May 2017

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 26, 2017

NCSBA Legislative Update
MAY 26, 2017

 



HOUSE BUDGET STARTS MOVING

Spending subcommittees in the House met yesterday to set non-salary funding and policy provisions for their respective portions of the budget.  Once lawmakers return from Memorial Day weekend, the House Appropriations Committee will take up salaries/benefits packages and make further amendments to the budget.  House leaders plan to have their budget wrapped up by the end of next week.

The House education budget already appears to be very different from the Senate’s.  Aside from salaries/benefits, which will be taken up next week, the notable components of the K-12 public education budget approved by the education appropriations subcommittee are below, along with a comparison of whether the provision is included in the Senate’s budget.

House Budget Provision Included in Senate Budget???
NO FUNDING for specialty teachers in 18-19.  HB 13 contained intent language. Same- NO FUNDING for specialty teachers in 18-19.  HB 13 contained intent language.
Creates a school calendar flexibility pilot for 20 LEAs to start as early as August 10.  Same language as HB 389. No
15-point scale for the A-F grades is made permanent. No
Changes the definition of low-performing school so a school that meets growth is not given that designation.  Same language as HB 826. No
Creates 2 separate A-F grades: one grade for school achievement and one grade for school growth.  Similar language to HB 458. No
Exempts dual immersion classes from the lowered K-3 class sizes. No
Aligns the accountability system with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Yes
Requires LEA employees to have 2 hours of training on Youth Suicide Awareness.  Same language as HB 285. No
Cuts the Central Office Allotment

5.3% ($5 million) in 17-18 and 10.5% ($10 million) in 18-19

Yes but higher cuts

10.5% ($10 million) in 17-18 and 15% ($15 million) in 18-19

Fully funds ADM in both years. Yes (with a reserve for 18-19)
Directs each LEA to report to the General Assembly on whether or not it needs to build additional classrooms to meet the new K-3 class size mandates. No
Establishes 1 test to be administered to Opportunity Scholarship voucher students for comparability purposes. No
Builds automatic $10 million per year increases in Opportunity Scholarship school vouchers into the base budget. Yes
Renames the Achievement School District the Innovative School District. No
Provides that if an LEA creates an Innovation Zone and one of the schools in that zone does not exceed growth in the last 2 of the 5 year period, it can then be taken over by a charter management group. No
Establishes a task force to study revisions to school funding formulas, including possibly using the weighted student formula.  Same language as HB 6. No
Creates a new graduation requirement – at least 1 credit in Arts Education at any point between grades 6-12.  Same language as HB 97. No
Provides for up to 4 private alternative lateral-entry teacher preparation programs.  Same language as HB 634. No
Creates 10 new positions in the State Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Office. Yes but creates 5

Also notable are these Senate budget items that the House budget DOES NOT include: Education Savings Accounts, elimination of school board funding lawsuit authority, and a $13 million DPI flexibility reduction.

Click here for a comparison of the line-item portions of the budgets so far.

EDUCATOR PREPARATION LEGISLATION

A legislative committee this week signed off on a measure to expand the ways individuals can attain a teacher license in North Carolina.  The Senate Education Committee spent multiple meetings over the past two weeks discussing Senate Bill 599- Excellent Educators for Every Classroom, before passing it unanimously Wednesday.

While the 21-page bill has numerous components, at its core it allows for the establishment of different kinds of programs that provide a person a pathway to get a teacher’s license without having to earn a teaching degree from college/university.  These kinds of programs are generally referred to around the country as non-traditional or alternative teacher preparation programs.

Alternative Teacher Prep Programs

Bill sponsor Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, explained to the committee that “Under the old system, you had to be an IHE, an institution of higher education, to prepare teachers.  What the bill does is it says you no longer have to be that, but you have to meet this set of criteria.”  Senator Barefoot cited an increasing number of alternative teacher preparation programs popping up around the country as well as the growing need for licensed teachers in North Carolina classrooms.

Alternative teacher prep programs would have to meet a baseline set of requirements in order to be eligible to operate.  A Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission, made up of teachers and administrators, would be created to recommend all teacher preparation programs (college/university and alternative) to the State Board for approval.

