NCSBA Legislative Update – February 7, 2020

Leandro Update

On January 21, 2020, Judge David Lee of the Leandro case released a consent order, following the release of the WestEd report in December of 2019. The WestEd report provides recommendations for how the state can best achieve its constitutional requirement of providing every student with the opportunity to a sound basic education. Click here to access the WestEd report. Judge Lee’s consent order agreed with the WestEd report findings and required the parties in the case to present a plan within 60 days that addresses the following:

  1. A high-quality teacher in each classroom
  2. A high-quality principal in each school
  3. A finance system that provides adequate, equitable, and predictable funding to school districts
  4. An accountability system that reliably assesses multiple measures of student performance
  5. An assistance and turnaround function to provide support to low-performing schools and districts
  6. A system of early education to ensure that all students enter kindergarten on track for school success
  7. Alignment of high school to postsecondary and career expectations

Click here to access the complete consent order.

Following the release of the consent order, The Senate Education Committee has invited Judge Lee to provide insight and recommendations on education policy. Republican Legislative leaders claim that there was minimal consultation from WestEd during the development of the report, which is why the Committee is requesting a time to collaborate with Judge Lee on the implementation of the report. The Senate Education Committee hopes to meet with Judge Lee in the upcoming short session, which starts on April 28.

 

State Board of Education – February 5 & 6

This month’s Board agenda included approval of the 2019 Annual Charter School Report, the Annual Report on the State of the Teaching Profession, and amendments to SBE policy concerning emergency purchases and compliance between SBE and DPI.

The 2019 Annual Charter School Report was presented to the Board last month, during which there was lengthy discussion on the changes that had been made to the report by the Charter School Advisory Board. At this month’s meeting Vice Chair Alan Duncan and Board member Jill Camnitz both expressed their concern about many areas of the report that are less data-driven and more qualitative. Board member Camnitz, Vice Chair Duncan, and Chair Eric Davis did not join the rest of the Board in approval of the report. Click here to read the redlined version of the report, and click here to read the approved version of the report.

According to the Annual Report on the State of the Teaching Profession, teacher attrition was 7.5% for the 2018-19 school year, which is a decrease from 8.1% in 2017-18 and 8.7% in 2016-17. Data from the 2017-18 school year shows that teachers who departed from NC public school employment have lower Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) scores than those who remained in NC public schools. Data on teacher attrition by region notes that teachers are leaving NC public schools at the highest rate in the Northeast, Sandhills, and Southeast. The report dives deeper into these findings and explains the implications of the data on NC public schools, teachers, and students. Click here to access the report.

Following last month’s controversy over State Superintendent Mark Johnson’s decision to extend the state’s contract with Istation through an emergency purchase, the Board considered proposed amendments to the SBE’s policy concerning the State Superintendent’s discretion in spending state money. The proposed amendments include a monthly (or upon the request of a Board member) spending report from the Superintendent to the Board and that the Superintendent provide the State Board Chair prior notice before executing emergency contracts if time permits. Whether or not prior approval was given for the contract, the Superintendent would be required to provide a written explanation of the emergency purchase to the Board.

 

Legislative Committee Meetings

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

The Committee met on Tuesday, February 4 to review the implementation of SB 599: Excellent Educators for Every Classroom/SL 2017-189, which concerns Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs). The major components of SB 599 are as follows:

  • Created the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) to advise the State Board of Education (SBE) on standards for educator preparation, licensure, continuing education, and conduct
  • Required the SBE to annually evaluate EPPs and sanction those that fail to meet performance standards
  • Authorized entities other than colleges and universities to be EPPs
  • Replaced the lateral entry teacher program with the residency license (RL) program that requires enrollment in an EPP

Dr. Tom Tomberlin, DPI Director of Educator Recruitment and Support, reported that so far there have been 50 EPPs approved by the state, five of which are not traditional colleges or universities. Additionally, as of January 1, 2020, 4,678 teachers were under the lateral entry license, which will be completely replaced with RL by June 30, 2022, and 895 teachers were under the new RL.

The next Education Oversight meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 6 at 10:00 am in Room 1228/1327 of the Legislative Building.

 

House Select Committee on School Safety 

The Committee met on Thursday, February 6. Legislative staff reported the status of the five bills filed in the 2019 Session on behalf of the Committee:

Robert Trumbo, Executive Director of DPI’s Center for Safer Schools, spoke about several initiatives in his program, including:

  • Say Something Anonymous Reporting System phone app
    • Phasing in – 382 schools so far
    • 1,472 tips received to date, resulting in reporting 91 life safety issues to local authorities
    • Staff has worked with 62 of 115 LEAs
  • $38.8 million in school safety grants awarded from the HB 75 appropriation
  • Threat assessment training provided to schools by his 5 person staff

William Ray, Chief of Staff for the Division of Emergency Management & Office of Recovery and Resiliency, told the committee that his agency has not yet established a “ statewide panic alarm system for the purposes of launching real-time 911 messaging to public safety answering points of internal and external risks to the school population, school buildings, and school related activities.” (G.S. 115C-105.51) The General Assembly has not yet appropriated funds for a digital panic alarm system, which is estimated to cost up to $37 million.

 

School Technology Resolution

We would like to thank the 94 school districts (click here to see list) that have shared and advocated for their adopted resolutions. Members of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team have and will continue to work on the issue of the unpaid public school funds in the months leading up to the legislature reconvening on April 28. To read more background on the unpaid $730 million that the state still owes for school technology per a 2008 court judgement, click here.

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 a draft resolution for your school board to consider at its next meeting.

 

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 – February 7, 2020