on the Senate floor on March 6 by a vote of 25-28. All Senate Democrats and seven Republicans voted against the measure. Now, a version of the harmful bill has been attached to HB 68 by the Senate Education and Youth Committee. HB 68 has already passed the House, and the new version of the legislation with the voucher attached is expected to hit the Senate floor tomorrow, March 22.
Please CALL the senators listed below to express your gratitude for their support of public education. Also encourage them to maintain their opposition to HB 68 and using public tax dollars for private school vouchers.
When contacting the senator representing your district, be sure to let the senator know that you are a constituent.
Note that Sen. Ellis Black (R-Valdosta) voted to move HB 68 forward during the Senate Education and Youth Committee meeting. It is important for educators in Sen. Black's district to contact him and encourage that he maintain his original “no” vote when the bill is considered.
As always, educators should use their personal (not school) email address and electronic devices, and contact policymakers outside of instructional time.
Why is HB 68 Harmful?
The most persuasive messages to legislators are personalized and demonstrate an educator’s commitment to the students the educator serves. Stakeholders should feel free to use these points in addition to personalized stories about their school community:
· HB 68 eliminates academic accountability required of public schools that helps protect students. The bill does not require private schools to follow IEPs. It does not require private schools to be accredited. It does not require private schools to hire certified teachers. All of these are required of public schools.
· Georgia educators, students, and taxpayers want Georgia elected officials to stand up for fiscal transparency and public schools. Current and retired educators may consider running for office to challenge legislators who fail to do so.
· The bill creates additional bureaucracy and red tape for Georgia's public schools. The Governor's Office of Student Achievement, not the Georgia Department of Education, will be required to expand to manage the voucher program.
· Public schools will be required to send quarterly reports to GOSA that are not currently required. The bill gives no funding to public schools to generate these additional reports.
· Georgia already has two private school voucher programs.
· PAGE, Georgia PTA, and every other major Georgia education group opposes HB 68. The voucher bill is being promoted by an out-of-state interest group.
Tonya Anderson (D-Lithonia) - - 404-463-2598
Ellis Black (R-Valdosta) - - 404-463-6597
Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) - - 404-656-0040
Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain) - - 404-656-0075
Gail Davenport (D-Jonesboro) - - 404-463-5260
Ed Harbison (D-Columbus) - - 404-656-0074
Tyler Harper (R-Ocilla) - - 404-656-5263
Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta) - - 404-463-2260
Steve Henson (D-Stone Mountain) - - 404-656-0085
Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) - - 404-656-5038
Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) - - 404-463-5261
Donzella James (D-Atlanta) - - 404-463-1379
Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) - - 404-656-0502
Harold Jones (D-Augusta) - - 404-463-3942
Jen Jordan (D-Atlanta) - - 404-656-6446
Zahra Karinshak (D-Duluth) - - 404-656-0048
Greg Kirk (R-Americus) - - 404-463-5258
David Lucas (D-Macon) - - 404-656-0150
Butch Miller (R-Gainesville) - - 404-656-6578
Nan Orrock (D-Atlanta) - 404-463-8054
Elena Parent (D-Atlanta) - 404-656-5109
Chad Rahman (D-Lawrenceville) - - 404-463-1318
Michael Rhett (D-Marietta) - - 404-656-0054
Valencia Seay (D-Riverdale) - - 404-656-5095
Freddie Sims (D-Dawson) - - 404-463-5259
Horacena Tate (D-Atlanta) - - 404-463-8053
Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) - - 404-657-0406
Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta) - - 404-656-5035
Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) - - 404-463-1378
Mike Dugan (R-Carrollton) - - 404-463-2478
Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) - - 404-656-0057
The following senators voted yes on SB 173. Please call those on this list and encourage they support public education and all of Georgia's 1.7 million public school students and vote NO when HB 68 is considered with the voucher language.
John Albers (R-Roswell) - - 404.463.8055
Lee Anderson (R-Grovetown) - - 404.656.5114
Matt Brass (R-Newnan) - - 404.463.1376
Bill Cowsert (R-Athens) - - 404.463.1366
Greg Dolezal (R-Cumming) - - 404.656.7127
Frank Ginn (R-Danielsville) - - 404.656.4700
Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) - - 404.656.9221
Marty Harbin (R-Tyrone) - - 404.656.0078
Bill Heath (R-Bremen) - - 404.656.3943
Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) - - 404.656.0034
Burt Jones (R-Jackson) - - 404.656.0082
John Kennedy (R-Macon) - - 404.656.0045
Kay Kirkpatrick (R-Marietta) - - 404.656.3932
Bill Ligon (R-Brunswick) - - 404.463.1383
P.K. Martin (R-Lawrenceville) - - 404.656.6598
Chuck Payne (R-Dalton) - - 404.463.5402
Randy Robertson (R-Cataula) - - 404.463.3931
Jesse Stone (R-Waynesboro) - - 404.463.1314
Brian Strickland (R-McDonough) - - 404.656.7454
Bruce Thompson (R-White) - - 404.656.0065
Blake Tillery (R-Vidalia) - - 404.656.0089
Renee Unterman (R-Buford) - - 404.463.1368
Larry Walker (R-Perry) - - 404.656.0095
Ben Watson (R-Savannah) - - 404.656.7880
John Wilkinson (R-Toccoa) - - 404.463.5257
As a public school educator and school social worker, who provides direct services to the students this bill proclaims to serve.
I strongly oppose using public school funds to serve students in the private school sector diverting critical financial resources from Georgia public schools, which serve 1.7 million students.
Even with a voucher covering a portion of private school tuition, families still have to provide transportation, school supplies, field trip fees, uniforms, lunch, and any other miscellaneous requirements.
History has also shown that any pattern of behavioral issues, common with students diagnosed as EBD, will be cause for dismissal from private schools.
I also have concerns regarding the training and skills of private school teachers (in schools where certification is not required) to meet the needs of students with IEPs.
Georgia already has two private school voucher programs, nullifying the need for an additional voucher as well as vouchers have not proven to increase student academic outcomes as evidenced by various studies.
Fully funding QBE and requiring districts to provide support services at nationally recommended levels is a better use of tax payer monies.