Lateral-Entry Changes

SB 599 would also replace the current system of lateral-entry licensure with a system called “residency licensure.”  While lateral-entry allows a person with a bachelor’s degree to teach in a classroom but requires they wait three years before being eligible for full licensure, a residency allows that same person to teach for just one year prior to becoming eligible for initial license.  The resident would have to be enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

“I think the residency licensure track is going to be a faster, more efficient and more focused preparation for teaching than the current lateral entry system,” Sen. Barefoot said of this provision. “I think, ultimately, students are going to benefit more from it and the people who are engaged in it will benefit more from it.”

You can read the bill by clicking here and you can read a summary of the bill by clicking here.


EDUCATION sales tax FLEXIBILITY

HB 333- Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, giving counties flexibility to convert existing public transit local sales tax authority to public education use passed the House Finance Committee overwhelmingly.  It will likely come up for a vote the next time the House takes up legislation on the floor.


LOW INCOME STUDENTS/ACADEMICALLY GIFTED PLACEMENT

A three-part investigative series by the News and Observer and Charlotte Observer studied the last seven years of student placement into Academically and Intellectually Gifted programs across North Carolina.  The series found that a larger proportion of more affluent students are selected for these classes than low-income students with similar test scores.  If you are interested in reading this series you can find the links below.

Part 1: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article149942987.html

Part 2: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article150366187.html

Part 3: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article150367607.html

Federal EDUCATION Budget

The National School Boards Association has released an analysis of the Trump Administration’s 2018 budget for federal education funding.  Click here for the NSBA summary and review.

 

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

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

 

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Legislative Update – May 26, 2017
read more

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE UDPATE – MAY 19, 2017

STATEWIDE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND PASSES COMMITTEE

The House K-12 Education Committee overwhelmingly approved putting a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond on the November 2018 ballot.  NCSBA Director of Governmental Relations Leanne Winner was among those who testified to the committee in support of the bond.  You can read more about what happened during the meeting by reading a media report here.

The bond bill, HB 866, now goes to the House Finance Committee.  Please contact members of this committee in support of the school construction bond.  Click here to find members of the committee.

Use the below talking points on the bond when communicating with House Finance committee members:

  • LEAs across the state are facing an $8 billion backlog of school construction needs.  A bond will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs.
  • There has not been a statewide school construction bond issue in 21 years (1996).
  • The State Treasurer’s office has confirmed that NC has the capacity to absorb a bond of this amount.
  • A school construction bond is the only type of bond that would create jobs in all 100 counties.
  • The school construction bond is supported by a number of education groups (including school boards, administrators, teachers and parents), county commissioners, trade organizations (including architects, engineers, general contractors), and others.

Just like with House Ed, it would be helpful to share any pictures you may have of dilapidated or overcrowded schools in your LEA with members of House Finance.  Please share those pics with us as well.

If your LEA needs to build additional classrooms to meet the lower K-3 class size mandates, it would also be helpful to share that information with House Finance Committee members.  Attached is a list of additional classroom needs LEAs have identified to us as of today.  If your LEA is not listed here please let us know ASAP what additional classroom space you would need to meet the K-3 class size mandates.  You can send that information to Sean Holmes at sholmes@ncsba.org.

 

EDUCATION SALES TAX FLEXIBILITY UP FOR DISCUSSION 

Counties would be able to generate additional local funds for public education purposes under legislation to be heard in House Finance next week.  HB 333- Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, expands how counties may use some local option sales taxes.  Right now there is a provision in statute that allows counties to levy an additional local option sales tax but use the funds ONLY for public transportation purposes.  No counties have used this particular provision (Mecklenburg, The Triangle, and The Triad get their public transport sales tax authority from different parts of the statute).  HB 333 would take this existing statutory provision and expand it so that counties that want to levy the local sales tax could instead direct the revenue to fund: school construction, teacher supplements, and/or financial support of local community colleges.  All counties would be allowed this expanded authority and the tax would still have to be approved by voters.

The bill is scheduled to be heard Tuesday morning, May 23, at 8:30 AM.  NCSBA supports this measure as one of a menu of options to help LEAs deal with school construction needs, as outlined in the NCSBA 2017-18 legislative agenda.

