BROUGHT BY THE ADVOCACY COMMITTEE - Kimberly Evans & Matthew Vignieri

  Search Your Congressman      Search Your Senator     Search Your State Representatives
click  click  click 

     Legislative Initiatives      Children's Mental Health Committee  School Psychologists Shortage
 info coming Draft letter for use  The 1:2475 ratio has not been
reduced in 23 years. NASP's model
recommends a ratio of 1:1000 or
less to be able to provide effective
school psychological services.

A Day at the Capitol

·         Day at the Capitol 2018:

GASP 2017 Day at the Capital was a success! Stay tuned for opportunities next year to participate in advocating.  More information to come. 

Update on ESSA Implementation Plan

• Committees are currently meeting to work out details of implementation.

o Provisions for school psychology are being discussed under the Educating the Whole Child Committee.

 Committee Chairs:

• Dr. Caitlin Dooley, Deputy Superintendent GA DOE

• Dr. Gary McGiboney, Deputy Superintendent GA DOE

o Former school psychologist

• Initially told that we would have a draft to review in January and share with GASP membership to obtain feedback.

o Global review has been pushed back to September.

• I have been invited to submit commentary on the current plan.

o One primary outcome includes school psychologists being staffed at the apt ratio.

2017 General Assembly Legislation

House of Representatives:

HB 338

o New attempt at intervention for struggling schools

o Creates the position of Chief Turnaround Officer (CTO) within the Georgia Department of Education.

 Report directly to the GA State Board of Education and collaborates with the State School Superintendent.

 CTO qualifications: a minimum of 15 years of experience in K-12 education; advanced degree in K-12 education; experience in the position of principal or higher in a public school system for a minimum of three years; and experience in turning around failing schools.

 CTO Responsibilities:

• Managing and overseeing a system of supports and assistance for low-performing schools.

• Prioritize low-performing schools based on the number of years the school has received an unacceptable rating.

• Work with the local board of education of a low-performing school to amend the charter system or strategic waiver school system (SWSS) flexibility contracts.

• Upon amending the contract, CTO has 90 days to complete a comprehensive on-site evaluation with the assistance of the local regional education service agency (RESA) to determine the cause of the school's low performance or lack of progress.

o The CTO may enlist a third party to assist in this evaluation selected from an annually established list approved by GA State Board of Education.

o Based on the evaluation and recommendations, the school will develop its intensive school improvement plan that addresses the academic inefficiencies identified by the school's rating on the CCRPI.

o Possible school improvement interventions include:

 Reallocation of resources and technical assistance.

 Changes in school procedures or operations.

 Professional learning focused on student achievement for instructional and administrative staff.

 Intervention for individual administrators or teachers.

 Instructional strategies based on scientifically based research.

 Waivers from state statutes or rules.

 Adoption of policies and practices to ensure all groups of students meet the state's proficiency level.

 Extended instruction time for low-performing student.

 Other actions approved by the SBOE.

o If after two years the school is not improving, the CTO can require one or more of the following:

 Continued implementation of the school improvement plan if district is complying and cooperating with CTO and plan. Otherwise:

 Appointment of a school master or management team to oversee and direct the duties of the principal of the school until the school makes acceptable improvement.

 Removal of school personnel, including the principal and/or personnel whose performance has been determined insufficient.

 Implementation of a state charter school.

 Complete reconstitution of the school, removing all personnel, appointing a new principal, and hiring all new staff.

• Existing staff may reapply for employment but cannot be rehired if their performance regarding student achievement has been negative for the past four years.

 Mandatory parental option to relocate the student to another public school in the local school system that does not have an unacceptable rating, chosen by the parents from a list provided by the district.

• The system will be required to transport students choosing to relocate from Title I schools.

• For those students relocating from non-Title I schools, the district will decide whether to provide transportation or place the responsibility for transportation on the individual students

 Complete restructuring of the school's governance arrangement and internal organization of the school.

 Operation of the school by another successful school system.

 Operation of the school by a private nonprofit entity.

 Any other interventions set forth by the CTO and SBOE.

o If one-half or more of the schools in a single district receive an unacceptable rating for five or more years:

 SBOE will hold a hearing to discuss removal of the local board members in the district.

o SBOE required to provide an annual report detailing each school receiving an unacceptable rating for one or more consecutive years and the interventions used in each case.

o Also Included:

 Creation of an Education Turnaround Advisory Council to advise SBOE in hiring the CTO.

 Made up of the executive directors/presidents of:

• Professional Association of Georgia Educators

• Georgia School Boards Association

• Georgia School Superintendents Association

• Georgia Association of Educators

• Georgia PTA

• Georgia Association of Educational Leaders

 Creation of Joint Study Committee on the Establishment of a State Accreditation Process for schools

o Currently being reviewed in Senate Education and Youth Committee

 Will undergo revision

o Current discussion/commentary/concerns regarding the bill:

 CTO should be moved under supervision of State Superintendent.

