August 2019

NCSBA Legislative Update – August 30, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

Budget Update

While there is still no State budget in place, the legislature’s piecemeal budget approach continued this week. The General Assembly passed and sent an array of mini budget bills to the Governor that provide pay increases for State Highway Patrol officers (HB 126), State employees (HB 226), law enforcement officers of the State Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol Law Enforcement (HB 777), and State adult correctional facility employees (HB 609).

HB 426: Educators’ Pay Increases/Retiree Supplements, which was also heard on the House floor this week, includes salary increases for noncertified public-school employees, as well as salary increases for employees of the Community College System and the University of North Carolina. The bill passed the first of two required votes (click here to see vote) but was referred back to a House committee before the second vote. Noncertified public-school employees would receive a 1% salary increase in the 2019-20 fiscal year, and it is the General Assembly’s intent to provide another 1% increase in the 2020-21 fiscal year. That salary increase compares to a 2.5% increase for State employees, with recurring dollars in both years. HB 426 also provides a 0.5% annual increase in each year of the biennium for retirees. Although the bill is labeled “Educators’ Pay Increases”, it does not provide a salary increase for teachers or administrators.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger publicly stated that these mini budget bills include the exact numbers and language that was in the vetoed budget bill. They stated that they only plan to move forward in areas that are not in dispute with the Governor’s proposed budget, which is the reason that teacher pay was not included in HB 426. Speaker Moore was reported as saying that some form of HB 426 will return to the House floor as a conference report, which means that it can only get an up-or-down vote and cannot be amended.

 

What to Expect

Both the House and the Senate confirmed that they will not be holding voting sessions or committee meetings next week. At a press conference this week, Senator Berger said that school safety will be addressed in the next round of piecemeal budget bills when they return the week of September 9.

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019 (Read to Achieve)

  • Vetoed by the Governor on Friday, August 23 and referred to the Senate Rules Committee
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Berger, R-Rockingham

Last Friday, August 23, Governor Cooper vetoed SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019. Click here to see his veto message. The Governor’s veto of SB 438 comes as the legal fight between Istation and Amplify progresses. This dispute concerns the new contract that State Superintendent Mark Johnson signed with Istation in an effort to improve the Read to Achieve program, which is basis of SB 438. This week Superintendent Johnson announced a deal to continue Istation training for teachers while the legal review of how the State’s contract with Istation was awarded continues.

Below are articles on this issue.

 

SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019

  • Conference Report adopted by the House and the Senate on Monday, August 26
  • Presented to the Governor on Wednesday, August 28
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Tillman, R-Randolph; Ballard, R-Watauga; Sawyer, R-Iredell
  • Eliminates the NC Final Exam beginning with the 2020-21 school year
  • Requires annual reports on the progress of the NC personalized assessment pilot, which implements a through-grade assessment model and the goal to eliminate the EOGs and EOCs
  • Establishes plans to reduce standardized testing by LEAs by requiring local school boards, in each even-numbered year, to review locally required standardized tests
  • Requires reimbursement of up to $75.00 for expenses related to graduation projects for any economically disadvantaged student in a LEA that has a graduation project requirement
  • Requires DPI to examine third grade English Language Arts assessments to ensure alignment with Read to Achieve
  • Requires SBE to determine and analyze the necessary steps to transition to a competency-based assessment and teaching model for all elementary and secondary students (included in SB 476: Compt-Based Assess. & Mental Hlth/Teen Viol.)
  • Clarifies that the definition of a high-need retired teacher in SB 399: Rehire High-Need Teachers (S.L. 2019-110) is one that works at least 30 hours a week for 9 months or more – this allows the rehiring of retired teachers under the earnings cap, as long as they do not work more than 30 hours a week for 9 months or more
  • Expands SB 219: Modify Teacher Licensing Requirements (S.L. 2019-71) to apply to residency licenses (RL)
    • Extends the timeline from two to three years for RLs to pass any necessary licensure tests
    • Adds RLs to the list of individuals who are eligible for a limited license if they failed to fulfill examination requirements after three years of licensure

