June 2016

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 24, 2016

Achievement School District Bill Passes Committee

Legislation to require 5 of the lowest performing elementary schools to be transferred from their local school boards to for-profit charter management groups passed the Senate Education Committee this morning.  HB 1080- Achievement School District as passed by the committee eliminates the Principal Turnaround Model and the Project LIFT pilots but retains the problematic provisions that were contained in the House-passed version.

“We’re talking about a situation in the state that is so bad, where the results are so bad, how can you argue for doing the same thing?” Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake), who is leading the bill in the Senate, said to the committee.  Sen. Angela Bryant (D-Halifax) pointed out that schools could be forced into an ASD without any buy-in or support from the local community and that this would make it difficult for an ASD concept to work.

HB 1080 could come up on the Senate floor as early as Monday afternoon.  NCSBA continues to have both mechanical and conceptual concerns with HB 1080.  Please contact your Senator(s) in opposition throughout the weekend.  Click here to find your Senator(s) and contact information.  Click here for the NCSBA issue brief on this.  See below for short talking points.

Talking Points on HB 1080

  • 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 ASD framework has not shown to be successful in other states that have experimented with similar measures, including Tennessee and Michigan.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Tax Cap Const. Amdt.

A constitutional amendment to drop NC’s constitutional income tax rate cap from 10% down to 5.5% passed out of a Senate committee today.  The Senate Rules Committee passed the amendment as part of a larger package of proposed constitutional amendments in HB 3.  The amendments could hit the Senate floor on Monday.  A reduction of the tax cap in this way could be of concern to local school districts for a few reasons:

  • If the State is hamstrung in its ability to raise revenue to keep up with growing student populations at the K-12 level, the burden would likely be further shifted to the local level, creating greater challenges for local communities.
  • It will be more difficult for future lawmakers to effectively respond to unexpected fiscal/economic circumstances.
  • It will also be more difficult for future lawmakers to address teacher salaries and other items needed to keep NC’s public education system competitive regionally.
  • Since there are certain sectors of the budget that grow automatically by statute or federal law (Medicaid, corrections, etc.), lawmakers will be more inclined to respond to a slow-down in revenue by cutting things such as education spending.
  • If lawmakers find themselves needing to raise more revenue, they could potentially turn to the sales tax, which is a more volatile revenue source.

If you wish to voice concerns about the tax cap provision of HB 3 please communicate with your Senator(s) immediately.  Click here to find your Senator(s) and contact information.


Immigration Bill Ties School Capital Funds to Immigration Enforcement

A bill to establish penalties for local governments that fail to follow immigration laws was unveiled in a Senate Committee this week (HB 100) and passed two committees.  The bill would cut off distributions from the Public School Building Capital Fund for a county if either the county government or the county law enforcement agency is found by the State to not be complying with immigration laws or E-Verify.

Since school capital dollars end up with the local school system, this type of enforcement mechanism ultimately punishes school children and the local school district for the actions of a county government or local law enforcement agency.  One entity should not be punished for the actions/inactions of an entirely separate entity.  HB 100 could come up on the Senate floor as soon as Monday.

Let Senator(s) know that withholding school capital funding for the local school system is not the right way to punish counties and law enforcement agencies for failing to follow immigration laws.  Ask them to find another pot of money to use for an enforcement mechanism.  Click here to find your Senator(s) and contact information.

High School Math Standards

The House did not concur with the Senate’s proposal to require school districts to offer two separate high school math tracks.  HB 657 will now go to conference.  The House has appointed its conferees but the Senate has not yet named theirs.  Click here to see the conferees announced so far.

Budget News

Lawmakers are closing in on a final budget deal for 2016-17.

House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) and Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) both stated this week that a budget agreement would likely be finalized by Monday at the latest, paving the way for final passage by the end of next week.  It appears that the two sides have reached a general agreement on teacher salaries but that differences still need to be resolved on raises for other employees.

“There will be pay raises. It’s just a matter of how much,” Speaker Moore said.

Click here to read more on the year-round provision and other major items in the Senate budget.

Click here for a summary of the House-passed budget.

Click here to see the line-item adjustments made by each budget, as prepared by DPI.

Bills

Action Bills: Click here for a list of NCSBA-tracked bills that had action this week.

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 – June 24, 2016
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Sch Leasing Bill Sparks Warnings from St Treasurer

JanetCowell

Construction industry executives are pushing for a law that would allow cash-strapped counties to redirect state money used for personnel to help pay for long-term leases on new buildings.  The state treasurer’s office warns the proposal would benefit a developer while putting at least one county at financial risk.  Click here for full story.

