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NCSBA Legislative Update – February 1, 2019

Senate Plan for School Capital

As an alternative to Speaker Moore’s statewide bond for school construction (not yet filed), the State Senate unveiled SB5, Building North Carolina’s Future. SB5 provides a “pay as you go” method for funding public school construction. It allows local school administrative units (commonly referred to as LEAs) and community colleges to access funding from the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) that was created in 2017 (G.S. 143C-4-3.1). Public schools will receive one-third of SCIF funds, an amount bill sponsors anticipate being around $2 billion over 9 years. The Department of Public Instruction will be responsible for distributing funds for capital projects and repair and renovation projects to “applicants that demonstrate the greatest need”. Applicants that have not received a grant from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund in the previous five years shall receive a higher priority for funding. If a school district is not in compliance with K-3 class size requirements, then any grant money received must first be used to obtain class size compliance. Money from the fund cannot be used to retire existing debt obligations. It can be used for school safety enhancements. To learn more about the four-page bill click here. See the chart below for a comparison of Senate Bill 5, a pay-as-you-go model, versus Speaker Moore’s proposed bond bill.

   Senate Bill 5  Speaker Moore’s Proposed Bond (not filed)
 Overall Fund   Amount  Funds not guaranteed – one year at a time  Funds guaranteed
 Requires Vote of   the People  No  Yes
 Start Date  July 1, 2019  If approved March 2020, then first bond issuance  could be Fall 2020
 General Fund   Cost  Reduces budget availability by increasing  the earmark of General Fund revenues from  4% to 4.5%  Annual debt service
 LEA Allocation  Amount determined by Department of   Public Instruction  If structured like previous bond bills, each LEA  receives specific amount – determined before vote  of the people
 Project Type  New construction and Repairs &   Renovations (R&R)      ?
 Project Funding  Will fully fund a project  Funding not allocated to specific projects
 Funding Priority  Priority to applicants demonstrating the   greatest need  Weighted by counties’ low-wealth status, average  school enrollment, and school  enrollment growth
 K-3 Class Size   Compliance  If LEA is not class size compliant, capital  funds are restricted to capital expenditures  to make LEA compliant with class size  requirements      ?
 School Safety   Enhancements  Eligible for R&R funding      ?

 

School Calendar Bills

Two local House bills providing complete school calendar flexibility were introduced within the first few hours of the 2019 long session.

  • HB12, sponsored by Reps. Riddell and Ross for Alamance-Burlington Schools
  • HB13, sponsored by Reps. Howard and Setzer for Catawba and Davie County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Newton-Conover City Schools

NCSBA is creating a spreadsheet to track school calendar bills that will shared each week.

School Calendar Resolutions

Thank you to the thirty-eight school boards and eleven county commissions that have shared with NCSBA their adopted resolutions in support of school calendar flexibility (Burke and Camden approved a joint resolution).

Anson Duplin Onslow*
Beaufort Edenton Chowan* Orange
Burke* Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Perquimans
Camden* Elkin City Polk
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Franklin* Randolph
Chatham Gaston Roanoke Rapids City
Cherokee Gates* Stanly*
Clay Haywood Transylvania
Columbus Hertford* Washington*
Craven Hoke Watauga*
Cumberland Lexington City Wilson
Currituck Lincoln Yancey
Davie* Macon
* denotes County Commissioners’ resolution

 

For boards in need of assistance, this packet provides sample resolutions and draft bills that can be used in discussions with your legislators. Please email a copy of your board’s calendar flexibility resolution to Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org.

Potential Bill on Voting Sites

NCSBA plans to support a bill that will likely be filed this session concerning the authority of local school boards to decide which public schools will be used as voting sites. A draft bill reportedly focuses on ensuring the safety of students when schools are being used as polling places. Current state law allows local election boards to mandate the use of public-school buildings as voting precincts. If passed, this new law would permit a local school board to reject the local election board’s request until the school board can create a school-specific safety plan that both boards agree on.

This article written by Richard Craver of the Winston-Salem Journal discusses the possible changes and varying perspectives of the potential bill.

Legislative Agenda Issue Briefs

The NCSBA Governmental Relations staff is writing issue briefs for each topic in the 2019-20 Legislative Agenda. They can be accessed on the NCSBA website under the Governmental Relations tab or by clicking this link. Thirteen of the seventeen issue briefs are complete and accessible.

Legislative Public Policy Conference

The NCSBA Legislative Public Policy Conference is scheduled for April 30/May 1 in Raleigh at the NCSBA building. The agenda is still under development, but we are securing a legislative education panel of two State senators (one committee chair) and two House members (one committee chair). Other sessions include an analysis of the real impact on summer learning loss and potential remedies, along with state evaluations on Read to Achieve and the Innovative School District. Also, since the General Assembly is in session during our conference, you will have an opportunity to see them in action and visit with your legislative delegation.

The early bird registration rate for the conference is $250 through February 28, and the normal registration rate is $325 starting March 1. Click here to register.

 

 

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6692

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – February 1, 2019