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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 19, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

It was a short week at the legislature with the Senate leaving on Tuesday and the House leaving on Wednesday. The Senate joint resolution (SJR 688) filed last Wednesday that would adjourn both chambers on Monday, July 22 and reconvene on Tuesday, August 27 has made no movement and will most likely not go into effect. The Speaker of the House indicated this week that the House has no plans of going home until the budget is resolved.

We are nineteen days into the new fiscal year and the budget waiting game continues. Until a new State budget becomes law, North Carolina will continue to operate on last year’s recurring funding levels. The stopgap budget measure (HB 111) passed the House last week and essentially saw no movement in the Senate this week. Senate leadership instead came up with their own stopgap budget measure (HB 961) titled “Ensuring Authorization of Federal Funds”. Unlike the House version, the Senate proposal does not fund k-12 ADM growth. The bill passed one committee and will likely be heard in the Senate Rules Committee early next week.

 

Headlines of K-12 Education Bills

For more detailed bill summaries see Highlights of K-12 Education Bills below.

 

Bills with House Action

SB 5: School Safety Omnibus

SB 123: Geo Iso Sch/Transp Eff Buff/Currituck Cty Sch.

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

SB 366: 9th/10th Grade/College Transfer Pathways

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

 

Bills with Senate Action

SB 354: Sam’s Law

SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019

 

Bills on the Governor’s Desk

HB 922: Enhance Insurance Coverage/Education Buildings

SB 343: Various Education Law Changes

SB 391: Expand Youth Internship Opportunities

SB 392: Various Charter School Changes

 

Bills Still on the Governor’s Desk from Last Week

HB 107: PED Oversight/EPP Changes

HB 362: 15-Point Scale for School Performance Grades

HB 411: Modify School Quality/Student Success Indicator

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

Bills with House Action

SB 5: School Safety Omnibus

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee and placed on the House calendar for Monday, July 22
  • The bill does the following:
    • Establishes that school safety requirements apply to all public schools and strongly encourages non-public schools to participate in school safety plans
    • Clarifies the powers and duties of the Center for Safer Schools
    • Requires reporting on the operational status of all public schools during states of emergency
    • Defines the term “school resource officer” (SRO) and requires training for SROs
    • Requires annual vulnerability assessments for each public school building
  • The House Rules Committee made the following changes to the bill:
    • Requires threat assessment teams to be established at each public school and codifies the duties of threat assessment teams
    • Requires LEAs to require peer-to-peer support programs at all schools with grades six and higher
    • Requires DPI to transfer up to $1.5 million from the funds appropriated for the 2018-19 fiscal year for the anonymous safety tip line application to be used for the digital panic alarm system implemented by the Department of Public Safety (DPS)
    • Requires trauma kits to be in every public school classroom, but the contents inside the trauma kits are optional

 

SB 123: Geo Iso Sch/Transp Eff Buff/Currituck Cty Sch.

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and placed on the House Rules Committee agenda for Monday, July 22
  • The House Education K-12 Committee converted the original bill which allowed sick leave to be transferred between a charter school and a LEA to a bill addressing Currituck County schools and public school attendance data
  • The new version of the bill does the following:
    • Revises the geographically isolated schools formula regarding the allocation of teachers for Currituck County (the goal is to add one new teacher)
    • Increases the transportation efficiency budget rating for Currituck County Schools (the goal is to add two new busses to the fleet)
    • Requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to develop draft policies and procedures for auditing public school attendance and membership data, including schools participating in the virtual charter school pilot program

 

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

  • Passed third reading in the House and placed on the Senate calendar for Monday, July 22
  • Establishes a mandatory process for participating units seeking withdrawal from a regional school
  • Requires a participating unit to adopt a resolution requesting withdrawal (that includes a withdrawal plan) and submit a copy to the regional school board of directors
    • The participating unit must receive conditional approval to withdraw with a 2/3 vote from the board of directors
    • If the participating unit receives the 2/3 vote approval, the SBE must grant final approval
  • An amendment proposed on the House floor by Representative K. Smith, D-Pitt, that would give the SBE authority to make the final decision on approval of withdrawal, regardless of the board of directors’ vote, was not considered—the amendment was identical to one voted down in the House Rules committee last week—the floor amendment failed on a vote of 54-63 (click here to see vote)

