January 2016 Monthly Legislative Report

Select Committee on Achievement School Districts

A special House committee formed to examine Achievement School District (ASD) legislation held its inaugural meeting on January 27.  A bill from Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) under discussion in the House proposes to move up to five of the state’s lowest performing schools out from under their local boards of education and place them under a separate ASD run by a Superintendent hired by the State Board of Education.  The ASD would contract with charter management organizations (EMOs) to run the ASD schools.  The bill went through over 40 drafts behind the scenes last session but never received a public hearing or action in the General Assembly.  Twelve House members have been appointed to this select committee that will analyze the concept of ASD and make recommendations for the short session.

At the January 27 meeting, the Committee discussed the following pertinent topics:

Current State Turnaround Efforts

A DPI official told the committee about a program the State already has in place to help struggling schools.  Dr. Nancy Barbour, Director of DPI’s Division of District and School Transformation, outlined the initiatives her division provided to the bottom 5% of schools from 2010-14 using Race to the Top funds.  Through targeted efforts around technology, professional development, coaching, and other school improvement initiatives, Dr. Barbour told the committee that 83% of these schools moved out of the bottom 5% and 67% moved out of the bottom 10%.  While acknowledging successes in the State’s current efforts, some committee members expressed concern that the pace of turnaround is still too slow in many areas of the state.

Plans for Upcoming Meetings

It is anticipated that the February meeting will feature experts on ASD programs in other states and also allow time for public comment.  NCSBA has significant concerns about this approach based upon the lack of evidence of success in other states.  This along with eight pages of concerns and questions about the particulars of the bill have been shared with Rep. Bryan.  The committee is expected to vote on ASD recommendations/legislative proposals in March.


House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices

The House Select Committee on Education Strategy and Practices held meetings on January 27 and 28.

On January 27, the Committee received presentations on and discussed the following pertinent topics:

Teacher Pay Suggestions and Perspectives

Dr. June Atkinson, NC Superintendent of Public Instruction

Materials: hereherehere, and here.

Watch the Presentation here

Dr. Trip Stallings, Director of Policy Research, The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University

Materials: herehere, and here

Watch the Presentation here

Dr. Terry Stoops, Director of Education Studies, John Locke Foundation

Materials: here

Watch the Presentation here

Brenda Berg, President and CEO, BEST NC

Materials: here

Watch the Presentation here

Presentation Highlights

Dr. Atkinson suggested that lawmakers institute a 10% across-the-board salary increase for classroom teachers, estimated to cost approximately $540 million.  This suggestion was publicly rebuked by Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland), who called it unrealistic.  You can read more about Speaker Moore’s response to Dr. Atkinson here.

Dr. Atkinson also suggested that an effective pay system would “layer” additional compensation models on top of base salary to improve retention of effective teachers and target personnel in low-performing schools.  The approach she suggested would be to provide supplemental pay for teachers who assume additional responsibilities and duties, then add pay incentives for staffing at low-performing schools, and finally provide bonuses for teachers in schools that exceed growth.

Dr. Stallings told the committee that there is no research-based evidence that pay-for-performance programs alone impact student outcomes or teacher behavior.  Lawmakers should focus on funding multiple differentiated pay pilots involving strategic staffing initiatives.

Dr. Stoops reviewed the five most important considerations for raising teacher quality.

Ms. Berg discussed the changing nature of the state’s workforce and made recommendations from BEST NC’s perspective on addressing teacher recruitment and retention challenges.

On January 28, the Committee received presentations on and discussed the following pertinent topics:

School Administrator Salaries


Alexis Schauss, Director of of School Business Administration, DPI

Materials: hereherehere
Watch the Presentation here

Presentation Highlights

Ms. Schauss discussed how Principals and Assistant Principals are compensated in North Carolina, some of the major changes that have occurred in administrator compensation over the past few decades, and significant challenges of the current pay structure.

Superintendent Perspectives

A group of local superintendents were invited to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns with the committee.  Most of their comments focused on the importance of teacher pay.  The superintendents who spoke were:

Greg Little, Mt. Airy

Sean Bulson, Wilson

Dr. Beverly Emory, Winston-Salem/Forsyth

Dr. John Parker, Roanoke Rapids

Mark Garrett, McDowell

Dr. Frank Till, Cumberland

Dr. Barry Williams, Gates

Jeff Booker, Gaston
To watch a video of the superintendent remarks click here.

Charter Schools Advisory Board

The NC Charter Schools Advisory Board met on January 11 and 12.  The Board took the following notable actions.

2017-18 Charter School Applications

The Board interviewed five (5) applicant groups seeking to open a charter school in 2017-18.  Three (3) of the interviewed applicants were recommended to the State Board of Education and one (1) was not recommended.  The Board deadlocked on whether to recommend the fifth applicant, Next Generation Academy (Guilford County) to the State Board.  Board members disagreed over whether the “need” for the school in its proposed Greensboro location outweighed an unclear educational plan/mission statement.  When it came time to vote on recommending Next Generation, the Board split 5-5.  The State Board will be notified of this tie vote when it takes up the 2017-18 recommended applicants.

Of 28 charter applicants for 2017-18, six (6) have been recommended for approval and 17 are still awaiting interviews.

For a complete status update on 2017-18 charter applicants click here.

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

Katapult MarketingJanuary 2016 Monthly Legislative Report