2016

NCSBA Monthly Legislative Report – November 2016

Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based Administrator Pay

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based Administrator Pay met on November 28.  The Committee heard from a number of experts and stakeholders.  Presenters included:

  • Steve Tozer, Prof in Educational Policy Studies; University of Illinois at Chicago. Click here for presentation materials.
  • Andy Baxter, Vice President, Educator Effectiveness; Southern Regional Education Board. Click here for presentation materials.
  • Brenda Berg, President and CEO; Best NC. Click here for presentation materials.
  • L. “Buddy” Collins, Vice Chair; North Carolina State Board of Education.
  • Shirley Prince, Executive Director; North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals Association. Click here for presentation materials.

The panel supported across the board increases in base pay for principals.  Committee co-chair, Senator Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) said the final plan would likely include an increase of at least 5% along with opportunities for bonuses.  Sen. Tillman indicated the pay package would be a provision in the 2017-18 State budget.  The committee is expected to meet next sometime in December to discuss final recommendations.

Capital Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission

The Blue Ribbon Commission to Study the Capital Infrastructure Needs of the State met on November 14 and reviewed a series of draft recommendations to submit to the 2017 General Assembly.  The most notable recommendation of the group is Recommendation #3 which reads “Expand training programs for local governments and require performance audits of school boards to ensure that local entities are utilizing existing assets and planning for future expansion in the most efficient manner.”  The wording of this recommendation in singling out local school boards for performance audits generated some concern from some commission members who noted that county commissioners are also involved in local school funding.  The recommendation will be reworded before coming back before the commission in December.  Click here to read the entire set of draft recommendations.

School Funding Formula Study

The General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division released a study of how K-12 public schools are funded at the State level.  The study found that the existing allotment formulas are inefficient and overly complex.  It recommends that lawmakers either transition to an entirely new system of funding public schools using a method called a weighted student formula OR take steps to fix problems with the current allotment formulas.

At its next meeting, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee is expected to discuss recommending legislation to create a study committee that would further examine the idea of replacing current allotment formulas with a per-student model.

Click here to read the entire study.

2016 Election Results

The 2016 election was held on November 8.  The General Assembly’s composition will largely remain the same in 2017.  There will be 74 Republicans in the House, the same number as 2015-16, with 46 Democrats.  In the Senate, Republicans picked up one seat and will have a 35-15 majority.  However, the numbers could change as soon as next year as a federal court has ruled that State lawmakers must revise legislative districts by March 15, 2017, and hold new elections for the General Assembly by the end of 2017.  This is a follow up to a ruling over the summer finding that several of the current legislative districts were unconstitutionally racially gerrymandered.  The ruling to redraw the districts and hold a special election next year has been appealed to the US Supreme Court.  Click here to read more about that story.

There were 19 school board members elected to the General Assembly- 14 in the House and 5 in the Senate.  Attached find a full list of the school board members elected to the General Assembly.

NCSBA Public Policy Conference

Register now for the fourth NCSBA Public Policy Conference, scheduled for January 12-13, 2017, at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst.  Attached is a draft agenda for the conference.

To Register click here.  You can make your hotel reservations at the Pinehurst Resort with a special discounted group rate one of two ways:

  1. Click here and use Group Code 60158.
  2. Call 844.738.5781 and ask for the NCSBA Public Policy Conference group rate.

    *Note that the deadline for getting the discounted Group Rate at the hotel is December 12 at 5:00 PM.

 

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Monthly Legislative Report – November 2016
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Virtual Charter School Pilot Report Draws SBE Concern

The first comprehensive report on the performance of the state’s 2 virtual charter pilots was reviewed by the State Board of Education. Board members noted some alarming components of the report, including data on low performance and high withdrawal rates. Read more here.

Bruce MildwurfVirtual Charter School Pilot Report Draws SBE Concern
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NCSBA Monthly Legislative Report – October 2016

NCSBA Monthly Legislative Report

October 2016

 


Education Strategy and Practices

The House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices met on October 18.  The following pertinent presentations were given at this meeting.

