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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 22, 2019

House Bill 315—Instructional Material Selection

HB 315 would transfer the adoption of school textbooks from the State to the LEAs. By doing this, the scope of challenges to instructional materials by parents, teachers, and any citizen that deems the materials as “unfit” would expand.

NCSBA has the following concerns about how these changes would apply to instructional material selection:

  1. Many LEAs do not have the same expertise and resources as the State to evaluate and adopt textbooks.
    • LEAs would potentially have to hire outside experts, which could place a financial burden on the districts.
    • Or teachers would have to add this task to their workload, which would likely require additional compensation.
    • LEAs already have the authority to adopt textbooks outside of the list adopted by the State Board of Education under S.115C-98(b2)(1).
  2. If LEAs are responsible for purchasing instructional materials, the price will likely increase because each LEA does not have the same bulk purchasing power as the State for physical materials and licensing rights.
  3. LEAs are more likely to see an increase in challenges to the material.
  4. Challenges to “unfit” materials would also likely increase with eligible challengers including any citizen, not just those with a direct interest in the material.
  5. It is not clear how the courts would apply the Board of Education v. Pico (1982) decision to challenges to instructional material that would be permitted under this bill.
    • The Pico decision stated that library books cannot be removed because of objections to ideas expressed in the materials.
    • Clearer terminology should replace the current “educationally unsuitable” language in this bill, which could allow for more subjective challenges. Rather than “educationally unsuitable” challenges, challenges should be limited to material that does not align with the standard course of study.
  6. If a challenge to the instructional material is upheld, the material must be removed instead of replaced.
    • This bill should also allow LEAs to provide alternative materials to offset challenges to current materials.

HB 315 is scheduled to be heard in the House Education K-12 Committee meeting at 1:00 pm on Tuesday, March 26. If you have concerns about this bill, contact your Representative prior to the committee meeting. Click here to view committee members.

 

School Construction & Broadband Investment Act—House Bill 381

Primary Sponsors: Arp, R-Union; Saine, R-Lincoln; Conrad, R-Forsyth

HB 381 is a pay-as-you-go state construction plan similar to SB 5 but with some key differences:

  • SB 5 allocates the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) to State agencies, institutions of higher education, and local school administrative units on an equal 1/3 basis from 2019-20 to 2027-28.
  • For the period FY 2019-20 to FY 2028-29, HB 381 appropriates specific amounts from SCIF to selected entities as follows:
State agencies and UNC system $3,923,867,596 60.0%
Local education agencies (LEA) $2,166,955,127 33.1%
Community colleges $300,000,000 4.6%
Rural broadband $150,000,000 2.3%
Total $6,540,822,723 100.0%
  • A significant feature in HB 381 is specific allotments for each LEA, but there is no explanation of how the amounts were calculated.
  • SB 5 requires no local match, but HB 381 requires a local match based on county economic tiers.
  • SB 5 restricts funding to LEAs that are not class size compliant, but HB 381 does not.
  • SB 5 increases the percentage of the General Fund appropriated to SCIF, but HB 381 does not.

 

School Performance Bills in House Education Committee
The House Education K-12 Committee approved six bills on Tuesday, March 19. The following four are related to school performance:

HB 266: School Annual Report Card

  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Riddell, R-Alamance; Ross, R-Alamance; Elmore, R-Wilkes; and Clemmons, D-Guilford
  • Schools would receive two separate grades, one for student achievement and one for student growth. Student achievement would be measured on a 15-point A-F scale, and school growth would be measured on a 10-point A-F scale.

HB 276: Modify Low-Performing School Definition

  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Riddell; Fraley, R-Iredell; Clemmons; and Ross
  • The definition of low-performing schools would no longer include schools with school growth scores of  “met expected growth”, only schools with a grade of “D” or “F” and “not met expected growth”.

HB 354: Modify Weighting/School Performance Grades

  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Johnson, R-Cabarrus; Gill, D-Wake; and Lucas, D-Cumberland
  • School performance grades would be 50% school achievement and 50% school growth. The school performance grade would be measured with a 10-point A-F scale.

HB 362: 15-Point Scale for School Performance Grades

  • Primary Sponsors: Horn; Harris, D-Mecklenburg; Elmore; Autry, D-Mecklenburg
  • School performance grades would be based on a permanent 15-point A-F scale. (Otherwise school grades would revert to a 10-point A-F scale beginning in the 2019-20 school year.) The overall school performance would be 80% school achievement and 20% school growth.

The committee also approved HB 200: Education Report Changes and HB 295: Prohibit Corporal Punishment in Public Schools. All bills are scheduled to be heard in House Rules Committee meeting on Monday, March 25 (see legislative committee meeting schedule below). The House Education Committee chairs stated that they wanted to offer several alternatives to solve the school grading issue.

Read our issue briefs on School Grades (click here) and Low-Performing Schools (click here).

 

Other Bills on NCSBA’s Agenda

School Ethics Training & Finance Officers—House Bill 430

Primary Sponsors: Corbin, R-Macon; Horn, R-Union; Strickland, R-Johnston

HB 430 would require school administrators to receive at least two hours of ethics training. Training will:

  • be offered once in every odd-numbered year,
  • be required of employees making/administering contracts within 90 days of assuming responsibility
  • include position-specific education, and
  • be provided by NC Association of School Administrators, NCSBA, School of Government at UNC CH, or other qualified sources.

The bill would also give school finance officers the same terms and conditions of employment as assistant and associate superintendents, as outlined in subsections (b) and (c) of G.S.115C-278. (click here to view statute)

Read our issue briefs on Ethics Training for School Administrators (click here) and School Finance Officers (click here).

Modify Weighting/School Performance Grades—Senate Bill 319

Primary Sponsors: Sawyer, R-Iredell; Britt, R-Columbus; McInnis, R-Richmond

SB 319 (identical to HB 354) would modify the school performance grade formula to be 50% school achievement and 50% school growth. The overall school performance would be measured on a 10-point A-F scale.

Click here to read our issue brief on School Grades.

 

School Calendar Bills

So far this session, the Senate has introduced 16 local school calendar bills, and the House has introduced 37 local school calendar bills and 4 statewide school calendar bills. The 53 local bills cover 85 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

 

Legislative Public Policy Conference

The NCSBA Legislative Public Policy Conference is scheduled for April 30/May 1 in Raleigh at the NCSBA building.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CONFERENCE AGENDA

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

 

March 25-29 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Monday, March 25

3:00 pm – House: Rules, Calendar, and Operations – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (audio)

Tuesday, March 26

8:30 am – Joint Appropriations Committees on Education/Higher Education – Legislative Office Building, rm 423

  • Advanced Teaching Roles
  • Muddy Sneakers

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

Wednesday, March 27

8:30 am – Joint Appropriations Committees on Education/Higher Education – Legislative Office Building, rm 423

  • NCCCS Career Coaches
  • College Advising Corp
  • Wolfpack Works

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

Thursday, March 28

8:30 am – Joint Appropriations Committees on Education/Higher Education – Legislative Office Building, rm 423

  • UNC Lab Schools
  • Communities in Schools

 

 

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 22, 2019