Georgia school libraries

GLA Legislative Center to Oppose HB 278

Many thanks to GLMA President and friend Susan Grigsby for sharing this information with me;  let your voice be heard!

If you believe in the value of school libraries in Georgia you need to Take
Action Now!<http://capwiz.com/ala/ga/utr/1/OVEGKBXVJX/IFYRKBZBQV/3072016891>

Georgia House Bill 278, now being reviewed by the Senate Education and Youth
Committee, will decimate funding for school libraries and media centers
across Georgia by rolling dedicated funding for school libraries into
general operating budgets of school systems.

Georgia House Bill 278 is summarized as follows: “[T]o be entitled an Act to
amend Article 6 of Chapter 2 of Title 20 of the Official Code of Georgia
Annotated, relating to the “Quality Basic Education Act,” so as to
temporarily waive certain expenditure controls relating to funds earned for
direct instructional costs, media center costs, staff and professional
development costs, and additional days of instruction; to provide for
automatic repeal; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting
laws; and for other purposes.”

What this means for Georgia school libraries:

- This dedicated funding has already dropped from $19.54 in 2003 per
student FTE to $15 FTE for elementary and $13 for middle and high schools.
- These dedicated funds have already been diverted in many cases and will
disappear entirely if HB 278 passes, leaving school libraries with no
budgets.
- Library orders have already been cancelled in mid-process as systems
take back dedicated funds already delivered since HB 278 has language making
it retroactive to July 2008.
- Kids who read and learn 21st century literacy skills succeed. School
libraries make it happen.
- Studies from across the country show that funded and staffed school
libraries improve students test scores.

Please contact your Senator immediately to urge the defeat of this bill!

We hope you will be able to take a few minutes to respond, and to forward
this alert to your friends, to have them let their representatives know the
value of school libraries.

Thanks for being receptive to receiving these messages, and for your help!

Sincerely,

Susan Grigsby
President
Georgia Library Media Association

Jim Cooper
President
Georgia Library Association

Support Georgia’s School Libraries: Say NO to HB 278

stop

Used Under a Creative Common License: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adobemac/294078052/

Right now a little piece of legislation known as HB 278 ( http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/sum/hb278.htm )  threatens the health  of Georgia’s school libraries.  Why is HB 278 potentially detrimental?  The GLMA page provides a succinct explanation:

“Expenditure Controls and Funding for Georgia’s School Libraries”

Our main legislative issue for 2009 is expenditure controls. Governor Perdue is proposing legislation that would temporarily waive media center expenditure controls until June 30, 2010. This legislation would mean that school systems could redirect any unspent library media money for this school year as well as state funding for school libraries until fiscal year 2010 to other areas leaving school libraries with reduced or little funding. GLMA opposes this legislation and asks school librarians and parents to contact their legislators to explain how this legislation would hurt school libraries and students’ access to library books and technology.

From Governor Sonny Perdue:

“In January 2009, I will introduce as part of my legislative package temporary waivers of the expenditure controls found in OCGA §§ 20-2-167 (site-based direct instruction, media center, and staff development controls) and 20-2-184.1 (additional days of instruction controls). The legislation would make the waivers effective July 1, 2008 and would continue in force until June 30, 2010.”

Please look at the following listing of House and Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee members. We need everyone to email the following committee members. If you live in their district, PLEASE let them know that you are their constituent and oppose this legislation. Provide a brief, but polite email giving an example of why library funding is important to your students (tell your library story).

The House Appropriations Education Subcommittee members are as follows:

Rep. Edward Lindsey (R), Chair – Atlanta; edward.lindsey@house.ga.gov
Rep. Terry England (R), Secretary – Auburn; englandhomeport2@alltel.net
Rep. Amos Amerson (R) – Dahlonega; amos.amerson@house.ga.gov
Rep. Amy Carter (D) – Valdosta; amy.carter@house.ga.gov
Rep. David Casas (R) – Lilburn; david.casas@house.ga.gov
Rep. Mike Keown (R) – Coolidge; mkfnbc@rose.net
Rep. Jan Jones (R) – Alpharetta; jan.jones@house.ga.gov
Rep. Howard Maxwell (R) – Dallas; howard.maxwell@house.ga.gov
Rep. Jay Neal (R) – LaFayette; P 404.656.0152 jay.neal@house.ga.gov
Rep. DuBose Porter (D) – Dublin; P 404.656.5058; F 404-656-0114 dubose.porter@house.ga.gov

The Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee members are as follows:

Sen. Dan Moody (R), Chair – Alpharetta; dan.moody@senate.ga.gov
Sen. Horacena Tate (D), Vice Chair – Atlanta; horacena.tate@senate.ga.gov
Sen. John Bulloch (R) – Ochlocknee; john.bulloch@senate.ga.gov
Sen. Jack Murphy (R) – Cumming; jack.murphy@senate.ga.gov
Sen. Tommie Williams (R), Senate President Pro Tempore – Lyons; tommie@tommiewilliams.com

Contact these committee members (it is now in the Senate) and your own reps (go to http://sos.georgia.gov/misc/districts.htm )  to let them know you support funding for Georgia’s school libraries and that you oppose HB 278.

I also encourage you to read GLMA President Susan Grigsby’s speech to our legislators:  http://glma.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/presidents-message-march/ .   She does a terrific job outlining our current situation and why school libraries matter (not that you don’t already know!).

Thank you,
Buffy Hamilton
Teacher-Librarian
The Unquiet Library