An experimental new method of learning that is starting to pop up around the country is called Competency Based Learning.  Dr. Michelle Soler, Director of Competency Based Education and Assessment at UNC, discussed the concept of competency-based learning and how it differs from other learning models.  Dr. Soler touted it as a good thing that NC lawmakers should consider adopting, but did not give any specifics on how to implement it across the state in a workable manner.  In addition to this presentation before NC lawmakers, we are starting to see an increasing number of presentations on competency-based learning in front of other groups such as BEST NC and the Foundation for Excellence in Education.  NCSBA will have a presentation on this topic at the upcoming Public Policy Conference in January.  Click here to register for the conference.
Presentation Materials:  Click here


EVAAS
and how NC uses analytics in education was discussed by Emily Baranello, Vice President, Education Practice at SAS and Jennifer Bell, Senior Education Specialist, State and Local Government, SAS.
Presentation Materials:  Click here and here

A presentation on how High School start times impact student achievement was given by Dr. Kevin Bastian, Director, Teacher Quality Research Initiative, Education Policy Initiative at Carolina and Dr. Sarah Fuller, Research Assistant Professor, Education Policy Initiative at Carolina.  The following research findings were discussed:

  • Little evidence of later start times impacting EOC scores.
  • Some evidence that later start times, particularly after 8:30am and for economically-disadvantaged students, predict higher ACT scores.
  • Robust evidence that later start times predict absence, suspension, and course grades results for economically-disadvantaged students.

The presenters also talked about several questions/concerns to think about for districts that might want to look into later High School start times.  Those questions/concerns included how later High School start times might impact elementary and middle schools in the district and getting adequate buy-in from local stakeholders.
Presentation Materials:  Click here

Dr. Kathryn Marker, Associate Director for K-12 Programs, State Education Assistance Authority, talked about the special education school voucher program.
Presentation Materials:  Click here

A presentation on assessing students with disabilities was given by DPI staff.

A background and history of the 12.5% per district cap on supplemental funding for students with disabilities was given.  The presentation also discussed the fiscal implications of possibly eliminating the cap.
Presentation Materials:  Click here

 


Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based Administrator Pay

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based Administrator Pay met on October 24.  The Committee received presentations on the following pertinent topics:

A review of the current school-based administrator salary schedule and recent notable changes to the schedule was given by Alexis Schauss, Director of School Business, DPI.
Presentation Materials:  Click here and here

Timothy Hale, Fiscal Analyst, General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division discussed important considerations lawmakers should consider in thinking about reforming or restructuring the school-based administrator salary schedule.  The proposal reviewed by Mr. Hale would do away with set salary schedules for principals and distribute money for principal pay to school districts through block grants.
Presentation Materials:  Click here and here

There was also a panel and committee discussion involving the following participants:

  • Dr. Stephen Gainey, Superintendent Randolph County Schools;
  • Dr. Beverly Emery, Superintendent Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools;
  • Dr. Frank Till, Superintendent Cumberland County Schools;
  • Dr. Pascal Mubenga, Superintendent Franklin County Schools;
  • Katherine Joyce, Executive Director, NC Association of School Administrators;
  • Leanne Winner, Director of Governmental Relations, NC School Boards Association.

The panel discussed the block grant proposal and unanimously voiced concerns about the difficulties and inequities a block grant allocation for principal pay could cause.  NCASA and NCSBA representatives acknowledged problems with the current pay structure for school administrators but talked about the need to keep a base salary schedule for principal pay instead of moving to a block grant while reforming the schedule so it works better for school districts.  A redesigned schedule should be accompanied by a layer of some district-flexible incentives to address each LEA’s specific challenges in principal recruitment and retention.

Dr. Till noted the challenges scrapping the principal salary schedule might create for large school districts, where it could be difficult to negotiate salaries with all LEA principals.

Capital Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission

The General Assembly’s Blue Ribbon Commission to Study the Capital Infrastructure Needs of the State met on October 25.  The Committee discussed the following pertinent topics:

A review of the NC Capital Improvement Program was given by staff members from the Office of State Budget and Management.

