For Immediate Release January 17, 2019
ATLANTA -- "Gov. Kemp has created a strong wish list when it comes to public education in his first year,” said Charlotte Booker, president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). “His boldness is a break from recent administrations and GAE hopes to help make the agenda a reality. His total request for a $5000 raise, and his $3,000 'downpayment' this year, for our very deserving teachers will be well received. It will help in the state’s efforts to both attract and retain great teachers for our students." Booker says last year’s teacher raises were appreciative but GAE knew that more needed to be done. "As usual the devil will be in the details and GAE will be working with legislators, Gov. Kemp and Superintendent Woods to help make sure this comes to fruition," she said.
"Our schools were traditionally the safe havens of our communities and all of us need to help them reclaim that designation," Booker said. "All children should feel safe in our public schools. So GAE agrees with Gov. Kemp's effort to provide schools with $30,000 each to shore up their security. One size does not fit all so we are happy to see that he is leaving it up to each school and system to decided how best to utilize their funds. However, GAE emphatically reiterates that no teachers should be armed in our classrooms. Armed security, if necessary, should be left to the professionals."
Booker emphasizes that GAE members have always realized the need for more school counselors and psychologists to help their students through the myriad of issues going on in their lives that impact their performance in the classroom. "We were very happy to hear Gov. Kemp highlight the need for more mental health professionals in our schools and will work with legislators to help make that a reality."
In addition, GAE will be working on these additional priorities that include:
- continued full funding our of public schools;
- ensuring that there is a fully certified educator for every teaching position;
- ensuring a minimum 180 days of instruction;
- providing full staffing for key programs such as drop-out prevention, art, music, and P.E.;
- enacting and enforcing fair dismissal procedures for all public school employees and administering fair evaluation procedures for our teachers;
- administering an effective and enforceable grievance procedure; and
- provide our Education Support Professionals (ESPs) a state salary schedule and improved benefits, including a living wage.