 

HB 852: Historic School Preservation Act

  • Approved by the House Finance Committee
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Adams, R-Catawba; Beasley, D-Mecklenburg; Warren, R-Rowan; Presnell, R-Yancy
  • Incentivizes the rehabilitation of historic educational buildings by increasing the historic rehabilitation tax credit if the certified historic structure is used for an educational purpose
  • This bill may be of interest to LEAs that have surplus property that can be sold or have a building that could be renovated and leased back

 

Since both the House and the Senate will not be holding voting sessions or committee meetings next week, NCSBA will not be sending out a weekly Legislative Update on Friday, September 6.

 

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 – August 30, 2019
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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 23, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

Budget Update

On Wednesday, legislative leaders announced a piecemeal budget approach. The Senate initiated this approach with the Senate Appropriations Committee’s approval of HB 609: Salary Increases/Adult Correctional Employees on Wednesday, followed by the Senate Rules Committee’s approval on Thursday. This bill would give corrections officers the pay raises and additional annual leave that is included in the vetoed State budget. HB 555: Medicaid Transformation Implementation, which would appropriate funds for Medicaid operations, was also cleared this week by The Senate Health Care Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, stated that additional bills providing pay raises for State employees, including teachers, will be considered in the House next week. These pay raises may be revealed in the House Appropriations Committee meeting on Tuesday, August 27. Additionally, the Senate Finance Committee approved HB 74: Taxpayer Refund Act, which would distribute roughly $663 million of the $900 million budget surplus back to N.C. taxpayers.

 

As the World Turns – K-3 Reading Assessment Dispute

As the legal battle between Istation and Amplify continues, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has ordered a hold on the State’s contract with Istation, the new company chosen to test the reading skills of K-3 public school students. Amplify, which was not chosen by State Superintendent Mark Johnson for a contract renewal, has requested a review of how the contract was awarded. Despite DIT’s order, Istation’s President has stated that the company will continue to train teachers in preparation for the new school year. Superintendent Johnson sent out a public statement on Thursday afternoon denouncing the legitimacy of DIT’s order, claiming that it was in contradiction with State law and DIT agency rules because DIT only heard arguments from one party, Amplify, before reaching a verdict. He further announced that DPI has filed a motion to dissolve the stay.

The following three articles explain the contract, the legal battle, and how this affects teachers and students.

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article234254022.html

https://www.wral.com/istation-will-continue-training-teachers-as-nc-puts-company-s-reading-contract-on-hold/18583577/

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article234205657.html

 

The following two articles cover Superintendent Johnson’s public statement.

https://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2019/08/22/superintendent-mark-johnson-pushes-back-against-dits-stay-on-istation-implementation/

https://www.carolinajournal.com/news-article/dpi-files-motion-to-dissolve-temporary-stay-in-istation-implementation/

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019

  • Conference report submitted and placed on the House and Senate calendars for Monday, August 26
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Tillman, R-Randolph; Ballard, R-Watauga; Sawyer, R-Iredell
  • Eliminates the NC Final Exam beginning with the 2020-21 school year
  • Requires annual reports on the progress of the NC personalized assessment pilot, which implements a through-grade assessment model and the goal to eliminate the EOGs and EOCs
  • Establishes plans to reduce standardized testing by LEAs by requiring local school boards, in each even-numbered year, to review locally required standardized tests
  • Requires reimbursement of up to $75.00 for expenses related to graduation projects for any economically disadvantaged student in a LEA that has a graduation project requirement
  • Requires DPI to examine third grade English Language Arts assessments to ensure alignment with Read to Achieve
  • Requires SBE to determine and analyze the necessary steps to transition to a competency-based assessment and teaching model for all elementary and secondary students (included in SB 476: Compt-Based Assess. & Mental Hlth/Teen Viol.)
  • Clarifies that the definition of a high-need retired teacher in SB 399: Rehire High-Need Teachers (S.L. 2019-110) is one that works at least 30 hours a week for 9 months or more – this allows the rehiring of retired teachers under the earnings cap, as long as they do not work more than 30 hours a week for 9 months or more
  • Expands SB 219: Modify Teacher Licensing Requirements (S.L. 2019-71) to apply to residency licenses (RL)
    • Extends the timeline from two to three years for RLs to pass any necessary licensure tests
    • Adds RLs to the list of individuals who are eligible for a limited license if they failed to fulfill examination requirements after three years of licensure

