Legislators working with educators on school nutrition and jobs

While Sims says there's another tough budget year ahead, she adds state legislators are prepared to help make things in the classroom easier

While legislators and educators ate their dinners, they discussed school lunches.

"We notice that in some of our elementary schools and our middle schools we have drink machines, soda machines. We'd like for our students to eat the nutritious meals that are prepared for them," says Georgia Association of Educators President Calvine Rollins.

School nutrition is only one key issue the Georgia Association of Educators is discussing. They're also focusing on teacher jobs.

GAE officials say when teacher contracts are not renewed, there is no way of showing the teacher has positive evaluations and was not renewed strictly because of budget issues.

"We definitely want to make sure that individuals get moved from county to county, from system to system without the scarlet letter saying they've been non-renewed," says GAE Director of Government Relations.

Senator Freddie Powell-Sims says Dougherty County schools experienced no firings or layoffs, but furlough days have lowered moral.

"We need to look at things to help promote teachers in the classroom to help them in their profession and at the same time to build up their confidence," says State Representative Gerald Greene (R-Cuthbert).

Another item GAE officials are working on: After teachers are falsely accused of an action and then exonerated, they say they want teachers to be able to at least know they can get that job back.

While Sims says there's another tough budget year ahead, GAE officials say they believe they can make it a good year.

"This particular area has a very strong delegation, a lot of pro-public education senators and representatives and we look forward to working with them and every other senators and representative across the state," says Downs.

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