Education, Politics

What Do Teachers Want From Georgia Lawmakers This Year?

Politicians often court teachers' votes and tend to pay attention to issues that affect them. The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) represents 95,000 educators in the state and will play an active role in this year's legislative session.
Politicians often court teachers' votes and tend to pay attention to issues that affect them. The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) represents 95,000 educators in the state and will play an active role in this year's legislative session.
Credit Kaitlin Kolarik / WABE

Once Georgia’s 2019 legislative session starts Monday, various groups will lobby lawmakers to pass their bills. Teachers’ groups will be among them.

To find out their legislative agenda, we sat down with Margaret Ciccarelli, an attorney and director of legislative services for the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE).

She outlined four legislative priorities for the group this year: school safety and security, recruiting and retaining strong teachers (and ensuring their retirement), a school funding study (and updating the state funding formula based on the results), and testing and accountability.

In the interview, Ciccarelli also addresses other potential education bills, including legislation to address dyslexia and possible changes to school calendars.

Ciccarelli says PAGE, which represents almost 95,000 educators, hopes Gov.-elect Brian Kemp will keep his campaign promise to pay teachers an extra $5,000 a year.

House Speaker David Ralston has questioned where the money would come from. During his campaign, Kemp said the state could afford the expense since revenues surpassed $900 million in FY 2018.

Margaret Ciccarelli of PAGE, Extended Interview