NCSBA Legislative Update – January 17, 2020

January 14, 2020 Legislative Session

The 2019 very “long session” is one for North Carolina’s history books. The General Assembly adjourned this week, more than a year after first gaveling in on January 9, 2019. This is the first time a long session has ended in a different calendar year than it started. It’s also the first time lawmakers headed home until the short session without passing a new state budget.

The marathon session wrapped up on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, several hours after reconvening. The Senate did not attempt to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the state budget after Senate Leader Phil Berger determined that there were not enough votes for an override. Instead there was a failed attempt by the Senate to override the Governor’s veto of SB 354: Strengthening Educators’ Pay Act, which would have given non-certified and central office employees a 1% raise and an additional pay raise beyond step increases for teachers and assistant principals. The vote to override was along party lines.

Senator Berger stated during a morning press conference before Tuesday’s session that he believes the budget impasse will continue through the 2020 short session. Click here to access the press conference.

The legislature will reconvene for its 2020 short session on Tuesday, April 28.

Click here to access NCSBA’s 2019 Legislative Summary.

 

School Technology Resolution

Members of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team have met with House and Senate appropriations and education committee chairs, who are receptive to the fact that action should be taken to address the unpaid $730 million that the state still owes to public schools per a 2008 court judgment. Per state law, those funds should have been used exclusively for school technology but were instead unconstitutionally diverted by several state agencies to other purposes. For more background on this case, click here.

We would like to thank the 88 school districts (click here to see list) that have already shared and advocated their adopted resolutions. While there is still no commitment to a long-term plan, we know that your adopted resolutions are making an impact on some legislators who have recognized their district’s efforts in advocating the need for the school technology funds. We will continue to work on this issue with legislators during the interim leading up to their reconvening on April 28th.

If your district adopted the resolution but you do not see it listed, please email a copy of your resolution to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org. If your district has not adopted the resolution, click here to access an updated draft resolution for your school board to consider at its next meeting.

 

 

Click Here for the Conference Agenda.

Click Here to Register.

Conference Cost: $325

 

State Board of Education – January 8 & 9

This month the State Board of Education welcomed the 2019 Raleigh Dingman Award winner, Monte Herring. Mr. Herring will serve as the State Board’s local board of education advisor for the 2020 year. This month’s Board agenda included the 2019 Annual Charter School Report, the Istation reading assessment contract, and new graduation requirements that will implement the legislatively mandated Economics and Personal Finance course (EPF).

The annual charter school report informed the Board that charter schools account for 7.6% of the total state public school student population and that there are approximately 65,000 students on charter school waiting lists. The report contains charts and goals that were reworked by the Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) prior to presentation to the State Board. The intent was to put a more positive spin on charter schools’ impact on student diversity, school grades, and funding. Click here to read an article that highlights the report changes, and click here to read the updated report that was presented to the Board. Board approval of the charter school report is still pending.

The Board did vote to approve DPI’s proposed social studies graduation requirements. The chart below shows the current requirements compared to what the Board approved in order to include the new EPF course.

The Board also discussed the state’s K-3 reading assessment dispute concerning an emergency purchase that was made on Tuesday, January 7 by State Superintendent Mark Johnson to extend the state’s contract with Istation, which is currently under legal review. Because the Board was not informed prior to Johnson’s purchase, Chairman Eric Davis verbally confirmed that the Board did not play a role in the emergency procurement. Since the Board meeting, the state’s Chief Information Officer of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has challenged if Johnson’s purchase constituted an “emergency”. Click here to read more on the issue and Johnson’s response. Additionally, this week marked the beginning of hearings concerning the merits of the Istation contract that was awarded in 2019. Click here and here for media coverage of the hearings.

 

Candidate Filing

Candidate filing closed on Friday, December 20, 2019.

Click here to view which NC House and Senate candidates will be on the ballot in your district.

Click here to view a list of all candidates who will appear on 2020 ballots in NC.

 

 

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 – January 17, 2020