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Georgia Legislature

Lawmakers Propose Having Board of Education Sign Off on Developments That “Choke Out” School Systems

Three lawmakers are drafting legislation to require the local board of education to sign off on developments that “choke out” school systems.  

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Developers would need to seek approval of the Board of Education before constructing subdivisions with more than 200 homes or units under the bill currently in the works. The process would double the number of hurdles to be cleared before construction could begin. Under current provisions, developments must only be approved by the city council or board of commissioners, depending on the location.

State Representative Martin Momtahan, who represents a portion of Paulding County, posted the announcement on social media Tuesday afternoon. Momtahan addressed the post to ‘Paulding County Parents’ with an apparent declaration of ‘relief’ for the concerns which have been vocalized to him and other members of the delegation. He said Reps. Joseph Gullett and Micah Gravley, who is not seeking reelection, also support the initiative.

Momtahan did not elaborate on the arbitrary number ‘200,’ but said the legislation would give the Board of Education ‘binding approval of these large developments which have big regional impacts on our school system.’ Also absent from Momtahan’s proposal was any mention of exemptions for age-specific housing, like senior developments.

“We can ensure that these developments don’t negatively impact our children’s educational outcomes,” Momtahan said. “If you think that aggressive developments that are choking out our schools and education outcomes are a problem in our communities, please show up to our town halls.”

The legislation is a local initiative that, for now, would only apply to Paulding County. But with the seemingly endless complaints about the number of subdivisions approved as school system infrastructure lags behind, the idea may gain momentum.

The premise, however, relies on the assumption that Boards of Education, which rely on the county tax digest for operations, will decline an expansion of that tax digest.

Text of the legislation was not available as of Wednesday morning.

Jessica Szilagyi
Written By

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of The Georgia Virtue. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta, a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast,' and she has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers." Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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