EDUCATOR PREPARATION LEGISLATION

The Senate Education/Higher Education met this week to discuss SB599 – Excellent Educators for Every Classroom.  The 21-page bill eliminates the existing statute for lateral-entry teachers and creates a series of new education preparation programs.  The bill also establishes the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission to develop and recommend all aspects of the educator preparation programs including professional standards.

SB 599 creates new classes of teacher licenses and establishes new licensure requirements for out-of-state applicants and renewals.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, is seeking comment from stakeholders ahead of an anticipated vote next week in that committee.  You can read the most updated version of the bill by clicking here and you can read a summary of the bill by clicking here.

SCHOOL CALENDAR

Please continue making a push on the Senate to consider one of the school calendar flexibility bills.  Contact (i) Senate President Phil Berger and (ii) your Senate member(s).  Ask them to allow consideration of one of the calendar flexibility bills- HB 375 (giving LEAs flexibility to align their start date with that of their local community college) or HB 389 (allowing a pilot of earlier start dates for certain LEAs to study the impact on student achievement as well as the economy).

Senate President Phil Berger contact info: click here
To find your Senator(s): click here


BUDGET

Now that the Senate has completed its version of the budget, leaders in the House are now focusing their attention on the House budget proposal.  The House is aiming to have its budget approved by Friday, June 2.  House spending subcommittees could begin rolling out their respective parts of the budget as early as next week.

Senate Budget: Click here and here for overviews of the Senate budget.

 

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

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA LEGISLATIVE UDPATE – MAY 19, 2017
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 12 2017

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
MAY 12, 2017

 



SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND UP FOR CONSIDERATION

Next week a House Committee will hear legislation to place a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond on the 2018 ballot.  The school construction bond bill (HB 866) is on the calendar of the House K-12 Education Committee for Tuesday, May 16, at 10:00 AM.

Please contact members of this committee immediately in support of HB 866, the school construction bond bill.  Click here for information on members of the committee.

Here are some talking points you can use in asking committee members to support this measure:

  • An $8 billion backlog of school construction needs exist statewide. A bond will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs.
  • There has not been a statewide school construction bond since 1996.
  •  The school construction bond would create jobs in every county of NC.
  • The school construction bond is supported by a number of education groups (including school boards, administrators, teachers and parents), county commissioners, trade organizations (including architects, engineers, general contractors), and others

Another helpful action would be to share with members of the committee any pictures you may have of dilapidated or overcrowded schools in your LEA.  Please share those pics with us as well.

It would be also helpful to talk about any needs in your district to build additional classrooms to meet the K-3 class size mandates.  Click here to find a list of additional classroom needs LEAs have identified to us.  If your LEA is not listed here please let us know ASAP what additional classroom space you would need to meet the K-3 class size mandates.  You can send that information to Sean Holmes at sholmes@ncsba.org.

SENATE BUDGET APPROVED

The Senate this week passed their budget proposal for the fiscal biennium.  The Senate budget proposal received final approval on a party-line 32-15 vote early this morning.  There are several concerning provisions in this budget, including Education Savings Accounts, elimination of school boards’ local funding lawsuit authority, removing State Health Plan medical coverage for future retirees, restrictions on allotment transferability, and no funding for program enhancement teachers once the K-3 class size restrictions take full effect.

Attached please find a review of some of the major provisions and money items in the Senate budget.  This expands on some of the items that were sent to you on Wednesday.

SCHOOL CALENDAR

Now that crossover is completed and the Senate has finished their version of the budget, it is time to push hard on the school calendar issue and we need your help encouraging members of the Senate to take up one or both of the school calendar bills that passed the House.

Please contact (i) Senate President Phil Berger and (ii) your Senate member(s) this weekend.  Ask them to allow consideration of one of the calendar flexibility bills- HB 375 (giving LEAs flexibility to align their state date with that of their local community college) or HB 389 (allowing a pilot of earlier start dates for certain LEAs to study the impact on student achievement as well as the economy).

Senate President Phil Berger contact info: click here
To find your Senator(s): 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

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Legislative Update – May 12 2017
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 5 2017

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
MAY 5, 2017

 



CLASS SIZES AND STATEWIDE BOND

Now that HB 13 has been enacted into law, local school boards and education leaders are turning to the task of phasing in the K-3 class size reductions. For 2017-18, the highest average/maximum class size levels in K-3 will be reduced by 1 from current levels. In 2018-18, average/maximums will be reduced by between an additional 2-4 depending on grade level.

