NCSBA Legislative Update – October 25, 2019

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This Week at the Legislature

Teacher Pay

As promised by both House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger, teacher pay was addressed this week, but not in the way that school employees were expecting. HB 377: Teacher Step Act would appropriate funds for salary increases and bonuses for principals and ensure that teachers, instructional support personnel, and assistant principals receive their salary step increases. However, HB 377 does not reflect the higher pay raises for teachers and non-certified personnel that the Speaker addressed in this interview that was included in our October 11th update. For more on HB 377, see “Highlights of K-12 Education Bill” below.

In response to HB 377, many media outlets reported that according to the NC Association of Educators (NCAE), salary step increases are required under State law. We urge you not to repeat this information, as it is not an accurate statement. The law that governs how the State operates when there is no budget clearly delineates that step increases will not be implemented. (Click here to access G.S. 143C-5-4(b)(6).) Additionally, during the Great Recession the legislature recognized years of experience but shifted the pay scale so that teachers did not receive any pay increase based on years of experience. Do teachers deserve a step increase? Absolutely! Are teachers entitled to a step increase under State law? No.


Session Schedule

After months of waiting for a State budget and an end to this legislative session, we are seeing a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. On Friday afternoon the Senate added a major announcement to its Monday calendar: Pursuant to Senate rule 59.2(b), notice has been given by the Chair of the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate to the Senate Minority Leader that HB 966, 2019 Appropriations Act, may be considered by the Senate on Monday, October 28, 2019. The override attempt may or may not happen Monday night, but this is without a doubt a new development.

Senate leader Phil Berger has clearly stated for several weeks that the Senate plans to head home next Thursday, October 31. The House Speaker has followed the Senate’s lead, but his language has not been as strong. It remains unclear whether Berger plans to adjourn next Thursday for a few weeks or until the start of the short session, which is likely to begin in April or May. For the Senate, a lot depends on whether they can override the Governor’s budget veto before they leave. The House, on the other hand, still has legislative redistricting hanging over its head. And then there’s the congressional redistricting trial, which began this week. If teacher pay does not get resolved next week, then that’s another issue that could bring the General Assembly back to Raleigh before next spring. And don’t forget, there’s been talk of having a special session on Medicaid expansion. Stay tuned. We’ll keep you posted on the General Assembly’s comings and goings.


Mini Budgets

So far this session, 12 mini budget bills have been signed into session law by the Governor. In addition to HB 377: Teacher Step Act, four other mini budget bills were introduced this week:

The following are two additional mini budget bills that were introduced at the beginning of the month, passed the House and Senate, and have been sent to the Governor:


Highlights of K-12 Education Bill

HB 377: Teacher Step Act (all sections are consistent with HB 966 unless otherwise noted)

  • Passed the Senate and sent to the House
  • Appropriates funds for principal salary increases for each year of the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium
  • Establishes the 2019-2020 Teacher Monthly Salary Schedule for teachers and instructional support personnel to receive applicable salary step increases
  • Authorizes salary supplements for highly qualified NC teaching graduates entering the teaching profession in the 2019-2021 fiscal biennium
  • Provides principal salary increases for the 2019-2020 fiscal year based on school average daily membership and school growth scores
  • Provides principal bonuses, consistent with HB 966, but changes the application of bonuses to not apply to principals who are no longer employed as a principal or whose last workday is prior to November 1, 2019 (was October 1) and requires the bonus to be paid no later than November 30, 2019 (was October 31)
    • Eliminates the principal double bonus for principals in schools with D or F performance grades
    • The chart below shows the bonus increase for principals in the top 5% and 10%
Statewide Growth Percentage 2019-2020 Bonus 2018-2019 Bonus
Top 5% $15,000 $10,000
Top 10% $10,000 $7,500
Top 15% $5,000 $5,000
Top 20% $2,500 $2,500
Top 50% $1,000 $1,000


  • Establishes the Principal Recruitment Supplement Program, which will provide an annual salary supplement of $30,000 for up to 36 months for a principal who is paid on the exceeded growth column of the salary schedule and accepts employment at a low-performing school that is in the bottom 5%
    • The principal remains eligible for the 36 months regardless of future school performance grades or whether the principal continues to be paid based on the exceeded growth column
  • Authorizes assistant principal salary step increases for the 2019-2020 fiscal year based on years of experience
    • Pay is based on the “A” teacher salary schedule, plus 19%
  • Authorizes salary step increases based on years of experience for employees of schools operated by DHHS, DPS, and SBE who are paid on the teacher salary schedule
  • Clarifies that application of salary increases for principals does not apply to persons separated from service due to resignation, dismissal, reduction in force, death, or retirement whose last workday is prior to June 30, 2019
  • Clarifies what sections are repealed if HB 966 becomes law


Cash Abated Bond Proposal

The NC Education Facilities Coalition, of which NCSBA is a member, sent a letter to Governor Cooper, Senator Berger, and Speaker Moore on Thursday, October 24 urging them to pass a school construction package. The letter proposes a funding mechanism dubbed Cash Abated Bond (CAB), which essentially combines the pay-as-you-go method with a statewide bond. We urge you to read the letter (click here) and contact you legislators about the need for a Statewide school construction program.


Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education – October 14

Commission members met last week to review each work group’s priorities and any changes that had been made based on discussion during the September 9th meeting. Priority topics include finance and resources, teachers, principals, early childhood/“whole child”, and assessments and accountability.

The Commission is now waiting for the public release of the Leandro recommendations report by WestEd. WestEd was chosen by both sides in the Leandro case to be the independent consultant to present proposals on how the State can ensure access to sound basic education for all NC public school students. The Commission’s goal is to have recommendations that are closely aligned with that of WestEd. The WestEd report is predicted to be released by the end of November.

Click here to access all meeting agenda items and attachments.


School Safety Grant Program Deadline

The School Safety Grant competition closes Today, October 25, 2019 at 11:59 pm. The program application can be found on the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP) grants management system: To apply, log into the system with your NCID, select your school system, and select the grant application under “Safe Schools.”

Below are tips and resources for the application process.



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 – October 25, 2019