Bruce MildwurfSch Leasing Bill Sparks Warnings from St Treasurer
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 17, 2016

High School Math Standards

The Senate approved a measure this week directing school districts to offer two separate high school math tracks beginning in the 2018-19 school year.  HB 657- Math Standard Course of Study Revisions establishes that students/parents in traditional public schools must have two options for high school/grade 8 math course sequencing: the current Integrated Math I/II/III track OR the Algebra I/Geometry/Algebra II track that was used prior to 2012.

Debate on the Senate floor became testy at times.  Supporters argued that parents uncomfortable with the Integrated Math curriculum need to have options. “At the very essence of this bill is giving parents and students a choice over not what they learn, but how they learn it, and that is something we should strive for,” said Senator Chad Barefoot (R-Wake).  Opponents noted how difficult it would be for school districts to implement two different high school math tracks, particularly for small districts with just a few math teachers.

Several amendments were approved during the floor debate.  One amendment from Sen. Don Davis (D-Greene) requires local school boards to notify parents of the two high school math track options.  Sen. Jim Davis (R-Macon) successfully passed an amendment clarifying that the requirements do not apply to Cooperative Innovative High Schools.  Another amendment from Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram (D-Northampton) establishes that local boards are to be provided with recommended student-teacher ratios for each of the tracks.  The vote for final approval was 33-13.  HB 657 now goes to the House for a concurrence vote.  If you believe this bill is going to cause staffing or other issues in your LEA, please communicate with your House members.  Please share with us any examples of staffing or other issues you are using to demonstrate how this bill could be detrimental.  Click here to find House member contact information.

Tax Cap

SB 817, a measure to drop NC’s constitutional income tax rate cap from 10% down to 5.5% (the current rate), passed the Senate Finance Committee this week.  It is now on the calendar for June 25

SB 817, that would SB 817 is on the Senate’s calendar for June 25.  While the amendment does not address annual spending levels by State government, a reduction of the tax rate cap in this manner could potentially be problematic for K-12 public education in future years.  This bill could be of concern to local school districts for a few reasons:

 

  • If the State is hamstrung in its ability to raise revenue to keep up with growing student populations at the K-12 level, the burden would likely be further shifted to the local level, creating greater challenges for local communities.
  • It will be more difficult for future lawmakers to effectively respond to unexpected fiscal/economic circumstances.
  • It will also be more difficult for future lawmakers to address teacher salaries and other items needed to keep NC’s public education system competitive regionally.
  • Since there are certain sectors of the budget that grow automatically by statute or federal law (Medicaid, corrections, etc.), lawmakers will be more inclined to respond to a slow-down in revenue by cutting things such as education spending.
  • If lawmakers find themselves needing to raise more revenue, they could potentially turn to the sales tax, which is a more volatile revenue source.

If you wish to voice concerns about SB 817, please be in communication with your Senators.  Click here to find Senate members.
Budget News

House and Senate leaders are continuing their negotiations on a final budget deal.  It is expected that a final budget will be enacted before the start of the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Those of you who have year-round schools and are concerned about the definition established in the Senate budget that eliminates the single-track year-round option need to continue to communicate your concerns.  Direct your concerns to the Chairs of the House and Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittees, as they will likely be the lawmakers who make a final decision on whether to keep that provision.  You can find their contact info here.

Click here to read more on the year-round provision and other major items in the Senate budget.

Click here for a summary of the House-passed budget.

Click here to see the line-item adjustments made by each budget, as prepared by DPI.


Charter/LEA Funding Relationship

HB 539 remains in the House K-12 Education Committee.  The committee has three choices on the bill: do nothing, make a recommendation to not concur, or make a recommendation to concur.  Please continue to stay in communication with your House member(s) in opposition to HB 539.  Click here for member contact information.

Resources & Points to Remember

Below are materials and informational items to circulate in your communities.

*A one-page sheet with talking points on HB 539 can be found here.

*A short video on this issue can be found here.  Make sure to continue sharing this video on social media and encourage others to do so.

*A longer Myth/Fact sheet on the issue can be found here.

*Legislators and others need to understand the pots of monies that school districts would have to transfer if HB 539 becomes law (reimbursements, gifts, federal grants, etc.).  A review of the types of monies at risk can be found here.  