The need for districts to build additional classrooms to meet the new requirements will only add to what is an already staggering backlog of school construction needs (estimated at $8 billion statewide). This makes it even more imperative that school districts get a significant infusion of school construction funding through a statewide bond. Remember that both the Senate and House have filed bills to put a $1.9 billion statewide bond on the ballot for school capital needs (SB542/HB866). Those bills remain eligible for the biennium. As part of the effort to communicate how badly a statewide school construction bond is needed we would like to know how much classroom space LEAs are going to have to add to meet the new K-3 class size requirements. Please let us know how many additional classrooms your LEA will need to construct to fully implement the new K-3 class sizes requirements for 2018-19. If your LEA will be able to absorb the changes without needing to build additional classrooms just say that no additional classrooms are needed.
Please send the information to Sean Holmes at sholmes@ncsba.org.

REFORMING RETIREMENT BENEFITS

The possibility of overhauling how retirement benefits are paid out for future (hired on or after July 1, 2018) teachers and State employees was the subject of a legislative committee meeting this week. Legislation discussed (but not voted on) Wednesday, SB 467, proposes to change the retirement plan for future workers from a Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution system. SB 467 also proposes no longer allowing retirees (hired on or after July 1, 2018) to access medical coverage through State Health Plan.

The current Defined Benefit retirement system provides teacher and State employee retirees with a guaranteed monthly income upon retirement. A Defined Contribution plan as proposed under SB 467 removes the promise of a certain level of monthly income upon retirement and instead sets up 401(k) retirement accounts that teachers/State employees could access upon retirement. Contributions to this account would come from both the employer and worker contributions and the money would be invested in various stocks and bonds.

Supporters of SB 467 who spoke at the meeting argue that the costs of providing retirees with a guaranteed monthly income as well as State-provided health insurance is too big a financial burden for the State. They cite an estimated $60 billion unfunded liability to the State and point to research that a defined benefit program and State-funded health insurance at retirement do not add extra incentive to bring people ages 20-35 into government service.

A few groups representing teachers and government retirees spoke to the committee about some problems with changing the system, arguing that in the end a Defined Contribution plan may not even save any money.

While no vote was taken on SB 467, it could come back up at any time in the 2017-18 session as it was not subject to last week’s “crossover” deadline.  It is also possible this language could appear as a provision in the Senate budget to be released next week (see below).

 

BUDGET UNDER DEVELOPMENT

It is expected that the Senate will release its State 2017-18 budget proposal early next week. Be sure to look for an email sometime in the middle of the week with a detailed analysis of the Senate’s budget proposal.

 

 

STATE BOARD OF ED NOMINEES

Governor Roy Cooper this week named three candidates to the State Board of Education to fill spots that opened on March 31, 2017.

Gov. Cooper re-nominated one of the current Board members whose term has expired- Mr. Reginald (Reggie) Kenan. Mr. Kenan is a sitting member of the Duplin County local board of education and would serve another eight-year term representing the Southeast Education Region (District 2) if confirmed.

Mr. J.B. Buxton has been nominated to replace Patricia Willoughby as an at-large member. Mr. Buxton has a number of years of experience in North Carolina’s public education system.

Ms. Sandra Byrd has been nominated to replace Wayne McDevitt as representative of the Western Education Region (District 8). Ms. Byrd is a retired UNC Asheville education professor.

These nominees still have to be confirmed by the General Assembly. Ms. Willoughby and Mr. McDevitt will continue serving on the Board until their replacements are confirmed.

To read more about each of these nominees click here.

CROSSOVER BILLS

The list of bills eligible for consideration for the remainder of the 2017-18 biennium has been whittled down by the passing of the crossover date. Attached is a list of the bills tracked by NCSBA that passed one chamber or the other and can thus move at any time over the rest of this session and the 2018 session.

Also note that finance and appropriations bills were not subject to the crossover date and can also move at any time.

 

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

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Legislative Update – May 5 2017
read more