Election Materials

The 2016 election will be held on November 8.  NCSBA has created two lists for you to help you in looking at election night returns.  Please find those lists in the first attached document.  The first list shows former/current school board members who are running for State House and Senate, including incumbent legislators.  The second list, below the first, is a review of key General Assembly races to watch based on analysis and research by outside groups that track legislative races.

Public Policy Conference

The fourth Public Policy Conference is slated for January 12-13, 2017 at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst.  Attached is a draft agenda for the conference.  We are still working on securing a couple more presentations.

To Register click here.  You can make your hotel reservations at the Pinehurst Resort with the special conference group rate one of two ways:

  1. Click here and enter Group Code 60158.
  2. Call 844.738.5781 and ask for the NCSBA Public Policy Conference group rate.

 

 

 

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Bryan Holloway
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Monthly Legislative Report – October 2016
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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2016

Adjournment

Lawmakers are wrapping up the 2016 session. They are finalizing legislative work and are expected to end the 2016 session today.

2016-17 Budget

A compromise budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was released to the public on Monday. The Senate has passed the budget. The House gave final approval today and will be sending the budget to the Governor.

The biggest provision in the budget for public schools is an average 4.7% salary increase for teachers. This is closer to the House proposal than the Senate’s (6.7%). In addition, the teacher salary schedule will restore annual step increases for teachers in years 0-14. Once a teacher reaches year 15, he/she will be locked into the same salary for the next 10 years. The provision will raise average teacher salaries to over $50,000 in 2016-17 and $55,000 over the next three years. School administrators will receive a step increase and a 1.5% increase to base salaries at each step. Noncertified school personnel will also receive a 1.5% salary increase. School administrators and noncertified personnel will also receive a one-time 0.5% bonus. Below are the notable items that were included and not included in the compromise budget.

NOT Included in the Compromise Budget:

The provision to restrict the definition of year-round schools was NOT included in the compromise budget. In its place is a requirement for all local boards of education to report to the legislature about the start and end times for their schools.

No funding was appropriated for the Early College High Schools that requested State funding for the 2016-17 school year.

Included in the Compromise Budget:

Opportunity Scholarship Voucher Program.  Doubles funding in 2016-17. Establishes a reserve fund to forward fund the program. Creates an automatic $10 million increase in appropriations each fiscal year after 2016-17 to be directed to the reserve fund over the next decade, topping out at $134.8 million in 2027-28.

Non-Teacher Merit Pay.  LEAs will be required to enact policies to award merit pay to non-educator employees. Non-educator employees would be school administrators, central office staff, and noncertified personnel other than teacher assistants. LEAs are to receive $17 million to distribute for the merit pay but it is unclear how the money is to be allocated.

Virtual Charter Pilots

  • Increases the percentage of teachers who can reside out of NC from 10% to 20%.
  • Retains 25% withdrawal rate cap.
  • Requires additional categories of students to not be included in the withdrawal rate calculation: any student enrolled less than 30 days; students who move out of state; students who withdraw for a family, personal or medical reason.

ADM Growth.  $46.8 million to fully fund ADM growth.

Performance Pay for Grade 3 Teachers.  $10 million is set aside for a pilot program where third grade teachers are given salary supplements for achieving high growth scores on student reading assessments.  Half of the total set-aside would go to the teachers in the top 25% of statewide grade 3 reading growth scores and the other half would go to each LEA’s top 25% of grade 3 reading growth achievers.

Advanced Teaching Roles/Elevating Educators Act.  Establishes a three-year pilot program where 10 LEAs would experiment with models of differentiated pay for teachers linked to advanced teaching roles (new or additional roles and responsibilities). Supplements could be up to 30% above what is set for the teacher on the State salary schedule. The appropriation for this pilot is $1 million.

A-F School Performance Grades.  The 15-point grading scale is extended for another three years (it is scheduled to end with this year’s set of grades).