 

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

  • Conference Committee appointed (click here to see conferee list)
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Berger, R-Rockingham; Tillman, R-Randolph
  • Both the Senate and House versions of the bill include the Rural Health Care Stabilization Program
  • The House added Part II of the bill which grants counties additional flexibility in using the local option sales and use tax authorized in S. 105 Article 46 without increasing the existing maximum tax rate—the local tax could be used for public school capital outlay purposes or to retire any indebtedness incurred by the county for public education purposes
    • That bill language was taken from HB 667: Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, sponsored by Representatives Howard, R-Davie; Saine, R-Lincoln; Szoka, R-Cumberland; Hunter, D-Hertford—HB 667 passed the House but has not yet been considered in the Senate
  • On Thursday, part of SB 681 (not including the local sales tax flexibility) was placed into HB 704: Rural Health Care Stabilization Act, which will go to the Senate Rules Committee, then the Senate floor, and then return to the House for concurrence

 

August 26-30 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Tuesday, August 27

9:00 am – House: Appropriations – Legislative Office Building, rm 643 (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 – August 23, 2019
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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 16, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

Headlines of K-12 Education Bills

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

Bills with Senate Action

SB 230: NC Military and Veteran Act of 2019

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

Bill on the Governor’s Desk

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

Bills with Senate Action

SB 230: NC Military and Veteran Act of 2019

  • Concurred in the Senate and sent to the Governor on Thursday, August 15
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators D. Davis, D-Greene; Brown, R-Onslow; Ballard, R-Watauga
  • Part I directs the SBE to adopt rules providing excused absences from school for children of members of the U.S. armed forces

 

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

  • Withdrawn from the Senate Calendar and referred to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee
  • Requires public school unit boards to consult with teachers, school-based administrators, parents, and local law enforcement agencies when adopting policies and procedures governing student conduct and discipline
  • Requires public school unit boards to review current federal guidance issued by the US Department of Education on school discipline practices before adopting student conduct policies
  • Requires each public school unit board to annually submit a copy of its most up-to-date student discipline policies to DPI by September 1
  • Requires published student conduct policies and procedures to include the full range of responses to violations of disciplinary rules, including responses that do not remove a student from the classroom or school building
  • Allows public school unit boards to require that students and parents/guardians sign an acknowledgement that they have received a copy of student conduct policies and procedures
  • Clarifies that this bill does not regulate a public school unit board’s discretion to devise, impose, and enforce personal appearance codes
  • Applies to LEAs, charter schools, regional schools, innovative schools, and schools operated by the SBE and the University of North Carolina
  • Provides a temporary fix concerning the layoffs in the NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS) so that teachers may be employed for the upcoming fall semester
  • Standards of student conduct changes are effective beginning with the 2020-21 school year

 

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

  • Failed to Concur in the Senate and conference committee to be appointed
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Berger, R-Rockingham; Tillman, R-Randolph
  • The House added Part II of the bill which grants counties additional flexibility in using the local option sales and use tax authorized in G.S. 105 Article 46 without increasing the existing maximum tax rate—the local tax could be used for public school capital outlay purposes or to retire any indebtedness incurred by the county for public education purposes
    • That bill language was taken from HB 667: Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, sponsored by Representatives Howard, R-Davie; Saine, R-Lincoln; Szoka, R-Cumberland; Hunter, D-Hertford—HB 667 passed the House but has not yet been considered in the Senate