 Schools cannot be run by for profit operators.

 Admiration for the collaborative approach and acknowledgement of poverty and community conditions as contributory to struggling schools

• HB 217

o Lifts $58 million cap on Georgia's tuition tax credit school voucher program

o Would divert $100 million in tax credits from public coffers to be used for private school vouchers.

o Passed, but public is widely opposed due to its impact on available public school funding and the controversial program's lack of fiscal transparency and accountability for student achievement.

• HB 425

o Would allow parents to request standardized tests in paper and pencil format for their child.

o Discourage punitive actions for students refusing to participate mandated standardized assessments such as sit and stare policies.

• HB 114

o Seeks to prevent local school districts from prohibiting Move on When Ready Students from being named valedictorian or salutatorian.

• HB 148

o Requires a unique student identifier for students in military families.

• HB 224

o Allowing students from military families living on military bases to choose any public school in their district.

• HB 237

o Seeks to establish the Public Education Innovation Fund (PEIF) to receive private donations to be used for grants to public schools.

 $7 million annually for the first seven years and $10 million for the next eight years.

o Provides an income tax credit for qualified education donations.

o Outline duties and authority of the state revenue commissioner with respect to such donations.

• HB 245

o Allows military spouses to receive temporary or expedited educator certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.

• HB 246

o Relating to a 2011/2012 bill regarding annual fitness assessment programs.

o Eliminates portions of the 2011/2012 bill that automatically repealed it in 2019.

• HB 437

o Recreates the Agricultural Education Advisory Commission.

• HB 273

o Sought to mandate that local boards require 30 minutes of unstructured recess for students in grades K-5.

 Concerns were raised that there may be certain events that take place at schools that would prohibit students from receiving the daily 30 minutes of recess.

 Due to concerns with this, bill was changed to require an average of 30 minutes of structured or unstructured play time per day.

o House committee reported favorably.

o Did not pass on to Senate.

• HB 77

o Relating to student health to provide for the development of a list of training materials in mental health, behavioral disabilities, and learning disabilities.

o Did not pass into Senate.

• HB 139

o Relating to education accountability assessment programs.

o Provide transparency of financial information of local school systems and schools to the greatest extent practicable.

o Provide for accessibility to certain financial data of a local board of education.

o Provide for school level budget and expenditure data.

o Did not pass into Senate.

Senate Education and Youth Committee:

• SB 139

o Allows individual schools to petition to the State Board of Education to create career pathways courses.

• SB 152

o Prohibits schools from assigning students to alternative schools for more than two semesters, except in the case of serious offenses.

• SB 186

o Allows students earning their associates degree through a program set up by SB 2 in 2016 to be eligible for the HOPE grant.

• SB 211

o Directs the SBOE to review current state and local assessment programs to propose solutions for ongoing formative assessments throughout the school year that can be combined with a summative assessment at the end of the school year.

• SB 68

o Individual Student Education Account Act

o Creates an Education Savings Account (ESA) in which the state portion of funding for public schools is eligible to be added to a savings account that can be used to help pay for tuition to private schools, home schooling costs, private tutoring, and others.

o Chairman Lindsey Tippins (R-Marietta) and other members of the committee have expressed strong concerns with the hefty $680 million price tag.

o Due to these concerns, the bill was not approved by the committee.

o Major opposition to this voucher program due to the lack of stringent accountability and the fact that it is a program that would allow private schools access to public school dollars.

• SB 98

o Allows local school districts to use their capital outlay resources to build space for Pre-K classrooms

o Georgia Pre-K programs waitlist is more than 6,000 students long but there are several thousand open slots available statewide.

o Mismatch occurs because the openings are not available in high-demand Pre-K areas.

o Did not pass.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA takes effect at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year and it is critical that key decision-makers understand the unique role of school psychologists. To help support this, NASP has created a series of fact sheets about portions of the law and the role of school psychologists. For each key topic, there is a fact sheet to help educate school psychologists about their role in ESSA and a companion fact sheet for school administrators and other key decision makers that articulates specific ways school psychologists can help with effective ESSA implementation and, most importantly, improve outcomes for all students. These resources are located on ESSA Implementation Resources NASP’s page.

Education Reform Commission (ERC)

The final report from Governor Deal’s Education Reform Commission generated recommendations and potential bills which may be moving through the General Assembly during the 2017 Session.

Twitter: @GASP_Advocacy follow us for important legislative information.


National Association of School Psychologists Advocacy Action Center:

NASP has an Advocacy Action Center website as well as research & policy.

Receiving Updates:

Please remember to sign up to receive legislative updates from other professional educator associations in Georgia and nationwide. You can sign up to receive legislative updates from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) advocacy site. The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) Legislative Action Center is also a good resource to follow. In addition, the National Education Association’s (NEA) Legislative Action Center is a useful resource and you can sign up to receive NEA legislative updates from them.

