BOE 2024 Legislative Priorities

Newton Board of Education Adopts 2024 Legislative Priorities
Posted on 11/15/2023
BOE Legislative PrioritiesThe Newton County School System's Board of Education announces the adoption of their 2024 Legislative Priorities, outlining a strategic plan to advance public education in Georgia. With a focus on advocacy, local authority, program funding, policy impact, federal legislation, and teaching and learning, the Board is committed to ensuring the highest quality education for all students.

Advocacy for Public Education
The Board reaffirms its support for The Georgia Vision Project as a crucial initiative to raise awareness, address issues, and enhance public education across the state.

Local Board Authority
The Board stands firm in supporting the authority of local boards of education to manage and control the operation of local public schools. It opposes any legislation that attempts to override the constitutional authority of locally elected boards, ensuring that educational decisions remain in the hands of the communities they serve.

Program Funding
A cornerstone of the Board's priorities is the complete funding of public education according to the state’s current formula. The Board advocates for a fair and equitable funding model that recognizes and addresses the unique needs of each district. This includes increased allocations for school counselors, School Resource Officers (SROs), mental health professionals, and additional funds for transportation.

The Board strongly opposes the use of public funds for private education and supports an increase in funding to meet the transportation needs of the school system. It also emphasizes the importance of sustained funding for a safe school environment, therapeutic supports for students with disabilities, and the continuation of full funding for the mid-term adjustment given to districts experiencing student growth.

Policy and Impact
The Board stresses the need for clear, timely, and complete descriptions of the potential impact of state education legislation on local schools. It supports a one-year delay in the implementation of new mandates or programs to allow school systems adequate time to adjust budgets and operations.

Additionally, the Board advocates for legislation ensuring reliable, high-speed Internet access for all communities and strong government and community partnerships balancing community and economic development plans with providing resources for all students in the Newton County School System.

Federal Legislation
The Board urges Congress to eliminate unnecessary mandates and regulations on schools. It advocates for a fair and equitable distribution of federal funds, supporting a well-rounded education, comprehensive safe and healthy student programs, and effective technology use.

Teaching and Learning
The Board emphasizes the importance of a universally fair, consistent, and equitable system of evaluation for all educators. It supports a reduction in state-required assessments to the federal minimum and the employment of retired teachers to address shortages without impacting their benefits or adding costs to the district.

The Board also supports a fair and consistent accountability system based on a growth/progress model, recognizing the uniqueness of each school system. Rigorous standards and assessments, along with additional support and professional development, are crucial elements for success.

In the pursuit of excellence, the Board supports the advancement of technology in schools and students, with funding allocated for instructional technology equipment, technology infrastructure, individual student devices, mobile hotspots, and technology integration in every classroom.

"I am proud to stand alongside my fellow board members in endorsing our 2024 Legislative Priorities,” said Newton County Board of Education Chair, Shakila Henderson-Baker. “Our commitment to advocating for public education, preserving local board authority, and ensuring fair and equitable program funding reflects our dedication to providing the best possible education for every student in our community. As we champion these priorities, we sincerely hope that both state and federal legislators will take to heart the importance of these initiatives.”

"The focus on policy impact, federal legislation, and teaching and learning underscores our commitment to navigating the evolving landscape of education with diligence and foresight,” added Newton County Board of Education vice-chair, Abigail Coggin. “By advocating for reliable Internet access, fair evaluation systems, and technological advancements, we aim to create an environment where our students can thrive academically and personally. We hope that our legislators recognize the significance of these legislative priorities and work collaboratively to make a lasting impact on the educational landscape. We remain grateful for the leadership and support of the Newton County Legislative Delegation.”

Newton County, Georgia is represented by the following state delegation: Senator Brian Strickland, Senator Tonya Anderson, Representative Doreen Carter, Representative Sharon Henderson, and Representative Tim Fleming.

BOE 2024 Legislative Priorities