Teachers in some Georgia schools could have their student loan debt forgiven if lawmakers pass a bill introduced Monday in the state House of Representatives.
House Bill 736 would give such relief to teachers working in the state’s turnaround schools, Georgia's designation of the worst-performing schools. There are 105 “turnaround-eligible” schools on the 2019 list, released in December. Twenty-eight of those schools are in metro Atlanta.
The legislation would apply to teachers who received a bachelor’s degree from a Georgia college or university and took out a loan for their education at that school or another in the state. The bill proposes the debt relief would be for costs not covered by the HOPE Scholarship. It would not cover student books, fees or living expenses.
The funds would be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Education leaders have struggled to get and keep teachers in low-performing schools. The bill would apply to teachers who teach math, science, special education and other “high-demand” subject areas.
The bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group of six lawmakers, led by Dave Belton, a Republican from Morgan County and chairman of the House’s Special Rules committee.
Twelve schools in the Atlanta system are on the turnaround-eligible list. Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen posted a message on social media Monday in support of the bill.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.