Local School Board Meetings:

o Members are encouraged to consider attending their local school board meetings. This is an excellent way to advocate for our profession at the local level and may also serve to influence changes that may be of benefit to school psychologists and/or the families they serve.

Other Summary Links

PAGE 2016 GA Legislation Session Archive - Governor Deal's VETO statements

GAEL Legislative Summary

Written by Jimmy Stokes of GAEL.

What We Can Expect for 2017

1. The Education Reform Commission's proposals including a new funding formula will be considered by the 2017 General Assembly. The Governor has yet to release the specific legislative proposals.

2. Religious freedom legislation will be an emotional topic and will command great political capital and media attention.

3.There will be efforts to expand this year's gun carry legislation.

4. Revenue continues to be up and that bodes well for all agencies including education.

5. Medical marijuana legislation will garner considerable media attention.

What We Learned in 2016

1. SB 364, the TKES/LKES/Testing legislation authored by Lindsey Tippins, was the single most important piece of legislation for educators. Again, the important points of the bill: TKES student growth percentage is reduced to 30%

LKES student growth percentage is reduced to 40%

Students must attend 90% of classes to be counted in student growth percentage

SLOs are now strictly local adoption

Some annual measure of student growth must be made in each class, Milestones or local adoption

Science and social studies Milestones for grades K-7 are eliminated

Observations for tenured teachers with previous proficient or exemplary ratings are reduced to two observations

Systems may not impose a quota of exemplary, proficient, needs improvement, or unsatisfactory ratings

There is increased emphasis on K-3 literacy and K-5 math that will be added by required diagnostic testing for students grades 1-5.

GADOE and systems are encouraged to move end of course/year tests to as late a date is possible in the semester or school year

2. All systems and charter schools will have to conduct two budget hearings each year.

3. A new cost accounting procedure will be developed requiring systems to determine how much money is spent at each school each year. Becomes effective 2017.

4. Dual enrollees taking college course that normally would require an EOCT will no longer have to take the EOCT if they earn an A, B, or C for the college course.

5. Financial officers will have annual training offered by GADOE.

6. Systems are encouraged to offer baseball dugout training, have more time for recess, and provide sudden cardiac arrest training for athletes but none of these are required.

7. Local BOEs may not restrict board members' freedom of speech.

8. The Move On When Ready program has been expanded with each technical college determining which programs will be included in MOWR.

9. Strategic Waiver School Systems may apply to have Career Academies without a revision of their existing contract.

10. The Criminal Justice Reform Act will require persons that participate in the conduct of a disciplinary hearing (hearing officer, tribunal chair, tribunal chair, and administrators presenting cases) to be trained. Details regarding the training will be forthcoming from GADOE.  School systems are encouraged not to use "disruption of school" as a tribunal offense except in special circumstances.

11. School systems are prohibited from using "disruption of school" as a tribunal offense except in special circumstances. There are now testing opt out provisions which include documentation of legitimate circumstances in which a student may opt out of a required test. Special details will be forthcoming from GADOE. Students that opt out of required tests for whatever reason must be provided "appropriate educational activities" during the testing time. This law goes into effect July 1, 2016.

12. HOPE scholarship requirements have undergone slight modification in that computer science courses and dual enrollment courses now are included in the rigor courses required for HOPE calculations. Home school students must score 1350 or better on the SAT to qualify as Zell Miller Scholars.

13. Video cameras may now be placed in special education classes for monitoring faculty and students. (Already in practice but now specifically legal.)

14. A bilteracy seal has been created for students scoring 4 or better on an AP foreign language exam or 5 or better on an IB foreign language exam.

15. GHSA schools may now compete against GISA and GICSA schools under limited circumstances.

16. The Governor recommended a 3% raise for educators out of the $300 Million allocated to reduce the current $460 Million formula reduction (austerity cut). The legislature also added additional funds for nurses, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, RESA personnel, and CTAE staff. No money has been added to the state salary schedule and therefore how the raise money is distributed will be left to local systems. Hopefully systems will be given advice from GADOE when the allotment sheets are distributed but until then it is completely a local decision as to how raises will be distributed.

The Capitol Opinion will be published each Friday of the 2016 General Assembly.  If you have specific questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at or 770-601-3798.  The Capitol Opinion is authored by Jimmy C. Stokes and is not the official position of GAEL or any of its affiliates.


GASP's response that was requested from us during the 2016 legislative session concerning HB 395. HB 395 never made it out of the Health and Human Services Committee- House Second Readers. This Bill sought to define and restrict certain professions for conducting psychological testing. This bill was apparently addressing licensed professionals and scope of practice but due to the nature of the content- GASP board crafted a response to the language in the bill.

GASP's Response to language in HB 395



The views, opinions, and positions expressed within hyperlinked websites do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Georgia Association of School Psychologists.


2017 PPI Application Closed (for those who wish to attend PPI training in Wash DC in the summer)

Problems? Comments?
website appears optimized for Chrome

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software