By Ben Smith
A bill to cut bonuses provided to public school teachers under a national certification program cleared the Georgia House Thursday.
In a 92 to 79 vote, the chamber passed a revised version of the legislation.
House Bill 243 seeks eliminate the 10 percent salary increases for teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
The revised bill would allow teachers who already receive the bonuses to keep them, but no new certificate recipients would get them.
The original bill, filed on behalf of Gov. Perdue would have eliminated them entirely. State House Education committee chairman Brooks Coleman (R-Duluth) said the amendment seeks to “honor our commitment” to teachers already receiving bonuses.
Supporters say the bill would save the state $12 million a year. Opponents said the bill punishes teachers and raises questions about the state of Georgia’s commitment to public education.
Some Democrats warned that the bill could easily be changed backed to its original form.
“I have never seen anything so short-sighted in my life,” said state House Minority Leader DuBose Porter (D-Dublin). “Do we believe in education and getting our teachers better trained or not?
“That’s what this vote is about,” Porter said.