House Education committee 8:00 AM meeting, March 21, 2023 Left: Rep Todd Jones, (R) Sen. Greg Dolezal in 8:00 AM House Education committee hearing.
Why do you think Sen Dolezal didn’t tell the committee and the world about the illegal immigration component of his bill?
Eligible students must be U.S. citizens or green card holders. Why doesn’t the bill have the same requirement for the “parents?” We’ll tell you in another post.
- Related: A line-by-line look at the role of parents in the proposed new state “Promise Scholarship” grant
Sen. Greg Dolezal (R- Cumming) Lead sponsor, SB 233 “school choice” – presenting the bill as passed by the senate to the House Education committee. Partial transcript. This begins after start of presentation and stops well before the end.
“Um, I thought I would start, Mr. Chairman, the same way I started in the subcommittee yesterday, which is simply to talk about this bill from a high level, what this bill does, who it does it for, how it will function, and what it is that we’re doing.
Senate Bill 233 is the Georgia Promise Scholarship Act, and from… At a high level, it takes the state funding for students who are currently enrolled in public school, it allows their parents to redirect those funds to an educational outcome, and a pathway of their choice.
That can be homeschool, virtual school, private school, co-ops, and as the education industry continues to innovate, hopefully we’ll continue to see further opportunities for parents to pursue excellent education outcomes for their children as we move into the future.
So, in the colloquial terms, as we’ve heard these… This term bantered about, it’s a money follows the child program. Mr. Chairman, I think it’s important to just talk through a high level of how schools are funded in the state of Georgia.
You have three buckets of funding, federal funding, state funding, and then the local funding, the local funding comes from the tax digest. The state funding is appropriated on a per capita basis, as you know, and it is designed to cover the marginal costs of adding a student to a system, so therefor the state funding for every school system in the state of Georgia fluctuates as the head count fluctuates, which is almost guaranteed to be some fluctuation year over year as you have [inaudible 00:01:36] student that move through the system.
The local funding, which comes from the local tax digest is designed to cover the fixed cost. That’s your building costs, and other hard costs that tend to be more static in nature, and don’t fluctuate as much via head count.
That funding is obviously based on the tax digest, and not at all tied to head count. What the bill, as it passed the Senate will do, it was… It will allow students to take $6,000, which is slightly less than the average that the state spends per student, uh, in the K through 12 public education system, and allow them to pursue one of those opportunities.
–>Who is eligible for the program? Like I mentioned, the students who are currently enrolled in public school, or those entering public school for the first time, and then the students who were attending a school that would be deemed to be in the bottom 25%, so the bottom quartile of schools in the state of Georgia *(actually, lines 71 & 72 create the requirement that the student be a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) – also found on lines 82 & 83 in the latest version of the bill).
- Update, March 22, 2023 6:20 AM: The Republican-majority House Education committee passed the latest version of SB 233 out on an unaccountable voice vote yesterday.
How is the funding spent? If you’re familiar with FSA programs, or other things that are administered by a third party, this would be very similar. These, uh… The state finance commissioner would stand up a third party administrator, and the, the funds would flow through that, that third party…”
end of transcript.