Georgia Legislature “Crossover Day” Summary

Thursday, March 7, was the deadline to move bills from the Senate to the House and vice versa. However, legislation that failed to “cross over” may still pass by riding on other education-related bills before the session ends on April 2. Here is a wrap up of what may affect our families.

  • Look up HERE for Senate Bill that has has crossed to the House
  • Look up HERE for House Bill that has has crossed to the Senate
  • Also contact committee members linked under each bill.

 


Guest Columnist: Jan Murphy

Augusta, GA (February 16, 2019) – One of our parents, Jan Murphy, was featured as a guest columnist in the Augusta Chronicle with her column titled “This scholarship helped my family, and here’s how to improve it”.

In her column, she outlines her struggle with finding a school that would educate her daughters, and how that struggle led her to Brookwood Christian and Georgia’s Special Needs Scholarship (SB10).

“I remember those hard days: standing at the bus stop with my daughters, telling them that all we had to do was make it through one more year. If you don’t fit into the box, you fall through the cracks. And my daughters were quickly slipping through the cracks.

“We started exploring private school options, but tuition was beyond our means. That’s when we learned about the Special Needs Scholarship Program, which enables children with special needs who have attended public school for at least one year to transfer to another school (private, traditional public, or charter) that better fits their needs.

“Thankfully, my children qualified, enabling them to attend Brookwood Christian School in Acworth, a school with the type of student-to-teacher ratio that my girls need to truly excel. I’ll never forget the day one of my daughters came to me and said, “I don’t think I ever want to leave this school. Everyone here has a disability – and it’s no big deal.””

Jan then goes on give details of the history of the scholarship as well as her ideas for improvement. Thanks for telling your story, shining a light on the scholarship, and for speaking so well of us. 🙂

Read more about the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship HERE.

Full Article:  “This scholarship helped my family, and here’s how to improve it”, Augusta Chronicle, (02/16/2019)


HB 301 Introduced this Week

Georgia HB 301 was introduced into legislation this week by floor leader Jodi Lott-R (District 122).

This bill would allow parents to use state funds in a manner similar to “vouchers” in other states. Students are eligible if they were enrolled in a Georgia public school the year prior to enrolling in private school. This requirement would not apply to groups such as low-income families, the learning disabled or victims of bullying.

The funding would be similar to that of SB10 (Georgia Special Needs Scholarship), the state portion the local school district gets per student, which averages approximately 54 percent of the total when federal and local dollars are included.

Professional organizations such as the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), oppose this bill claiming that it will “peel away the easiest students to educate” while dismissing the fact that so many students that will be using it are like those attending schools like ours because they were NOT being adequately served. Many of these students are currently receiving funds from SB10 and the Tax Credit Scholarship, which they also oppose. This bill would help families not eligible for SB10, and possibly offer additional support to those who do receive SB10 funds.

Let your legislators know you support this bill  (look up HERE)  and reach out to the bill authors:

Primary Author:  Cantrell, Wes 22nd

Co-Authors
Lott, Jodi 122nd, Governor’s Floor Leader
Fleming, Barry 121st
Stephens, Ron 164th
Gravley, Micah 67th
Harrell, Brett 106th

Source: “K-12 “scholarship” legislation would pay Ga. parents for private school“. Atlanta Journal & Constitution, (02/14/2019)


2018 Tax Information

Depending on your tax situation your child’s tuition may count as a deduction for “medical” expenses, your accountant will be able to offer more advice.

Below are the instructions for printing your 2018 tuition total (Spring 2017-2018 plus Fall 2018-2019). Once printed, attach with the Tax Letter (click HERE) and give to your accountant.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

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  • Click HERE to login to FACTS Tuition
  • After logging in, next to Payment Plan & Billing, Click on View Details,

  • Then click in the blue box that says View Payment Summary

  • The default should be 2018, click Print 

  • You should also be able to print as a pdf and email with the Tax Letter letter if necessary.

 

HB 217 Passed – APOGEE Cap increased!

We just received this email from APOGEE!!

Please take a moment to thank your representatives as well as those listed below.  More details on the scholarship can be found here.


“We have VERY exciting news to share!  Assuming Governor Deal signs the bill (which we fully expect), the Tax credit cap will be increased from $58 million to $100 million for the next 10 years starting in 2019.  After the 10 year mark, the cap would be reduced back to $58 million.
There will be an assessment of the program and its effectiveness in saving the state money and providing opportunities to families at the 5 year mark. With the expectation that the results will be in our favor, we could possibly expect an even more favorable result legislatively at that point.
The bill also includes some moderate fee reductions for SSO’s and improves the SSO reporting process.
We would like to take a moment to thank Representative John Carson. Without Rep Carson, the tax credit cap expansion bill would never have come to fruition.  Rep Carson expended a great deal of time, energy, and political capital to get this bill across the finish line in a format that was favorable to all of us in the program.  There will thousands of additional children who will directly benefit from the work done to accomplish this monumental task.
If you would like to personally thank Rep. Carson for his tremendous work on the expansion of the tax credit program, he can be reached at 
Another key player in the expansion of the program was Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who supported the larger cap increase to take place immediately rather than the proposed escalator.  Casey Cagle’s role in the Senate was vital to the success of the bill.  
Words of appreciation can be sent to casey.cagle@senate.ga.gov.  
We are extremely excited for the long overdue expansion to the program and for the tremendous impact this expansion will have on providing educational opportunities for Georgia families.
We are thankful for your response to our legislative alert.  It is always refreshing to see our legislative body react favorably to the support of a bill we have all been working towards for such a long time.”

HB801 proposed changes to GSNS (SB10)

HB801 was filed yesterday by Representative Scott Hilton. This legislation would:

  • give flexibility in how scholarship funds are spent,
  • change the scholarship calculation from the October to the March FTE count,
  • make special needs preschool count towards the one year,
  • give an exemption from the one year for children adopted from foster care,
  • ensure that if you participate in the scholarship, you never have to meet the one year requirement again!

Check it out at this link http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislati…/…/display/20172018/HB/801.

New Tuition Payment System

Dear Parents:

In preparation for the upcoming school year we are making plans for improving the content and quality of our programs while increasing the efficiency in the office. In a review of our operations, we have been studying our method of handling tuition payments. Continue reading “New Tuition Payment System”