 

Bill on the Governor’s Desk

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

  • Conference report adopted and presented to the Governor on Wednesday, August 14
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Berger, R-Rockingham
  • Note: the conference report removed the part of the bill that would have authorized LEAs to select their own K-3 diagnostic assessments, which would have allowed for the continued use of mCLASS
  • 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 alternative assessments for third grade reading comprehension
  • 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

 

 

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 – August 16, 2019
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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 9, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

It’s the 40th day of the new fiscal year, and there is still no new State budget in place. As North Carolina continues to operate on last year’s recurring funding levels, teachers and other school district employees will not receive their pay increases until a new budget becomes law. A letter pledging support for the Governor’s budget veto was sent this week by all but four House Democrats to House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger. If those four House Democrats vote for the veto override, House Republicans will still need at least five more Democrats to be absent in order to have the necessary three-fifths majority.

 

Headlines of K-12 Education Bills

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

Bills with House Action

SB 230: NC Military and Veteran Act of 2019

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

Bills with Senate Action

SB 5: School Safety Omnibus

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

SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws

SB 522: Low-Perf. Schools/Stand. Student Conduct

Bill with House & Senate Action

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

Bills with House Action

SB 230: NC Military and Veteran Act of 2019

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee, unanimously passed the House, and sent to the Senate for concurrence
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators D. Davis, D-Greene; Brown, R-Onslow; Ballard, R-Watauga
  • Directs the SBE to adopt rules providing for excused absences from school for children of members of the U.S. armed forces
  • The House Rules Committee changed the bill’s title from “Excused Absences for Military Children” to “NC Military and Veteran Act of 2019” and added four new parts related to NC military and veterans

 

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee and unanimously passed the House
  • Requires public school unit boards to consult with teachers, school-based administrators, parents, and local law enforcement agencies when adopting policies and procedures governing student conduct and discipline
  • Requires public school unit boards to review current federal guidance issued by the US Department of Education on school discipline practices before adopting student conduct policies
  • Requires each public school unit board to annually submit a copy of its most up-to-date student discipline policies to DPI by September 1
  • Allows public school unit boards to require that students and parents/guardians sign an acknowledgement that they have received a copy of student conduct policies and procedures
  • Clarifies that this bill does not regulate a public school unit board’s discretion to devise, impose, and enforce personal appearance codes
  • Effective beginning with the 2020-21 school year
  • The House made the following changes to the bill this week:
    • Replaces language that encourages school officials to use a full range of responses to violations of policies after informing the parent/guardian with language that requires published student conduct policies and procedures to include the full range of responses to violations of disciplinary rules, including responses that do not remove a student from the classroom or school building
    • Provides a temporary fix concerning the layoffs in the NC Virtual Public School (NCVPS) so that teachers may be employed for the upcoming fall semester
    • Defines certain terms referenced in the bill

 

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

  • Passed the House 81-31 (click here for vote)
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Berger, R-Rockingham; Tillman, R-Randolph
  • Part II of the bill grants counties additional flexibility in using the local option sales and use tax authorized in G.S.105 Article 46 without increasing the existing maximum tax rate—the local tax could be used for public school capital outlay purposes or to retire any indebtedness incurred by the county for public education purposes
    • That bill language was taken from HB 667: Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, sponsored by Representatives Howard, R-Davie; Saine, R-Lincoln; Szoka, R-Cumberland; Hunter, D-Hertford—HB 667 passed the House but has not yet been considered in the Senate

 

Bills with Senate Action

SB 5: School Safety Omnibus

  • Withdrawn from the Senate Calendar for concurrence and referred to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee
  • The Senate version of the bill expands The State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to include critical capital funding needs for LEAS and community colleges
  • The House version of the bill is a school safety omnibus

 

