2020 Legislative Session Final Report
The 2020 Georgia legislative session stands out for being split due to a global pandemic. When the session opened on January 13, policymakers debated a number of K-12 initiatives including a pay raise for Georgia educators, expanded private school vouchers, and teacher evaluation reform. The session paused in mid-March when much of the country shut down due to the growing public health emergency. When the Georgia legislature resumed in mid-June, the economic landscape was drastically altered due to a profound drop in state revenue. The session adjourned Sine Die on June 26 after legislators passed a budget that included a $950 million cut to Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding formula, the primary source of state funding for public schools. Though steep, it is a smaller cut than initially expected. The reduced cut came after Gov. Kemp revised the state revenue estimate, forecasting a loss of $2.2 billion in FY 2021 instead of $2.6 billion. This adjustment, combined with an infusion of $250 million in state rainy day funds, lowered the cut applied to most state agencies to 10 percent from 11 percent. Lawmakers took a measured approach to developing the budget, keeping cuts to some programs below 10 percent and boosting funds for other programs. Legislators also approved a bill that reduces the number of state-mandated standardized tests bringing Georgia’s testing program more in line with the minimum number of tests required by the federal government.
The 2020 Final Session Report includes FY 2021 budget highlights and a comprehensive list of education-focused legislation which passed the state House and Senate during this most unusual time.