NCSBA Monthly Legislative Report – December 2016

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NCSBA Monthly Legislative Report – December 2016

NCSBA MONTHLY LEGISLATIVE REPORT
DECEMBER 2016

NCSBA PUBLIC POLICY CONFERENCE

Time is running out to register for the fourth NCSBA Public Policy Conference. The conference will be held next Thursday and Friday, January 12-13, 2017, at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst. Attached is the agenda.

To Register click here.

You can make your hotel reservations at the Pinehurst Resort one of two ways:

1. Click here
2. Call 844.738.5781

JT. LEGISLATIVE STUDY COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL-BASED ADMINISTRATOR PAY

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on School-Based Administrator Pay met on December 29 and approved recommendations to present to the General Assembly.

The recommendations are:

– Replace the current Principal salary schedule with dollar allotments (block grants) to LEAs for principal salaries (including a 3% pay raise) OR link principal pay to the Master’s teacher salary schedule plus a percentage to be determined.

– Provide bonuses to principals in low-wealth LEAs who achieve certain results across various categories. Principals in low-performing schools in the remaining school districts would also be eligible for the bonuses.

– Eliminate the Assistant Principal salary schedule and put assistant principals instead on the Master’s teacher salary schedule.

In addition, the draft report recommends that lawmakers institute a multi-year plan to significantly raise school administrator pay.

Click here to read the report and the findings and recommendations.

CAPITAL INFRASTRUCTURE BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION

The Blue Ribbon Commission to Study the Capital Infrastructure Needs of the State met on December 19 and approved a series of legislative recommendations. Some changes were made to the recommendations the Commission looked at last month. In that version of the report there was a recommendation that singled out local school boards for performance audits. This was met with some concern given that county commissioners are also involved in local school funding. The recommendation now says that all local governmental units, including school boards, should be required to have performance audits. In addition, there is also a recommendation that training programs for local governments, including school boards, should be expanded to ensure capital improvement projects involving new building construction or capital improvements take into consideration the project’s long and short impact on the unit’s annual budget.

Click here to read the final report.

SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULA STUDY

A draft bill was recommended to the legislature this month that would create a Task Force to further examine a new method of funding K-12 public schools. The bill was put forward by the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division. The Task Force created by this recommended bill would study a method of formula that allocates a base amount of funds per pupil and then adds additional money to that base according to certain student characteristics (special ed, etc.). The Task Force would study various weighted student models and develop one feasible for NC.

Click here to read the funding formula study upon which this legislative recommendation is based.

SPECIAL SESSIONS

The General Assembly convened three special sessions in December, each of which had notable activity for public schools. These sessions, combined with two special sessions held earlier in the year, made for five total special sessions in 2016.

Special Session 3

This session was called to pass a disaster relief bill for those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. Section 5.7 of this bill gave some calendar relief to those districts impacted. It provides that LEAs that had to close school for three or more consecutive days in October 2016 due to Hurricane Matthew only have to make up two of those days.

Special Session 4

K-3 Class Sizes

NCSBA looked at this special session as a good chance to try to get the K-3 class size issue addressed but also went in well aware that a fix was unlikely to pass. Though a long shot, the bill nonetheless ended up moving further than anticipated. Assuming it would not pass, NCSBA had a couple other goals in pushing this during the special session. The primary goal was to educate legislators and make them aware of the urgency of the issue. We are fearful about the following three things because the issue was not resolved during this special session.
• The issue might not get resolved at all, leaving districts to have to equalize average and funded K-3 class sizes starting next school year.
• There might not be a resolution on this issue until as late as June or July. This would push the uncertainty out into the period when districts are already developing and getting their budgets approved.
• With several budget constraints looming in the next session, the General Assembly could instead return to the funding allotment ratios of 1:18 for grades 1-3. This is not unprecedented in that they increased allotment ratios by 1 in 2013.
State Board of Ed and State Superintendent Powers

Lawmakers did pass HB 17, an omnibus bill to restrict gubernatorial powers in a number of areas. The bill also took several powers away from the State Board of Education (all but two of whom are gubernatorial appointees) and gave those powers to the new incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction, Mark Johnson. The move angered State Board Chairman Bill Cobey, who called the shift an attempt to “diminish the board’s constitutional authority.” The Board has chosen to file a lawsuit to challenge the legislation. A temporary restraining order (TRO) was subsequently issued to prevent enforcement of the provision of HB 17 transferring the Board’s powers. That TRO will be in place until the case can be heard by a three-judge panel on whether to grant a permanent injunction. The three judges making up the panel to hear this case are Judge Forrest Donald Bridges, Judge James F. Ammons Jr., and Judge Martin B. McGee.

Special Session 5

There was also a special session called for the purpose of repealing House Bill 2. Lawmakers adjourned without repealing the legislation, which means that under state law local school boards are still required to maintain single-gender bathrooms and changing facilities.

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