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State chief justice calls for pay raises

ATLANTA --- Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears on Wednesday urged lawmakers to hand the state's judges a raise.

Justice Sears said in her State of the Judiciary address that except for cost of living increases, jurists haven't had a pay hike since 1999.

A bill is pending in the House that would boost salaries of Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Superior Court judges by 22 to 28 percent. The State Bar of Georgia recommended a 20 percent across-the-board increase in judicial compensation.

Superior Court judges currently make $99,862, according to the bill. Court of Appeals judges earn $138,556 and Supreme Court justices $139,418.

Measure lets schools decide on spending

ATLANTA --- Local school systems may get more room to decide how they will spend their state funding under a proposal.

House Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman filed a bill Wednesday that would enact recommendations made by Gov. Sonny Perdue's task force on education finance a month ago.

The proposed legislation would allow school systems to enter into "performance contracts" with the state. Under the contracts, the districts would agree to meet more rigorous academic standards in exchange for freedom from mandates, such as strict class-size rules, and flexibility to spend state dollars where they choose.

-- Edited from wire reports

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