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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 6, 2020

The Results are In!

North Carolina held its primary elections on Tuesday, March 3. One race has already declared a runoff election for May 12. To avoid a runoff, the leading candidate must gain at least 30% of the vote. Republicans in the 11th Congressional district, where Representative Mark Meadows is vacating his seat, will have to choose between Lynda Bennett who gained 23% of the vote and Madison Cawthorn who had 20% of the vote.

The Democratic Lieutenant Governor race has also qualified for a runoff. State Representative Yvonne Holley, D-Wake, gained 26.5% of the vote and State Senator Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, had 20.5% of the vote. Van Duyn has stated that she is taking until Tuesday, March 10 to consider a runoff election.

Two incumbent NC legislators were defeated on Tuesday: Representative Elmer Floyd, D-Cumberland and Senator Eddie Gallimore, R-Davidson. Kimberly Hardy, a school social worker, beat Representative Floyd by gaining 56% of the vote. Floyd has served in the House since 2008 and was running in a recently redrawn district. Senator Gallimore, a first-term senator, was defeated by Representative Steve Jarvis, R-Davidson with 53% of the vote.

Also on the ballot were candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Below are the results, with Jen Mangrum and Catherine Truitt winning the Democrat and Republican primaries respectively. Jen Mangrum is a UNCG School of Education associate professor and previously ran against Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, in 2018. Click here to access Mangrum’s campaign website. Catherine Truitt is the chancellor of Western Governors University NC and was the education advisor for former Republican Governor Pat McCrory. Click here to access Truitt’s campaign website.

 

Democrats

Jen Mangrum 33.14%
Keith Sutton 26.64%
Constance (Lav) Johnson 21.11%
James Barrett 10.77%
Michael Maher 8.34%

 

Republicans

Catherine Truitt 56.67%
Craig Horn 43.33%

 

All State House and Senate seats were on the ballot.

Click here to see NC House and Senate candidates.

Click here to see NC House and Senate races to watch.

Some counties also voted on local sales tax and bond referenda. Click here to see those results.

For all other primary election results, including local school boards, click here to navigate the State Board of Elections website.

 

Fines and Forfeitures/School Technology Resolution

We would like to thank the 105 school districts (click here to see list) that have shared and advocated for their adopted resolutions. Members of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team continue to work towards an agreement for the unpaid $730 million for school technology in the weeks leading up to the legislature reconvening on April 28. To read more background on this court judgment, 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.

 

State Board of Education – March 4 & 5

This month’s Board meeting discussions included the SBE’s recommendations for teachers who administer the NC Final Exams, the SBE’s consolidated report on student discipline, and a recently executed SBE contract.

SB 621/S.L. 2019-212 eliminates the NC Final Exams and requires the SBE and DPI to submit “a plan on how to use other means to accomplish the purposes for which data is collected by the NC Final Exam.” The Board was presented with an assessment model that would measure teacher effectiveness under three lenses: professional practice, instructional practice, and student growth. Board members discussed the importance of a standardized assessment in evaluating teacher effectiveness, which was the purpose of the NC Final Exams. On Thursday, the Board voted to approve the submission of the assessment model but acknowledged that there is still the responsibility of establishing a measurement of teacher effectiveness until this new model can be implemented. To read the SBE’s and DPI’s alternative for measuring teacher effectiveness, click here.

Board members were also presented with a Consolidated Data Report for the 2018-2019 school year that includes the following annual reports: school crime & violence, suspensions & expulsions, the use of corporal punishment, reassignments for disciplinary reasons, alternative learning placements, and dropout rates. Although the rate of reportable crimes has decreased for the third year in a row, there was much discussion about the disproportional number of black students being expelled, compared to other racial and ethnic groups. The high rates of American Indian, black, and multiracial students being placed into alternative learning programs was also cause for concern. Many Board members expressed recommendations for reports in the years to come, mostly concerning differentiating between reportable offenses and subjective offenses, like disrespect and insubordination. Goal I of the SBE’s strategic plan is to eliminate opportunity gaps by 2025, which contains the objective of decreasing the number of exclusionary discipline practices by subgroup. To read the annual report, click here. To read an article summarizing the report and the Board’s discussion, click here.

The Board also engaged in a heated discussion concerning a contract that State Superintendent Mark Johnson claims was not executed under Board policy. Superintendent Johnson stated that the contract signed with the Southern Regional Education Board, who presented to the SBE last month about recommended changes to the school performance grade system, was for $31,000. Contracts over $25,000 require competitive bidding, which Johnson claimed he found no evidence of. Chairman Eric Davis acknowledged his fault in signing the contract and stated that issues with the contract were being addressed. The conversation did not stop there, with Superintendent Johnson attempting to dig deeper into the error. This discussion follows last month’s introduction of proposed amendments to the SBE’s policy concerning the State Superintendent’s discretion in spending state money. Those proposed amendments were a result of Superintendent Johnson’s emergency purchase to extend the state’s contract with Istation on January 7, 2020. To read more about the discussion at this month’s meeting, click here and here.

 

Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee

The JLEOC met on Friday, March 6 to learn about child nutrition and career and technical education (CTE) programs.

 

Child Nutrition

Dr. Lynn Harvey, DPI Director of School Nutrition and District Operations, reported that North Carolina has the seventh largest School Nutrition Program in the country, with 60% of our students qualifying for free or reduced meals. In school year 2019-2020, 104 LEAs (57 LEAs district-wide and 47 LEAs in selected schools) participated in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the National School Lunch Program that provides meals to all students at no charge, regardless of economic status. Representatives from Bladen and Cumberland counties explained how CEP is working in their districts. Julie Pittman, Educator Outreach Manager for No Kid Hungry North Carolina, said hunger is an education issue, an economic issue, and a health issue. Three out of four public school teachers say that students regularly come to school hungry. Hungry children are sick more often, recover more slowly, and are hospitalized more frequently. And children struggling with hunger are more likely to drop out of high school. Ms. Pittman advocated for more state funding of school meal programs.

 

Career and Technical Education (CTE) 

Alexis Schauss, DPI Chief Business Officer, explained that the CTE Program is funded 95% by the state ($476 million) and 5% by the federal Perkins Act ($25 million) for FY 2019-2020. Representatives from CTE programs in Onslow and Randolph counties were concerned about inadequate funding for their programs. Nancy Cross, Randolph County CTE Director, said that funds are allotted for students in grades 8-12, but the programs serve students in grades 6-12 (some serve even younger grades). Ms. Cross also had the following comments: (1) LEAs send part of their CTE funds to charter schools even though charter schools do not have to use the funds for CTE, (2) the state does not adequately fund the cost of seeking industry credentials enrolled in trade programs, and (3) the position of a CTE coordinator in schools should be considered an essential position (like a counselor) and be given a separate funding allotment

 

Click here to access all meeting materials.

The next Education Oversight meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11 at 10:00 am in Room 1027/1128 of the Legislative Building.

 

 

 

 

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 – March 6, 2020