GA governor could sign legislation to make schools safer

GA State Superintendent Funding

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - New legislation may increase safety measures in Georgia public schools if Governor Brian Kemp signs it into law.

Parents worry every time their kids leave the house, wondering how to keep them safe when they’re not there. Now that fear carries into the classroom.

“These are little kids. They haven’t lived their lives. So I feel like something needs to be done,” said Amber Johnson, a parent.

New legislation is hoping to do just this. Senate Bill 15 is now on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk waiting to potentially be signed into legislation. A law that would change public schools’ safety plans.

“We’ve already had a few school shootings already. That should hit home for them already like, ‘You know what, maybe we need to amp up security. Do something about it. Make sure our kids are safe.’”

The bill would require every public school to prepare a safety plan and increased threat assessment measures, like using smartphones to report suspicious and unsafe activities.

“You know, because no parent wants that call that says your kid’s not coming home,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s 4-year-old will be heading to school next year. She said she can only hope the bill to make his school safer is passed.

“I want him to be able to grow up, go to school, go to college, graduate and do something good with his life,” said Johnson.

It’s not the only piece of legislation that may affect South Georgia school systems.

Georgia teachers will potentially see a $3,000 pay raise if Kemp signs off on the 2020 budget.

The State House of Representatives and the Senate passed the $27.5 billion spending proposal.

The 2020 budget will begin July 1 and teachers will potentially see the substantial pay raise if Kemp passes the budget.

Kemp pledged during his campaign trail for governor that he would increase teacher salaries by $5,000.

State Superintendent Richard Woods said a pay raise shows teachers the work they do is appreciated.

“Right now we face a crisis throughout the nation where typically one out of every two teachers who enter the field, leave by year five. So hopefully, this will be an encouragement to retain teachers as we move forward, as well and will set the table for more things to come,” said Woods.

Kemp will also look at whether to sign or veto another bill aimed at helping teachers.

Senate Bill 68 would create an appeals process for year-end teacher evaluations.

And it would increase training requirement for managing finances in local school boards.

Kemp has 40 days to sign or veto the proposed legislation.

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