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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 8, 2019

House Bill 241 – Education Bond Act of 2019
The $1.9 billion bond bill made considerable progress in the House this week. Speaker Tim Moore and cosponsors Jeffrey Elmore, Craig Horn, and Linda Johnson guided the bill through passage of four House committees – Education K-12, Finance, Appropriations Capital, and Rules. The bill was amended in Education K-12 to move the bond referendum from November 2020 to March 2020. The bill advanced to the House floor on March 6 but was returned to the Rules Committee on March 7 for further review. The bill will be debated again in House Rules on March 11 at 3 pm. It is anticipated that the House will vote on HB 241 next Wednesday and Thursday.

Governor’s Recommended Budget

Governor Cooper unveiled his 2019-21 Recommended Budget to the press and public on Wednesday (March 6) and to the Joint Appropriations Committee of the legislature on Thursday (March 7). The Governor’s budget increases the total K-12 budget by $567.78 million (5.9%) for FY 2019-20 and by $843.34 million (8.7%) for FY 2020-21. The total recommended K-12 budget is $10.15 billion in FY 2019-20 and $10.49 billion in FY 2020-21. Click here to see the full recommended budget. The key K-12 Education budget changes are as follows:

Invest NC Bond

  • $2 billion of the proposed $3.9 billion bond is dedicated to K-12 public schools

 Salary and Benefits

  • New 30-Year Step Schedule for Educators – average increase of 9.1% over 2 years; no educator receives less than 3% increase in either fiscal year
  • Restoration of Master’s Pay for Teachers
  • New Principal Salary Schedule – includes experienced based step increases based on experience as a principal
  • Assistant Principal Schedule Changes – reflect changes in teacher salary schedule
  • Cost of Living Adjustment for Central Office, Noncertified Personnel, and State employees – greater of $500 or 1.5%
  • Noncertified Personnel Compensation Reserve – additional $500 for full-time, 12 month state-funded positions
  • 2% one-time COLA for retirees
  • Elimination of $50/day required substitute deduction from pay for teachers using personal leave days

School Safety

  • Student Support Positions – nurses, school psychologists, counselors, and social workers; $40 million for approximately 500 FTE
  • $15 million Reserve for Public Safety Building Improvements

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

  • Programs to help recruit, retain, and support teachers such as
    • restoring state funding for National Board Certification for 1,000 teachers
    • funding for New Teacher Support Program and “Grow Your Own” Teacher Cadet program
    • adding four districts to the Advanced Teaching Roles pilot
    • creating pilot to support educators of color
  • New allotment for professional development for teachers and school leaders
  • Expansion of the NC Teaching Fellows Program to all institutions with an approved educator preparation program and to all licensure areas.

Student Resources

  • One-time reserve for
    • Textbooks and digital resources ($10 million)
    • Instructional supplies ($15 million)
    • LEA access to Statewide Learning Management System ($4 million)
  • Provide free meals for 115,000 students by funding co-pay for reduced-price meals
  • $3 million grant to expand academically gifted program for students from under-represented populations

Vouchers

  • Gradual elimination of the Opportunity Scholarship Program – no new applicants beginning FY 2019-20

Dept. of Information Technology Budget

  • $5 million competitive grant program for school districts to provide high-speed internet access to students who lack such service (homework gap)

 

School Safety Bills
Three bills recommended by the House Select Committee on School Safety were approved by the House this week and sent to the Senate.

  • HB 73 Civic Responsibility Education
  • HB 75 School Mental Health Screening Study – The House Rules Committee added section 2(k) “A review of the best practices of other states that perform mental health screening of school-aged children” to the proposed study.
  • HB 76 School Safety Omnibus – The House Committee on Education K-12 made several changes in the original bill to address concerns expressed by NCSBA. Three further amendments suggested by NCSBA were adopted on the House floor.

 

Gun Bills

House Bill 216, School Self-Defense Act, sponsored by Representatives Pittman, R-Cabarrus; and Speciale, R-Craven; authorizes certain school staff and volunteer school resource officers who possess a valid concealed handgun permit to carry a handgun on school grounds and to respond to acts of violence or an immediate threat of violence. Read the linked bill for more details including training requirements.

Senate Bill 192, School Safety Act of 2019, sponsored by Senators Daniel, R-Burke; Hise, R-Mitchell; and Tillman, R-Randolph creates the position of Teacher Resource Officer. It establishes a grant program and provides a salary supplement of 5%. The bill allows up to 3,000 Teacher Resource Officers statewide and budgets a recurring $4.5 million.

Bills arming teachers pop up every year in the House. House leadership has not had much of an appetite to hear those bills. It has not been much of an issue in the Senate in recent years. It’s worth noting that two of the three senate sponsors are considered in the leadership circle, Hise is the Deputy President Pro Tempore and Tillman is the Majority Whip. Read the linked bill for more details including certification requirements.

We encourage you to share your views with House and Senate leadership and your legislative delegation.