Lab Schools.  Each UNC school of education will be required to establish a laboratory school. The purpose of the lab schools would be to “improve student performance in local school administrative units with low-performing schools by providing an enhanced education program for students residing in those units and to provide exposure and training for teachers and principals to successfully address challenges existing in high needs school settings.”  These lab schools will operate similar to and be funded like charter schools.

Click here for the text of the compromise budget. Click here for the money report.

Achievement School District Bill Passes

HB 1080- Achievement School District, passed the Senate after a few amendments from the floor. The House then concurred in those changes and the bill is now on its way to the Governor for his signature. One amendment to the bill tightened the criteria for selecting a charter management organization to take over a school in the Achievement School District. Another amendment allows Charlotte-Mecklenburg to create an Innovation Zone among its Project LIFT schools and also include five low-performing schools. A few Senators tried to run amendments to prohibit their LEAs from having any schools transferred to the ASD but those amendments all failed.

The Governor has 30 days to sign or veto the bill. Please contact the Governor’s office and ask that he veto HB 1080.

Talking Points on HB 1080

  • The ASD framework has not shown to be successful in other states that have experimented with similar measures, including Tennessee and Michigan.
  • HB 1080 creates more bureaucracy and big government, yet another example of big brother knows best. The assumption at the heart of HB 1080 is that the low-performing school problem lies almost primarily with local administrators and staff when actually many times the problems run much deeper.
  • Four actions were made permissible to North Carolina school districts for low-performing schools per the Race to The Top Grant provisions, of which one was to operate a low performing school like a charter. School districts have not implemented all of these available procedures.
  • HB 1080 requires local school districts to maintain school buildings despite the fact the State has taken control of the campuses. Also the State Board would be making the final decision in a number of situations where the local board and the charter operator disagree over the need for a renovation or repair. This would put Raleigh in the position of dictating how local officials prioritize capital needs, almost certainly leading to conflict.
  • The local school district will also continue to provide transportation for students to the school. Again, this is another responsibility the school district should not be required to maintain if the state assumes control of a school.
  • This framework could cause a school districts to deal with challenging staffing issues.
  • The criteria for putting a school into the ASD is based on a flawed grading system that only counts school growth as 20% of the grade.
  • The bill tries to entice districts to transfer schools to the ASD by allowing them to create “Innovation Zones,” areas where they can operate schools with charter-like flexibility. This provision is a red herring because school districts already have the authority to apply to the SBE to operate some schools with charter-like flexibility and some have already utilized this option.

School Board Lawsuit Moratorium Removed

A measure to prohibit school boards from taking legal actions against county commissioners was removed from HB 561 by a conference committee. In its place, the conference committee agreed to language establishing a study to look at the process for settling local funding disputes. The study is to be conducted by the legislature’s Program Evaluation Division. Among the issues to be studied as part of this review are: examining school board and county commissioner fund balances; how school boards and county commissioners have used fund balances; historical use of the funding dispute process; an analysis of alternative ways for local school boards to get local funds.

The results of this study are due no later than May 1, 2017. Click here to read the compromise bill, which is on its way to the Governor.

Other Notable Bills

HB 100, which would cut off school capital funds for counties found to be noncompliant with immigration laws, and HB 3, which includes a constitutional amendment to reduce the income tax cap to 5.5%, both passed the Senate this week and were sent to House Rules.

SB 867 is a bill to require criminal background checks for teachers and other school personnel. It has gone through several changes and the most recent version was approved by the Senate Finance Committee this morning. Many of the concerns voiced by LEAs have been addressed in this latest version, which you can find here.

SB330 is a bill filed by Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) to require all local boards of education to adopt a policy governing change orders to any construction and repair work contracts. The bill outlines criteria that must be addressed in the policy. SB 330 has been signed into law.

HB 657, legislation to create two separate High School Math course tracks, is still in conference as of this morning. Click here to see the conferees.

HB 1074. This bill would require all LEAs to test drinking water in schools older than 30 years for the presence of lead. This bill has passed the House and has been sent to the Senate Health Committee.

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Bryan Holloway
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2016
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