Savannah-Chatham school board votes on 2023 policy priorities

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 5:15 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education has several issues they want addressed by state lawmakers in next year’s legislative session.

The board voted to adopt those legislative priorities during its monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Board members say they want legislators to look at early childhood education funding, more ways to support students, and investing more in teachers and transportation.

Board member David Bringman says funding historically hasn’t been there from the state for their youngest learners in Pre-K and their teachers.

He says over the years, their school system has used more than $1 million in local revenue instead of state funds to pay Pre-K teachers.

“If the state were to fully fund Pre-K for all students, we would have those students earlier, to work on math and reading earlier,” Bringham said.

Another issue they feel needs to addressed is the age when students are required to start school. In Georgia, kids aren’t required to start school until they’re in first grade at 6 years old. That’s something they want to change by requiring kids to start getting their education in Pre-K and Kindergarten.

Elected State Senator Derek Mallow representing our area agrees.

“We know that the sooner children are educated and prepared for kindergarten, we can make sure they have a much brighter future ahead of them. You may already know kindergarten isn’t even required in the state of Georgia and we’ve got to focus on education and what we can do related to do increasing outcomes,” State Senator-Elect Mallow said.

The board also wants lawmakers to change to the minimum age requirement for students to attendance school 16 to 17.

“Being able to hold students and keep them in our system to learn either pathways to become college, career or military ready is definitely a massive initiative and those students in our school system is the only way that we’re going to make those gains,” Bringman said.

There are several more issues the board wants addressed like more funding to retain and recruit teachers. Those topics will be discussed at their Board’s Legislative Breakfast this coming Monday, Dec. 12.