 

SB 366: 9th/10th Grade/College Transfer Pathways

  • The House vote on the Conference Report passed 110-0 and Senate vote on the Conference Report is scheduled for Monday, July 22
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators McInnis, R-Richmond; B. Jackson, R-Sampson
  • The conference report does the following:
    • Allows qualified freshmen (which was previously removed) and sophomores who meet the specified requirements to participate in college transfer pathways and enroll in college courses
    • Requires that the criteria for adjunct career and technical education (CTE) instructors weigh work experience and industry recognized licenses/credentials over educational attainment level
    • Adds the requirement that the SBE develop and report the minimum criteria developed in accordance with the previous bullet point to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by April 15, 2020
    • Adds that for the 2019-20 school year, an individual without an associate or baccalaureate degree meets the minimum criteria for an adjunct CTE instructor if the individual (i) can demonstrate a minimum of six years in the last ten years of professional experience in the relevant skill or trade and (ii) has a recognized industry credential or active professional license in each subject area

 

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee and passed second reading in the House 58-51
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Berger, R-Rockingham
  • Establishes individual reading plans (IRPs) for k-3 students performing below grade level
  • Establishes a Digital Children’s Reading Initiative, which provides free tools and resources to assist with learning outside of school
  • Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene a task force to develop a Comprehensive Plan to Improve Literacy Instruction that will ensure literacy instruction in NC public schools is evidence-based, designed to improve student outcomes
  • Requires the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) to provide professional development in literacy instruction
  • Requires educator preparation programs (EPPs) to provide literacy training coursework for elementary education teachers
  • Requires the alignment of literacy curriculum and instruction with Read to Achieve
  • Requires DPI approval of local reading camp plans
  • Studies the phasing out of certain alternative assessments
  • Creates a uniform template for Read to Achieve data
  • Provides continuing education credits related to literacy for certain reading camp instructors and allows certain retired teachers to serve as reading camp instructors
  • Expands the Wolfpack WORKS program

 

Bills with Senate Action

SB 354: Sam’s Law

  • Failed to concur in the Senate
  • The Senate version of the bill is titled “Student Notice/Charter School Closure/Restr.” and does the following:
    • Requires notice to parents prior to closing a charter school or materially revising its charter
    • Requires notice and hearings prior to the termination of a charter or the nonrenewal of the charter of a continually low-performing charter school
  • The House version of the bill does the following:
    • Allows a parent of any student to petition a school for the development of a seizure action plan if the student is diagnosed with a seizure disorder and enrolled in the school
    • Requires each public school unit to adopt a policy outlining a seizure education program for all k-12 school personnel that have direct contact with students – must be administered on an annual basis in each school

 

SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019

  • Failed to concur in the Senate and conference committees were appointed
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Tillman, R-Randolph; Ballard, R-Watauga; Sawyer, R-Iredell
  • The Senate version of the bill does the following:
    • Eliminates the NC Final Exam
    • Establishes plans to reduce standardized testing by LEAs
    • Requires DPI to review the third grade English Language Arts assessment to ensure alignment with Reach to Achieve
  • The House version of the bill adds the following to the Senate version:
    • Replaces the EOGs with a through-grade assessment model that is similar to the NC Check-Ins
    • Replaces the EOCs with the ACT or other nationally recognized assessment of high school achievement and college readiness
    • Prohibits graduation projects as a condition of graduation
    • The bill modifies language that rewrites S.115C-81.36 in SB 500: Modify Advanced Math Course Enrollment (S.L. 2019-120):
      • Changes “end-of-grade test” for students in grades three through five to “State-mandated test”
      • Changes “end-of-grade or end-of-course test” for students in grades six and higher to “State-mandated test that denotes superior command of knowledge and skills”

 

