Across Georgia

State school officials delay vote on board


ATLANTA --- The Georgia Board of Education delayed its vote on whether to remove members of the troubled Atlanta school board and recommended keeping the Coffee County school board in place during a meeting Tuesday.

The state board unanimously approved a consent order agreed to by the state Department of Education and Atlanta's school board that gives the local board more time to deal with the fallout from a state probe that revealed widespread cheating in nearly half of the district's 100 schools. The board will hold a new hearing for Atlanta before Nov. 4.

$2.5 million paid to system's lobbyists

ATLANTA --- The University System of Georgia and its 35 colleges had about 20 lobbyists at the state Capitol during the legislative session this year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The newspaper said the system's lobbyists were paid about $2.5 million last year.

University system officials say none of the meals or gifts they provide lawmakers come out of the taxpayer's pockets. The schools have fundraising foundations, which pay for what lobbyists spend on gifts.

More foreign travelers are visiting Georgia

ATLANTA --- The number of travelers from around the globe who are visiting Georgia is increasing, according to a report.

It's an encouraging sign because tourism is a key industry for the state, employing more than 233,000, officials say.

In 2010, the number of international travelers to Georgia increased 19 percent while foreign visitors coming to Atlanta grew by 25 percent, according to figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries.