March 2018

NCSBA Monthly Interim Legislative Report – Feb 2018


The General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee held its fourth meeting of the interim on February 6.

Schools That Lead
The Committee heard about Schools That Lead (STL).  This organization “develops teacher leaders within and across schools, bringing a deep focus on student learning.  Key to this work is developing teacher leaders with the knowledge, skills and dispositions to build the social capital of their organizations.”

To see the presentation materials click here.

An overview and update was provided on the Eastern North Carolina STEM initiative.  This initative “seeks to provide high quality STEM learning opportunities and leadership training to high school students living in economically disadvantaged communities in Eastern North Carolina.”

To see the presentation materials click here.

Next Meeting – Tuesday, March 6 at 10:00 AM in Room 643 LOB

The Task Force met for the fourth time on February 22 and heard from three presenters.  The meeting focused on charter school funding.  According to DPI – for the 2017-18 school year – there are 173 brick and mortar charter schools statewide with a population of more than 100,000 students.

Alexis Schauss with DPI explained how the state agency projects a charter school’s ADM, the process to determine funding amounts and the time frames charter schools receive funding.  Click here to view Schauss’ presentation.

Gregg Sinders with TeamCFA, a charter management organization, requested additional funds local, state, and federal sources.  Mr. Sinders also requested local and state dollars for charter school facilities, including:

-Allowing county commissioners to provide local tax dollars.
-Providing access to NC Education Lottery funds.
-Allow state budget dollars designated for school facilities to flow to charter schools.
-Provide start-up funds totaling $100-thousand per charter school.

Click here to view Sinders’ presentation

Steven Walker, General Counsel for Lt. Governor Dan Forest & member of the Charter School Advisory Committee agreed with Sinders that money should follow the child and that consideration should be given to allow county commissioners to provide charter schools with capital funds if they so choose.

Walker presented figures from 2013-14, complaining that charter school students were funded on the local level at 73% of traditional public-school students.  When asked by Rep. Craig Horn where the data came from, Walker responded that it is anecdotal and that the figures may not even be correct.  Click here to view Walker’s presentation.

Next meeting – Thursday, March 15 at 1:00 PM

In the wake of the Parkland school shootings, House Speaker Tim Moore this month formed a special House committee that will be charged with developing recommendations for how to improve safety in North Carolina’s public schools.  The Committee will be Chaired by Reps. David Lewis (R-Harnett) and John Torbett (R-Gaston).  The select committee has over 40 members from the House, including 9 former school board members (Reps. Susan Fisher, Rosa Gill, Verla Insko, Linda Johnson, Donny Lambeth, Chris Malone, Bobbie Richardson, Larry Strickland, Donna White).  To see all members of the committee click here.  Click here to read a press release about the formation of the committee.

Jt. Legislative study committee on the division of local school administrative units
This special committee, formed via HB 704 from the 2017 session, is tasked with looking at data and reseach on the differences in school district sizes and providing that information to lawmakers.  The chair, Rep. Bill Brawley (R-Mecklenburg), has specified that this committee will not be recommending splitting up particular LEAs and is exploring if a process should be prescribed in statute much like the consolidation statutues are designed.

The Committee held its first meeting February 21.  At this meeting the Committee reviewed the ranges of funding levels for NC LEAs, data on NC school district sizes and a comparison of district sizes to student performance levels.

To see the presentation materials click here and here.
To see members of this committee click here.

Next meeting – Tuesday, March 13 at 1:00 PM

The Governor’s Commission on Access to a Sound Basic Education held its second meeting on February 20.  This Commission is comprised of representatives of school districts, community colleges and universities as well as non-profit and private sector organizations with an interest in public education and child welfare.  Their charge is to develop a pathway to provide all public school students with an opportunity for a sound basic education per Leandro.

At this second meeting the Commission focused on public school funding issues.

Context and Overview of NC’s School Funding
Karen Halwey Miles, CEO and president of national nonprofit Education Resource Strategies, provided information on how NC’s school funding system, teacher salaries, student performance, LEA funding distribution and other data compared to other states around the country.  Ms. Miles also talked about factors that need to be looked at in determining whether school funding is “adequate” and suggestions for building a more efficient and equitable funding system.

Click here to see the presentation materials.

State Funding for NC Schools
DPI’s Chief Financial Officer Adam Levinson outlined how the State’s school funding model works.

Local Funding for NC Schools
Keith Poston, Executive Director of the Public School Forum, provided notable data on local funding for public schools.  He talked about some of the main drivers of local funding disparities across NC’s local school districts.  Most of Mr. Poston’s presentation was based on information published in the Public School Forum’s annual local school finance study, which you can find here.

Perspectives from Superintendents
Three local district superintendents participated in a panel discussion to talk about financial challenges they are facing and tools they believe would help them improve educational outcomes in their districts.  The participating superintendents were: Dr. Janet Mason from Rutherford (the 2018 superintendent of the year), Dr. Tim Markley from New Hanover and Dr. Anthony Jackson from Vance.  Mr. Poston moderated the panel, which also included an opportunity for commission members to ask questions.

Governor’s Remarks
Governor Roy Cooper arrived during the afternoon portion of the meeting.  He reiterated the importance of the Commission’s work and talked about some of the educational and equity barriers he had been seeing during his visits to public schools across the state.

You can read more about this meeting via EdNC’s coverage by clicking here.

Lawmakers this month struck a deal to phase-in the implementation of the K-3 class size reductions and establish a separate funding stream for program enhancement teachers.  HB 90, which also contained several other provisions pertaining to K-12 public education, passed overwhelmingly in a special session of the House and Senate.  Governor Roy Cooper later announced he would let the bill become law without his signature, citing portions of the bill that he and some Democrat lawmakers viewed as objectionable.

Lawmakers are expected back in Raleigh May 16 to begin their “short session.”  We do not anticipate any additional special sessions between now and then.

NCSBA had been working behind the scenes for months with key legislators to solve the K-3 class size chaos.  We cannot emphasize enough that this agreement would not have been possible without all your hard work at the local level.  Thank you once again for all your efforts keeping this issue front and center in your communities.

Below are more details of what is in HB 90 pertaining to K-12 public education.

K-3 Class Size Reduction Phase-In and Program Enhancement Teachers (Parts 2-5)

– Class size reduction implementation timeline:

Avg                      Max

2017-18:     1:20 (K-3)          1:23 (K-3)

2018-19:     1:20 (K-3)          1:23 (K-3)

2019-20:     1:19 (K-3)          1:22 (K-3)

2020-21:     1:18 (K-3)          1:21 (K-3)

2021-22:     1:18 (K)              1:21 (K)

1:16 (Grade 1)    1:19 (Grade 1)

1:17 (Grades 2-3)  1:20 (Grades 2-3)

2018-19 program enhancement teacher funding for grades K-5 will be $61,359,225, distributed at a ratio of 1:191 of K-5 program enhancement teachers.

Education Savings Accounts (Part 6)
The bill also makes some changes to the Education Savings Account program.  It still limits the awards to parents of children with disabilities eligible to enroll at a public school who have not received a high school diploma, but it loosens all the other eligibility requirements and just provides that the student not be placed in a nonpublic school by a public agency at public expense.  This broadens the eligibility for ESAs for parents who have never enrolled their student with a disability in the public school system.

NC Pre-K (Part 7)
This provision of the bill increases NC Pre-K funding by $9.35 million in each of fiscal years 2019-20 and 2020-21.  Total funding in the coming years will be as follows:

2017-18: $69.6 million
2018-19: $72.7 million
2019-20: $82 million
2020-21: $91.35 million

The legislative staff summary says that these appropriations should be enough to eliminate the NC Pre-K waitlist by 2020-21.

ACP Dollars (Part 1)
This provision would allocate the funds from a $57.8 million fund linked to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to the LEAs in the counties that will be impacted by the pipeline.  The bill creates a formula for distributing the funding.  The estimated allocations from the formula to LEAs are below.

Cumberland: $15,115,607
Halifax: $1,920,839
Roanoke Rapids: $2,157,148
Weldon City: $642,996
Johnston: $11,998,658
Nash-Rocky Mount: $7,547,838
Northampton: $3,574,629
Robeson: $7,544,754
Sampson: $2,416,321
Clinton City: $875,403
Wilson: $4,005,807

Total: $57,800,000
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

Sean Holmes
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688

Bruce MildwurfNCSBA Monthly Interim Legislative Report – Feb 2018
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