*Charter schools can already seek out many of the monies at issue in HB 539 without having to take them from school districts.  For example, school districts would have to transfer E-rate reimbursements under HB 539 but charters already have the ability to seek out E-Rate reimbursements if they so choose.

*There are policies and laws that limit how federal grants and reimbursements are used and which students may be served.  Charters continue to claim that despite these policies and laws, they should be entitled to a share of federal grants and reimbursements that a school district receives.

*Charters continue to claim that charter students receive only 75 cents for every dollar provided to LEAs.  This is a flawed calculation based on factors unrelated to per-pupil funding and reflects an apples-to-oranges comparison of district and charter funding.


Achievement School District

HB 1080- Achievement School District, has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.  Please continue to be in contact with Senator(s) in opposition to this bill.

Click here for the NCSBA issue brief on this.

Bills

Action Bills: Click here for a list of NCSBA-tracked bills that had action this week.

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 – June 17, 2016
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 10, 2016

HB 539/Charter Fund Sharing Hearing

The House K-12 Education Committee this week discussed but took no action on HB 539, legislation to require LEAs to transfer additional moneys to charter schools.  Lawmakers shared their thoughts on the bill and then took public comment.  The public comment period involved remarks from 13 individuals, including Guilford County school board member Linda Welborn.

HB 539’s future is unclear at this point.  The committee has three choices: do nothing, make a recommendation to not concur, or make a recommendation to concur.  Please continue to stay in communication with your House member(s) in opposition to HB 539.  Click here for member contact information.

Resources & Points to Remember

Below are materials and informational items to circulate in your communities.

*A one-page sheet with talking points on HB 539 can be found here.

*A short video on this issue can be found here.  Make sure to continue sharing this video on social media and encourage others to do so.

*A longer Myth/Fact sheet on the issue can be found here.

*Legislators and others need to understand the pots of monies that school districts would have to transfer if HB 539 becomes law (reimbursements, gifts, federal grants, etc.).  A review of the types of monies at risk can be found here.  

*Charter schools can already seek out many of the monies at issue in HB 539 without having to take them from school districts.  For example, school districts would have to transfer E-rate reimbursements under HB 539 but charters already have the ability to seek out E-Rate reimbursements if they so choose.

*There are policies and laws that limit how federal grants and reimbursements are used and which students may be served.  Charters continue to claim that despite these policies and laws, they should be entitled to a share of federal grants and reimbursements that a school district receives.

*Charters continue to claim that charter students receive only 75 cents for every dollar provided to LEAs.  This is a flawed calculation based on factors unrelated to per-pupil funding and reflects an apples-to-oranges comparison of district and charter funding.


Budget News

As expected, the House did not concur with the Senate budget this week.  Leaders of both chambers are negotiating a final budget deal.  Now is the time to voice any concerns you have about particular provisions in either or both budgets.  In particular, those of you who have year-round schools and are concerned about the definition established in the Senate’s budget need to be communicating your concerns.  Click here to read more on the year-round provision and other major items in the Senate budget.  Click here for a summary of the House-passed budget.

Click here to see the line-item adjustments made by each budget, as prepared by DPI.


High School Math Standards

A bill requiring school districts to offer two separate high school Math tracks passed a Senate Committee this week and has been placed on the Senate’s calendar for Monday, June 13HB 657, which passed the Senate Education Committee, would mandate that all school districts offer BOTH the current Math I, II, III AND the old Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II high school course sequences. Students/parents would be able to choose which high school Math track they want.  This has the potential to cause significant issues for small high schools and small school districts.  If you believe this bill is going to cause staffing or other issues in your district please communicate with your Senator(s) over the weekend.  Also please share with us any examples of staffing or other issues you are using to demonstrate how this bill could be detrimental.  Click here to find Senator contact information.


Achievement School District

HB 1080- Achievement School District, has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.  Please continue to be in contact with Senator(s) in opposition to this bill.

Click here for the NCSBA issue brief on this.

Bills

Action Bills: Click here for a list of NCSBA-tracked bills that had action this week.


Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, June 13

7:00 PM
The House and Senate will convene for session.  The Senate will consider HB 657- Math Standard Course of Study Revisions and HB 242 to make various changes to charter school laws.

Tuesday, June 14

1:00 PM
The Senate Finance Committee will meet and consider the following pertinent bills:
SB888- Buncombe School Capital Fund Commission

Wednesday, June 15


Thursday, June 16


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 – June 10, 2016
read more