GAE applauds monies for educators, but has concerns over legislation to control the classroom

For Immediate Release
January 13, 2022

GAE applauds monies for educators, but has concerns over legislation to control the classroom

ATLANTA – “We are pleased that Gov. Kemp continues to keep public education at the forefront of his agenda,” said Lisa Morgan, kindergarten teacher and president of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). “We applaud his efforts in fulfilling his promise of a salary increase, including added bonuses, as well as fully funding the QBE formula for the coming school year. We hope and expect the General Assembly will approve his budget priorities.”

“However,” said Morgan, ”we are very concerned about his support for legislation that we believe will stifle educators in how they teach in their classrooms. GAE will aggressively fight attempts to criminalize the actions of educators who are following State Board of Education guidelines in teaching an unvarnished, honest, and truthful history of our country and the world around us, unattached to current political winds. Students have a right to discuss difficult, age-appropriate topics, and teachers are trained to guide them.”

Gov. Kemp is fulfilling his promise of a $5,000 pay raise for teachers by asking for the remaining $2,000 permanent pay raise for classroom teachers be a part of the 2022-2023 budget.

In the modified 2021-2022 budget the Governor is proposing new bonuses of up to $2,000 for teachers and other full-time K-12 employees - including education support professionals (ESPs) - and $1,000 for part-time employees, including ESPs. “The bonuses will obviously be welcomed, especially by our ESPs who are always on the frontline of providing vital services for our schools,” said Morgan.

In addition, classroom teachers and paraprofessionals will be appreciative that Kemp is using federal COVID aid to provide $125 gift cards to help with the purchase of school supplies, part of a total of $47 million he controls. “Every amount helps our educators provide for our students in the classroom,” Morgan added.

Gov. Kemp is recognizing the importance of fully funding our public schools by asking legislators to approve an allocation of more than $647 million to restore cuts to K-12 public education for the current budget, resulting in full funding for QBE this year. Kemp's budget for 2022-2023 would restore another $537 million to K-12 education to fully fund QBE for the next school year. Morgan says, “Our public schools need this basic funding to function, however, they could use even more in order to provide our students with the world-class education they deserve.”

For the budget year that begins July 1, 2022, Kemp plans to spend $66.6 to increase the actuarially determined employer contribution for the Teachers Retirement System from 19.06% to 19.81%. “This too is welcome news for both currently retired and soon to be retired Georgia educators,” said Morgan.