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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 1, 2019

Statewide School Construction Bond
Speaker Tim Moore was joined by more than a dozen Republican House members at Thursday’s press conference to unveil HB 241, Education Bond Act of 2019. The proposed $1.9 billion bond for statewide school construction, if passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor, would put the issue before North Carolina voters next year. The proposal provides $1.5 billion to K-12 schools, and $200 million to both community colleges and universities.

Speaker Moore explained that this session is the perfect time to pass the first statewide K-12 school construction bond since 1996: “Our State has a strong fiscal position with unanimous triple A credit ratings. We have hundreds of millions of dollars in reserve. We have revenue surpluses projected, and we have a billion dollars in savings. There’s currently a competitive bond market and the State can borrow now at very favorable interest rates. The opportunity is now and waiting can only end up costing the State more down the road.”

The bill allows LEAs to use the funds for new construction, renovations, technology, infrastructure, building security, certain types of equipment, and land if construction is to begin within twenty-four months.

The breakdown of funds received by each LEA is based on a formula comprised of four components, which includes a $10 million dollar minimum per county. The largest percentage of funds is for low wealth counties, followed by ADM and ADM growth. Click here to see how your LEA benefits from the bond bill.

Section 5 of the bill states that any funds from the bond used for school technology will be credited against the 2008 judgment in N.C. School Boards Assn, et al., v. Moore, et al., civil penalties (fines & forfeitures) lawsuit.

 

Governor Cooper Supports Bond for School Construction

In his State of the State address on Monday night, February 25, Governor Cooper pledged support for a statewide school construction bond. The following is an excerpt from his speech:

“And let’s give our students safe, healthy places to learn.

Right now, 4 in 10 public schools in our state are at least 50 years old. That means they’re still using the schools you and I went to. That’s great for nostalgia, but not so good for students in classrooms with unreliable heat, leaking roofs or crumbling walls.

K through 12 schools need at least 8 billion dollars in new construction and renovations. There’s a smart way to build them that locks in financing against the whims of future legislatures and lets the people decide at the same time.

It gets hammers swinging all across the state, and still leaves money for good teachers and principals. This session, let’s have the people vote on a strong school construction bond.”

 

House Education K-12 Committee – School Safety

The Committee met on Tuesday, February 26. Two of the school safety bills we mentioned in last week’s update were up for a vote, including HB 76 – School Safety Omnibus. The list of concerns NCSBA shared with committee members before the meeting were addressed in the bill’s amended version. It passed out of the House K-12 committee. HB 73 – Civic Responsibility Education also passed out of committee after it was amended. Both bills are now in the House Rules committee.

 

State Board of Education (SBE)

HB 251, State Board of Ed/Education Changes, was filed this week on behalf of the SBE. Some of the issues covered in the bill align with NCSBA’s priorities, including:

  • Restore the State sales tax refund for LEAs
  • Create a K-3 class size waiver for 1) inadequate classroom space or facilities that would require a facility expansion or relocation; or 2) a shortage of qualified, licensed teachers available to teach in the grade level for the number of classrooms required at the individual school

State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis presented SBE’s 2019 non-judgment legislative priorities to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Thursday, including:

  • A permanent 15-point A-F grading scale for school grades
  • A change in the formula that calculates school performance grades
  • No longer classify schools meeting growth as low-performing
  • Calendar, teacher, and funding flexibility – districts must apply to SBE
  • Extending the Principal pay hold harmless
  • Modification to the principal pay double bonus language

 

Joint Appropriations Committee on Education

The Committee met on Tuesday, February 26 and Wednesday, February 27 to hear presentations from the legislative fiscal staff on Introduction to Public School Funding (click here for slides) and Public School Allotments (click here for slides).

 

School Calendar Bills

So far this session, the Senate has introduced thirteen local school calendar bills, and the House has introduced thirty-four local school calendar bills and four statewide school calendar bills. The forty-seven local bills cover eighty LEAs.

NCSBA has created this spreadsheet to track school calendar flexibility bills that are filed each week.

Follow the LOCAL Authority for NC School Calendars’ Twitter account @nclocalcalendar to keep up with the progress being made for local school calendar flexibility.