 

Superintendent’s Budget

State Superintendent Mark Johnson published his FY 2019-21 budget recommendations on his website this week (click here). Below are some of his major recommendations:

  • Provide a 5% salary increase for teachers ($140 million recurring (R) in 19-20 and $280 million R in 20-21)
  • Compensate first through fourth grade teachers for professional development at the beginning of the school year ($73 million R)
  • Increase principal pay ($50 million R)
  • Continue and expand school safety grants ($72 million R and $10 million nonrecurring (NR) each year)
  • Fund school safety equipment and training grants ($11 million NR each year)
  • Increase textbook funding allotment $10 per student ($16 million R)
  • Raise cap on special needs funding from 12.75% to 13.5% ($15 million R)
  • Replace standardized testing with personalized learning opportunities ($10 million R)

 

Other Bills on NCSBA’s Agenda

Principal Bonus – Senate Bill 170

SB 170, Expand Principal Bonus Multiplier Eligibility, fixes a principal bonus issue that NCSBA has been working on since last summer. The bill filed by Senate Education Chairs Tillman, Ballard, and Horner clarifies a provision in last year’s budget bill that essentially penalized some high performing principals for being too effective.

Principals in a D or F school that that were in the top 50% of the statewide growth percentage during the 2017-18 school year were to receive a double bonus (see chart below) during the 2018-19 fiscal year. However, based on the wording of the provision, DPI’s interpretation was that principals who improved a D or F school to a grade of C or better in 2017-18 were not eligible for the double bonus. SB 170 makes those high-flying principals eligible for the double bonus and extends the deadline for them to receive payment.

Statewide Growth Percentage Bonus
Top 5% $10,000
Top 10% $7,500
Top 15% $5,000
Top 20% $2,500
Top 50% $1,000

 

Note: A long term fix is still necessary. This bill only affects results from 2017-18.

Low Performing Schools Definition – House Bill 276

Sponsored by Representatives Riddell, R-Alamance; Fraley, R-Iredell; Clemmons, D-Guilford; and Ross, R-Alamance, the bill modifies the definition of a low-performing school to no longer include schools that “met expected growth”. The current definition of a low-performing school is any D or F school that met expected growth or did not meet expected growth.

The bill also modifies which schools are eligible to adopt a reform model, including the Restart model. It considers the proposed changes to the new definition of a low performing school so that schools that were eligible for a reform model under the old definition are still eligible under the new definition.

Click here to read our issue brief on Low Performing Schools.

Ethics Training for School Employees – Senate Bill 203

School employees involved in the making/administering of contracts must 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.

Click here to read our issue brief on Ethics Training for School Administrators.

Partisan Elections Act – House Bill 294

Part I of this bill requires partisan elections to be held for county boards of education and city boards of education.

 

State Board of Education Meeting – March 6 & 7

This month, members of the State Board of Education spent a majority of their time discussing renewal recommendations for charters expiring in 2019 and licensure requirements for out-of-state teachers. Much of the conversation was centered around renewals for three Mecklenburg charter schools: Commonwealth High and Stewart Creek High, alternative high schools up for ten-year renewals, and Charlotte Learning Academy, which was up for nonrenewal. On Thursday, the Board voted to grant the two alternative high schools seven-year renewals because of many members’ request for more accountability for schools whose students are mostly high school dropouts. The Board voted not to renew Charlotte Learning Academy’s charter because of the concern that granting any type of renewal to a school that has never had a school grade higher than a F and has 17.9% proficiency would set an unwanted precedent for future cases.

Recently, State Board members have been debating the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission’s recommendation of allowing out-of-state licensed teachers to come to North Carolina and teach without receiving a NC teaching license. Many view this as lowering the state’s teaching standards, but there is also an argument that it would allow quicker access to qualified teachers. The Board concluded discussion on this issue by requesting that DPI return to next months’ SBE meeting with an explanation of what resources it would need to provide comparability analysis of teacher evaluation data and student growth data of out-of-state teachers with in-state teachers.

 

School Calendar Bills

So far this session, the Senate has introduced 13 local school calendar bills, and the House has introduced 35 local school calendar bills and 4 statewide school calendar bills. The 48 local bills cover 81 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. 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 11-14 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Monday, March 11

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

  • HB241: Education Bond Act of 2019

Tuesday, March 12

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

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

  • HB56: Arts Education Requirement
  • HB79: Academic Alignment/Boards of Education & CC
  • HB117: School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program

Wednesday, March 13

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

Thursday, March 14

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

Friday, March 15

10:00 am – North Carolina Child Well-Being Transformation Council – Legislative Office Building, rm 544 (audio)

 

**REMINDER**

The Senate deadline to file local bills is next Thursday, March 14.

The Senate deadline to submit/request a bill to legislative drafting has passed.

The House deadline to file local bills is Thursday, March 28.

The House deadlines to submit/request a bill to legislative drafting has passed.

 

 

 

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 8, 2019