Children start school at a designated chronological age, but differ greatly in their intellectual development and experience base. The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is designed to serve students who are at risk of not reaching or maintaining academic grade level. The purpose of the Early Intervention Program is to provide additional instructional resources to help students who are performing below grade level obtain the necessary academic skills to reach grade level performance in the shortest possible time.
Senate Bill 59
Senate Bill 59, which passed during the previous legislative session on March 31st, signed into law on May 4th, and became effective July 1, 2021 includes the following language:
For Strategic Waivers School Systems (amends § O.C.G.A. 20-2-82(e))
“The state board shall not be authorized to waive or approve variances on any federal, state, and local rules, regulations, court orders, and statutes relating to civil rights; insurance; the protection of the physical health and safety of school students, employees, and visitors; conflicting interest transactions; the prevention of unlawful conduct; any laws relating to unlawful conduct in or near a public school; the early intervention program provided for in Code Section 20-2-153; any reporting requirements pursuant to Code Section 20-2-320 or Chapter 14 of this title; the requirements of Code Section 20-2-210; the requirements of Code Section 20-2-211.1; or the requirements in subsection (c) of Code Section 20-2-327."
For Charter Systems and Charter Schools (amends O.C.G.A. § 20-2-2065 (b))
“In determining whether to approve a charter petition or renew an existing charter, the local board and state board shall ensure that a charter school, or for charter systems, each school within the system, shall be:
(15) Subject to the provisions of Code Section 20-2-153 relating to the early intervention program."
Legislative Intent: GaDOE has confirmed that intent of this legislation was to ensure the appropriate students are identified as EIP and are receiving the services and resources they need to be successful in the classroom. This legislation ensures entrance and exit requirements cannot be waived and will ensure parents are notified if their child qualifies for EIP. Also, this change puts Georgia's valuable EIP program in line with other non-waivable requirements like civil rights and the health and safety of students.
Per state law: Effective July 1, 2021, the EIP program requirements, such as class size and certification waivers, are no longer waivable for Strategic Waivers School Systems, Charter Systems, and Charter Schools.
The Early Intervention Program (EIP) program, as outlined in Title 20 and State Board rule, and related funding has not been eliminated.
The following EIP instructional models that are laid out in state law and in SBOE rule are still available and will still be funded for FY22:
- Class augmentation
- Reading Recovery
- An approved Innovative Model, which must offer: a) an appropriate and effective program for accelerating student learning; b) services through a state-certified teacher; c) the use of EIP funds that provide supplemental instruction above and beyond those services provided by the state; d) compliance with the maximum class size rule; e) parental notification; f) EIP student identification based on GaDOE's rubrics or other measures identified in GaDOE's guidance; g) and any other provisions in Code Section 20-2-153.
Instructional models that are no longer in compliance with SB 59 can be funded using CARES I, CARES II, and ARP ESSER (including learning loss) funds. CARES/ARP funding do not have “supplement versus supplant" requirements and programs/initiatives funded by CARES/ARP funding are not restricted by class size waivers or other flexibilities afforded by your performance contracts.
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