By State Representatives Viola Davis (D-Stone Mountain), Sandra Scott (D-Rex) and Kim Schofield (D-Atlanta)
Georgia’s education system stands at a critical juncture. It is a moment where we can choose to prioritize the future of our children and our state’s prosperity. Today, we are proud to present a legislative educational agenda that seeks to update the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula and ensure that education is fully funded – a long-overdue necessity.
For nearly two decades, the QBE formula has struggled to meet the needs of our students and schools. The last time it was revised was in the 1980s, and since then, our education system has been operating with limited resources and growing disparities. It is time to make substantial changes to provide our students with the education they deserve.
Our legislative agenda comprises four crucial pieces of legislation that will address these challenges head-on:
House Bill 3, authored by Rep. Scott, would provide additional resources to students living in poverty. This legislation recognizes that a student’s financial status should never hinder their educational opportunities. By allocating an additional $300 million for students living in poverty, we can launch programs that directly serve these students’ needs, such as wrap-around learning interventions, mental health counseling and transportation for low-income students participating in dual enrollment programs.
House Bill 712: Ensuring Adequate Funding for School Transportation
House Bill 712, authored by Rep. Davis, focuses on securing full-funding for transportation in school districts across Georgia. This is a critical issue, as inadequate funding for transportation has been a recurring problem, particularly affecting rural districts. HB 712 would address this issue by increasing funding for transportation, ensuring that students can travel safely to and from school without imposing financial burdens on local districts.
Refugee and International Students Equalization Fund (RISE)
The legislation, “Refugee and International Students Equalization Fund (RISE),” would provide essential resources and support to refugees and international students in our public schools. This program would offer funding and wrap-around services to ensure students’ success by addressing their unique needs, including education, translators, housing, medical care, counseling, nutrition and transportation (See LC 49 1549).
School Violence Reduction and Safety Act
To bolster school safety and reduce incidents of violence in Georgia’s public schools, we have drafted the “School Violence Reduction and Safety Funds Act.” This legislation would amend the QBE Act to allocate funds for enhancing security measures and creating a safer learning environment. The drafted legislation includes program weight adjustments, funding assistance, eligibility criteria and maximum funding limits to ensure that schools can effectively reduce violence and improve safety (See LC 49 1555).
Our legislative agenda is not just about updating formulas: it is about investing in the future of Georgia. These initiatives aim to provide students with equitable opportunities, ensure safe and efficient transportation, support immigrant students and create a secure learning environment.
As these bills progress through the legislative process, we are committed to working tirelessly to ensure that Georgia’s education system becomes a model for the nation, providing quality education for all our students. We believe in an inclusive and equitable future where every child can succeed, regardless of their zip codes, background or circumstances. Let us unite in support of these education priorities, updating the QBE formula and fully funding education so that we can build a brighter future for Georgia’s children and our great state.
Representative Viola Davis represents the citizens of District 87, which includes portions of DeKalb County. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 and currently serves on the Defense & Veterans Affairs, Insurance, Interstate Cooperation, Natural Resources & Environment and Urban Affairs committees.
Representative Sandra Scott represents the citizens of District 76, which includes portions of Clayton County. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and currently serves as the Minority Caucus Chief Deputy Whip. She also serves on the Banks & Banking, Defense & Veterans Affairs, Human Relations & Aging, Insurance and Reapportionment and Redistricting committees.
Representative Kim Schofield represents the citizens of District 63, which includes portions of Fulton County. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2017 and currently serves as the Secretary of the Urban Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Creative Arts & Entertainment, Health, Interstate Cooperation and Small Business Development committees.