*sponsor intended to include – will fix when bill goes to committee

 

School Calendar Resolutions

Thank you to the sixty-seven school boards and twenty-six county commissions that have shared their adopted resolutions with NCSBA in support of school calendar flexibility. Click here to see the full list of school calendar resolutions.

Email a copy of your board’s calendar flexibility resolution to Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org.

After adopting a resolution, school boards and/or county commissions should request that their legislative delegation file a local bill. If the response from the legislator is that the bill is dead on arrival, request that your delegation introduce the bill anyway.

 

Other Bills Filed This Week on NCSBA’s Legislative Agenda

HB 145 – 15-Pt Scale for School Performance Grades

SB 152 – Restore LEAs Sales Tax Refund

 

Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education—February 28

The Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education met this week to discuss North Carolina teacher quality, teacher retention, and new programs that expand teaching roles. There was a panel discussion of teacher perspectives on the challenges of hiring high-quality educators in NC schools. The three panelists addressed their personal experiences, including lack of consistent leadership, human resources, flexibility, and autonomy. The panelists requested that the State promote more relevant and engaging professional development and shared visions of leadership. This led to the discussion of the lack of school calendar flexibility, which affects school districts’ ability to establish days specifically for teacher professional development.

Commission members also heard from four different school districts that have implemented programs aimed to increase teacher effectiveness, not only in the classroom, but also with fellow teachers and administration. Staff members from the four districts promoted ideas such as accounting for career growth and recognition of excellence in teacher pay, expanding school leadership and authority, and creating teacher leaders that collaborate with school personnel to improve student learning and instructional support. Click here to access the meeting agenda and resources.

 

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 includes a legislative panel and the following topics:

  • School Safety
  • School Construction: Statewide Bond vs. Pay-As-You-Go
  • Chronic Absenteeism: How Your District Stacks Up and Best Practices to Improve
  • Updates/Research on Advanced Teaching Roles, Innovative School District, Read to Achieve, and Vouchers

You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the legislative building to observe session and visit with and/or meet your delegation for dinner, and much more.

The registration rate is $325. Click here to register.

 

March 4-7 Legislative/SBE Meeting Calendar

Monday, March 4

3:30 pm – House: Rules, Calendar, and Operations – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (audio)

  • HB57: Create Term for Public Schs. & Codify NCVPS
  • HB73: Civic Responsibility Education
  • HB75: School Mental Health Screening Study
  • HB76: School Safety Omnibus

 

Tuesday, March 5

8:30 am – Joint Appropriations Committees on Health and Human Services and Education – Legislative Office Building, rm 643 (audio)

  • Division of Child Development and Early Education

1:00 pm – House: Education K-12 – Legislative Office Building, rm 643 (audio)

  • HB90: DPI/EC Div. Feedback/DIT Study/PED Report
  • HB151: Katelyn’s Law

 

Wednesday, March 6

10:00 am – State Board of Education – 301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh NC (Seventh Floor Board Room) (audio)

11:00 am – Senate: Education/Higher Education – Legislative Building, rm 1027/1128 (audio)

 

Thursday, March 7

9:00 am – State Board of Education – 301 N. Wilmington St., Raleigh NC (Seventh Floor Board Room) (audio)

 

FYI – Net Inclusion 2019

Local and State Elected Officials, join the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and the North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office for the, “Closing the Digital Divide 101 for Local and State Elected Officials” workshop during pre-conference sessions at Net Inclusion 2019.

Date: Monday, April 1, 2019

Time: 9:00AM-12:00PM

Location: Federal Reserve Bank in Charlotte, NC

This workshop specifically designed for local and state elected officials will cover digital equity and inclusion basics, ideas for supporting and launching local digital inclusion efforts, and ways to advocate for or implement policies to support digital inclusion and equity initiatives at the local, state, and federal level.

This workshop is one of seven pre-conference workshops offered at Net Inclusion 2019. Learn more about the other workshops and the other great offerings at the conference here.

The special reduced rate for Net Inclusion at the Omni Charlotte Hotel Starts at $175/night. The last day to receive the reduced rate is March 10. But the room block is likely to fill up before then.

 

Register for Net Inclusion 2019!

 

 

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 – March 1, 2019