2017 Georgia Code
Title 20 - Education
Chapter 2 - Elementary and Secondary Education
Article 6 - Quality Basic Education
Part 5 - Program Weights and Funding Requirements
§ 20-2-182. Program weights to reflect funds for payment of salaries and benefits; maximum class size; reporting requirements; application to specific school years

Universal Citation: GA Code § 20-2-182 (2017)
  • (a) The program weights, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to pay at least the beginning salaries of all teachers needed to provide essential classroom instruction in order to ensure a Quality Basic Education Program for all enrolled students, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.
  • (b) The program weights for the primary, primary grades early intervention, upper elementary, upper elementary grades early intervention, and middle school programs, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to pay at least the beginning salaries of specialists qualified to teach art, music, foreign language, and physical education, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.
  • (c) The program weights for the kindergarten, kindergarten early intervention, primary, primary grades early intervention, upper elementary, upper elementary grades early intervention, middle school, and alternative education programs and the program weights for the high school programs authorized pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-151, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to pay the beginning salaries for at least one school counselor for every 450 full-time equivalent students. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2015 and thereafter, the program weights for the English for speakers of other languages program and the programs for persons with disabilities shall also earn school counselor funding. Further, beginning in Fiscal Year 2016 and thereafter, the program weights for the program for intellectually gifted students and the remedial education program shall also earn school counselor funding. The duties and responsibilities for such school counselors shall be established by the state board to require a minimum of five of the six full-time equivalent program count segments of the counselor's time to be spent counseling or advising students or parents.
  • (c.1) The program weights for the kindergarten and the kindergarten early intervention programs, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to pay the salaries for instructional aides.
  • (d) All program weights, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to pay the beginning salaries for technology specialists needed to provide essential technology services.
  • (e) The program weights for the high school programs authorized pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-151, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to provide teachers with a preparation period free of assigned students.
  • (f) Reserved.
  • (g) All program weights, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect sufficient funds to pay the cost of sick and personal leave for teachers, the employer's portion of costs for membership in the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia and health insurance programs authorized by law, the cost of essential instructional materials, which shall include, but not be limited to, textbooks and technology, and equipment needed to operate effectively such instructional programs, and the cost of travel required of personnel in order to deliver educational services to enrolled students, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly.
  • (h) All program weights, when multiplied by the base amount, shall reflect, whenever they are revised pursuant to subsection (f) of Code Section 20-2-161, an amount of funds for the purpose of providing staff and professional development to certificated and classified personnel and local school board members which shall be at least equivalent to 1.0 percent of salaries of all certificated professional personnel used in the development of each respective program weight, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2014, such amount shall include funding for school level administrators in the same manner as for other certificated professional personnel. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2015, such amount shall be at least equivalent to 0.9 percent of salaries of all certificated professional personnel, including school level administrators, used in the development of each respective program weight, subject to appropriation by the General Assembly. Funds used for professional or staff development purposes may be used throughout the fiscal year, including days when students are not present at school, to meet professional or staff development needs in the order of priority determined by the local board of education within the comprehensive professional and staff development program plan approved by the State Board of Education. Such professional and staff development program plan shall address deficiencies of certificated personnel as identified by evaluations required under Code Section 20-2-210. Further, professional and staff development funds shall be used for activities that enhance the skills of certificated personnel and directly relate to student achievement, as reflected in the revised certification renewal rules established by the Professional Standards Commission pursuant to paragraph (4.1) of subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-200 regarding the impact of professional learning on student achievement. Subsequent certificated personnel evaluations shall include an assessment of an employee's professional and staff development activities and their effect on identified deficiencies and student achievement. Funds for professional development purposes may be used for activities occurring at any time during the fiscal year outside of an employee's normal contract hours.
  • (i) (1) It is the intent of this paragraph to provide a clear expectation to parents and guardians as to the maximum number of students that may be in their child's classroom in kindergarten through eighth grade. Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, for the following regular education programs, the maximum individual class size for mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts classes shall be:

    (A) Kindergarten program (without full-time aide)...................18

    (B) Kindergarten program (with full-time aide)......................20

    (C) Primary grades program (1-3)....................................21

    (D) Upper elementary grades program (4-5)...........................28

    • (E) Middle school program (6-8) =lf 28

      For school years 2010-2011, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014, and 2014-2015 only, the system average maximum class size for each instructional program covered under this paragraph shall be the same as the maximum individual class size for each such program, and local boards of education shall be considered in compliance with this paragraph so long as the system average maximum class size is not exceeded; provided, however, that if the State Board of Education approves a blanket waiver or variance pursuant to subsection (h) of Code Section 20-2-244, such maximum individual class sizes shall be the system average maximum class sizes for purposes of this paragraph.

      • (2) The State Board of Education shall adopt for each instructional program authorized pursuant to Part 3 of this article except those programs included in paragraph (1) of this subsection the maximum number of students which may be taught by a teacher in an instructional period. For the remedial education, career, technical, and agricultural education laboratory, alternative education, and early intervention programs, the State Board of Education shall provide for a system average maximum class size that shall not exceed the funding class size by more than 20 percent, unless specifically authorized by the State Board of Education; provided, however, that the system average maximum class size for special education, gifted, and English for speakers of other languages classes shall be set by the State Board of Education. For each instructional program covered under this paragraph, the maximum number of students who may be taught by a teacher in an instructional period shall not exceed the system average maximum class size for the program by more than two students; provided, however, that a system average maximum class size which results in a fractional full-time equivalent shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to general education programs in mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts for grades 9 through 12. Beginning with the 2007-2008 school year, each local board of education shall be allowed to exceed maximum class sizes set by the state board pursuant to this paragraph for general education programs in mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts for grades 9 through 12 and may establish such maximum class sizes that shall not exceed the funding class size by more than 39 percent and shall annually report to the state board and to each school council in its school system such class sizes established.
      • (3) The maximum individual class size for the kindergarten and primary grades programs is defined as the number of students in a physical classroom. The maximum individual class size for all other purposes shall be defined as the maximum number of students that may be taught by a teacher in a class segment. Maximum class sizes for the programs covered in paragraph (2) of this subsection that result in a fractional full-time equivalent shall be rounded up to the nearest whole number as needed.
      • (4) The number of students taught by a teacher at any time after the first 15 school days of a school year may not exceed the maximum such number unless authorization for a specific larger number is requested of the state board after the first FTE count of a school year as required in subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-160. The state board may approve said request only in the limited circumstance where educationally justified and where an act of God or other unforeseen event led to the precipitous rise in enrollment within that school system or led to another occurrence which resulted in the local board's inability to comply with this subsection. The state board shall not reduce class sizes without the authorization of the General Assembly if this reduction necessitates added costs for facilities, personnel, and other program needs. Local boards of education may reduce class sizes, build additional facilities, and provide other resources at local cost if such actions are in the best interest of the local school systems' programs as determined by the local boards of education.
  • (j) In its report of the initial full-time equivalent program count required by subsection (a) of Code Section 20-2-160, each local school system shall report to the Department of Education the number of students in each class in each school as of the date of the initial enrollment count; for schools where students change classes during the school day, the local school system shall report the number of students in each class period. Each local school system shall also report to the Department of Education by March 15 of each school year the number of students in each class in each school as of the first Monday in March; for schools where students change classes during the school day, the local school system shall report the number of students in each class period.
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