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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