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

  • Withdrawn from the Senate Calendar for concurrence and referred to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee
  • The Senate version of the bill allows sick leave to be transferred between a charter school and a LEA
  • The House version of the bill makes changes to a geographically isolated school in Currituck County and requires the development of auditing public school attendance and membership data

 

SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws

  • Unanimously failed to concur in the Senate
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Britt, R-Robeson; Harrington, R-Gaston; Chaudhuri, D-Wake
  • Section 5.4.(a) requires LEAs to adopt and implement training on child sex abuse and sex trafficking for school personnel
    • That bill language was taken from Section 4.(a) of HB 37: Child Sex Abuse/Extend Statute of Limitation, sponsored by Representatives Riddell, R-Alamance; White, R-Johnston; Torbett, R-Gaston; B. Turner, D-Buncombe—HB 37 passed the House but has not yet been considered in the Senate

 

SB 522: Low-Perf. Schools/Stand. Student Conduct

  • Withdrawn from the Senate Calendar for concurrence and referred to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee
  • The Senate version of the bill makes various changes to laws affecting charter schools
  • The House version of the bill makes changes to teacher licensure laws and the innovative school district (ISD)

 

Bill with House & Senate Action

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

  • Conference Report Adopted in the House (click here for vote) and the Senate (click here for vote)
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Berger, R-Rockingham
  • The Conference Report removed the part of the bill that would have authorized LEAs to select their own K-3 diagnostic assessments, which would have allowed for the continued use of mCLASS
  • 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 alternative assessments for third grade reading comprehension
  • 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

 

State Board of Education Meeting – August 7 & 8

This month’s meeting highlights include proposed new standards for math and recommendations from Whole Child NC. The meeting also included the introduction of the Board’s newest advisors: Dr. Patrick Miller, Superintendent of Greene County Schools and NC Superintendent of the Year; Matthew Bristow-Smith, 2019 NC Principal of the Year; and Mariah Morris, 2019 NC Teacher of the Year. During the Whole Child NC presentation, Mr. Bristow-Smith began the discussion by questioning why North Carolina does not have mandatory pre-k programs to help address the opportunity gaps that are seen as early as kindergarten. This question led to other points of consideration, including the incorporation of the Whole Child model into educator preparation programs and continuing to strive for the nationally recommended ratios of students to specialized instructional support personnel (SISP).

The State Board was also presented with recommended standards and descriptors for math assessments. The new standards contain four levels of student knowledge that would help educators better understand whether a student has an inconsistent, sufficient, thorough, or comprehensive understanding of the content. To view more on these recommendations and to access all Board materials, click here.

 

 

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 – August 9, 2019
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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 2, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

By all accounts, Governor Cooper and the General Assembly are no closer to ending the budget stalemate. The State budget (HB 966) was placed on the House calendar each day this week, but the Speaker has yet to bring it to a vote. We are still exactly where we were five weeks ago. The Senate stopgap budget measure (HB 961), which ensures that the state has access to federal dollars, was signed into S.L. 2019-192 on Thursday, August 1. Although the stopgap measure does not include funding for K-12 ADM growth, it would allow federal funds to be transferred to the SBE to be used for the establishment of an abstinence until marriage education program. Until a new State budget becomes law, North Carolina will continue to operate in the shadow of last year’s recurring funding levels.

This week Governor Cooper vetoed two bills, doubling his use of the veto stamp for this legislative session. One of the bills impacts charter schools. In his required message to the General Assembly, the Governor stated that the section of SB 392: Various Charter School Changes that raises virtual charter schools’ enrollment cap by 20% per year was unnecessary. He cited the two schools’ low performance grades and the State Board of Education’s existing legal capacity to lift the enrollment cap on virtual charter schools as reasons for vetoing the bill. See below for more details on SB 392.

While the Senate took this week off, several House committees met. See below for House action on bills.

