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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 1, 2018

Lawmakers completed their work on the 2018-19 budget this morning, as the House gave final approval to the package by a vote of 66-44.  The Senate voted separately to give final approval to the plan on Thursday morning 36-14 mostly on party lines (one Democrat voted yes).  Because the budget was put into a conference report (SB99), there were several unique features to this year’s budget process- the various spending subcommittees did not meet to take up their sections (there was just one joint meeting of each chamber’s full appropriations committees); each chamber voted separately on the full package (as opposed to the first chamber sending it over to the other chamber); and no amendments were allowed. This allowed for a quick process where the budget was sent to the Governor less than 96 hours after being released.

Each chamber spent multiple hours debating the measure, with most of the Senate debate occurring Wednesday afternoon and most of the House debate occurring Thursday afternoon.  The House debate in particular featured a few tense moments of heated discussion.  You can read more about the debate here and here.

It is unclear what Governor Cooper will do now that the budget is heading his way but he has 10 days to sign, veto, or let it become law without his signature.

Attached please find a review of the major budget provisions for K-12 public education.

HB514 passed out of the Senate Education Committee this week.  This bill allows a handful of cities/towns to establish and run charter schools.  When the House passed it last year the bill only gave this authority to the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill.  The Senate Education Committee added the towns of Cornelius and Huntersville to the bill before sending it to the Senate floor.  It passed an initial vote in the Senate Thursday by a vote of 30-20.  Senators Dan Barrett (R-Iredell), Tamara Barringer (R-Wake), Danny Earl Britt (R-Columbus), Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), and Rick Horner (R-Nash) joined all Democrats in opposing the bill.  It will be taken up for a final vote on Monday.  If passed, it would need to go back to the House for a concurrence vote.

NCSBA has significant concerns about this bill.  In conjunction with a provision in the budget (see budget summary attachment), HB514 would create a significant policy shift in the operation and funding of our state’s public schools.  It would set a precedent that impacts students, districts, and communities across the state.

Sec. 38.8 of the budget allows cities to levy property taxes to enter into leasing agreements for real property or mobile classroom units for use as school facilities for public schools.  Currently, cities are not authorized to use property tax revenue for schools.  HB514 then permits the city to operate a public charter school.  Additionally, it has been the policy of this state to bar governmental entities from appropriating taxpayer dollars for capital for charter schools.  This concept has not been properly vetted and has too many potential risks and unintended consequences.

A comprehensive bill to try to improve school safety passed out of the House K-12 Education Committee Wednesday.  HB938 includes many of the recommendations from the House Select Committee on School Safety.  It is scheduled for a vote in the House today.  HB938 would:

– Require peer-to-peer support programs in all schools with grade 6 and above.

– Mandate that all public school buildings undergo annual facility vulnerability assessments.

– Require each LEA to submit an annual report on SROs.

– Establish training requirements for SROs.

Registration is open for NCSBA’s next legislative webinar on June 4 at Noon.  During this free webinar we will give an update on the budget and recent legislative activity.  Click here to register for the June 4 webinar.

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – June 1, 2018