Bills on the Governor’s Desk

HB 922: Enhance Insurance Coverage/Education Buildings

  • Presented to the Governor on Friday, July 19
  • Requires LEAs to insure and keep insured buildings owned by the LEA to the extent of not less than 80% (previously not less than 75%) of the current insurable value against loss by an insurable hazard such as fire, windstorm, vandalism, sprinkler leakage, water damage, etc.
  • When property of the LEA is located in the 100-year flood plain on the latest Flood Insurance Rate Map, that local school board is required to insure or keep insured to the extent of not less than 80% of the current insurable value for flood damage to buildings and their contents
  • Requires county commissioners to provide the necessary funding for compliance
  • Transfers the School Insurance Fund Section of DPI to the Department of Insurance (DOI) – the balance of the Public School Insurance Fund will also be transferred to DOI

 

SB 343: Various Education Law Changes

  • Presented to the Governor on Wednesday, July 17
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Ballard, R-Watauga
  • Repeals and changes certain education reports and report dates
  • Requires each LEA to annually report the instructional calendar start and end dates to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the SBE by April 1 and requires the SBE to annually report the dates to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by June 15 – for the 2019-20 school year, each LEA must submit its report by August 1, 2019 and the SBE must submit its report by September 1, 2019
  • Clarifies that Education Workforce Innovation Commission membership is extended to designees
  • Staggers Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission appointments
  • Exempts SBE charter actions from contested case provisions

 

SB 391: Expand Youth Internship Opportunities

  • Presented to the Governor on Wednesday, July 17
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Ballard, R-Watauga; Gunn, R-Alamance; Newton, R-Cabarrus
  • Provides a limited exception to the prohibition of 16-18-year-old students participating in supervised, practice experiences with employers in occupations declared by the Commissioner of Labor to be detrimental to the health and well-being of youth
  • Clarifies that the Commissioner of Labor must make the required findings that would allow an eligible student to qualify for the exception

 

SB 392: Various Charter School Changes

  • Presented to the Governor on Friday, July 19
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Ballard, R-Watauga; Brown, R-Onslow; Newton, R-Cabarrus
  • Designates the Superintendent of Public Instruction as an applicable elected representative who may approve bonds to finance or refinance a charter school facility
  • Clarifies charter school renewal standards
  • Requires background checks for charter boards of directors
  • Permits the SBE to allow a school participating in the virtual charter school pilot program to increase its student enrollment by more than 20% for any year of the school’s operation – NCSBA opposes this part of the bill because of the virtual charter schools’ failing school performance grades

 

Bills Still on the Governor’s Desk from Last Week

HB 107: PED Oversight/EPP Changes

  • Presented to the Governor on Friday, July 12
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Farmer-Butterfield, D-Wilson; Lucas, D-Cumberland
  • Makes clarifying/technical changes to the annual educator preparation program (EPP) performance report
  • Requires the SBE to adopt a rule creating a small group reporting exception any time data are at risk of being individually identifiable
  • Requires the SBE (in consultation with DPI and the Professional Educator Preparation & Standards Commission) to develop a scoring model that would compare the performance of each EPP and report it to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee
  • Requires the SBE to study two-year retention rates of EPP graduates initially licensed and employed in a NC public school as potential EPP performance measure

 

HB 362: 15-Point Scale for School Performance Grades

  • Presented to the Governor on Friday, July 12
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Harris, D-Mecklenburg; Elmore, R-Wilkes; Autry, D-Mecklenburg
  • Makes permanent the 15-point scale for school performance grades, which is one of NCSBA’s top priorities for this legislative session
  • Requires the SBE to adopt emergency rules in preparation for permanent rule making
  • Directs the SBE to study the reporting methods used for school accountability purposes on the NC annual school report cards

 

HB 411: Modify School Quality/Student Success Indicator

  • Presented to the Governor on Thursday, July 11
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Corbin, R-Macon; Elmore, R-Wilkes; Johnson, R-Cabarrus
  • Combines the career and college readiness indicators used for school performance grades and for the purpose of compliance with federal law
  • Requires that the SBE include additional career and college readiness information on annual report cards

 

July 22-26 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Monday, July 22

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

 

 

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 – July 19, 2019