 

Headlines of K-12 Education Bills

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

Bills with House Action

SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

Bills Signed by the Governor

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

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

Vetoed Bill

SB 392: Various Charter School Changes

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

Bills with House Action

SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws

  • Passed the House 92-15 (click here to see vote) and sent to the Senate
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Britt, R-Robeson; Harrington, R-Gaston; Chaudhuri, D-Wake
  • Section 5.4.(a) requires LEAs to adopt and implement training on child sex abuse and sex trafficking for school personnel
  • An amendment that passed on the House floor eliminated the $50,000 appropriation to be used by DPI for assistance to LEAs, charter, regional, innovative, and laboratory schools in the implementation of the child sex abuse and trafficking training

 

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee
  • The House Education K-12 Committee removed the contents of the original bill that dealt with residency for in-state tuition for NC community colleges and universities and replaced it with a bill that makes changes to local standards of student conduct
  • The new version of the bill does the following:
    • Requires LEAs to consult with teachers, school-based administrators, parents, and local law enforcement agencies when adopting policies and procedures governing student conduct and discipline
    • Requires LEAs to review current federal guidance issued by the US Department of Education before adopting student conduct policies
    • Requires each LEA to annually submit a copy of its most up-to-date student discipline policies to DPI by September 1
    • Removes examples of conduct that would not be deemed to be a serious violation of the LEA’s code of student conduct
    • Allows LEAs to require that students and parents/guardians sign an acknowledgement that they have received a copy of student conduct policies and procedures
    • Encourages school officials to use a full range of responses to violations of policies after informing the parent/guardian
    • Clarifies that this bill does not regulate a LEA’s discretion to devise, impose, and enforce personal appearance codes
  • The new version of the bill is effective beginning with the 2020-21 school year

 

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee and placed on the House calendar
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Berger, R-Rockingham; Tillman, R-Randolph
  • Part II of the bill gives counties additional flexibility with regard to local option sales and use tax without increasing the existing maximum tax rate
  • The House Rules Committee added to the bill that the 0.25% sales and use tax rate allowed by the bill may only be levied on or after October 1, 2020 if the 0.25% levy results in a 2.5% county sales and use tax rate

 

Bills Signed by the Governor

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-184 on Thursday, August 1
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Brown, R-Onslow
  • Establishes a mandatory process for participating units seeking withdrawal from a regional school
  • Requires a participating unit to adopt a resolution requesting withdrawal (including 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 — prohibits a participating unit from withdrawing without approval from the regional school board of directors
    • If the participating unit receives the 2/3 vote approval, the SBE must grant final approval

 

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

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-185 on Thursday, August 1
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators McInnis, R-Richmond; B. Jackson, R-Sampson
  • Extends the participation in college transfer pathways and enrollment in college courses to include qualified freshmen and sophomores who meet the specified requirements
  • Requires that the criteria for adjunct career and technical education (CTE) instructors weigh work experience and industry recognized licenses/credentials over educational attainment level — requires the SBE to develop and report the minimum criteria to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by April 15, 2020
  • For the 2019-20 school year, allows an individual without an associate or baccalaureate degree to be deemed to meet 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

 

Vetoed Bill

SB 392: Various Charter School Changes

  • Vetoed by the Governor on Monday, July 29
  • 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
  • Increases the enrollment cap for virtual charter schools

 

School Calendar Flexibility

The @NCLocalCalendar Twitter handle has been tweeting about all of the charter and restart schools that have already started their 2019-20 school year due to their ability to utilize school calendar flexibility. The tweets recognize legislators who filed bills for their districts during this legislative session in hopes of extending school calendar flexibility to traditional public schools. Yesterday the account tweeted about the start of traditional public schools’ fall athletic practices. The tweet questioned why students are allowed to start playing sports on August 1 but have to wait until August 26 to begin exercising their minds. Great question!

Be sure to check out the @NCLocalCalendar Twitter page to see what charter schools in your district have already started their 2019-20 school year.

 

August 5-9 Legislative Calendar

Monday, August 5

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 – August 2, 2019
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