Lawmaker wants to ‘give control’ of Board of Regents to voters

By Aaron Gould Sheinin
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016  Georgia Politics and Government

Railing against the Board of Regents’ consistent tuition increases, a state lawmaker on Wednesday said he wants to give voters a chance to weigh in.

Rep. David Stover, R-Newnan, said he is preparing a proposed constitutional amendment that would make the 19-member board elected by the voters.

“We’re in the top five in the country” for tuition increases, Stover said from the floor of the House. “Thirty-one percent. We’re pricing the poorest of our students out of college. We’re driving HOPE scholarship to become insolvent. Thirty-one percent. We’re forcing our kids to leave college when they lose the HOPE scholarship.”

Currently, the Board of Regents are appointed by the governor. Five are appointed statewide and 14 are chosen from each of the state’s congressional districts. Lawmakers have little power over the board. While the General Assembly decides how much money the University System of Georgia is allocated each year, the board has the power to determine how that money is spent.

And that, Stover said, is the problem.

“We have no control in the General Assembly over the Board of Regents,” he said. “It’s time we give control over the Board of Regents to the people of Georgia.”

Stover said his plan would allow voters in each of the 14 congressional districts to elect a board member every four years, and the five members now appointed statewide would be elected statewide.

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