My Blog

NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 17, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team continues to follow action being taken by local, state, and federal government in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). NCSBA has also been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

NC DHHS has reported 5,859 positive cases for COVID-19 in 93 counties, and 152 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the NCDHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus.

 

From the House Select Committee on COVID-19

The Education Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Thursday, April 16. The meeting began with review of statutes related to K-12 funding flexibility and K-3 class size issues.

  • K-3 Class Size Reductions
    • Delay the current phase for K-3 class size reductions and program enhancement funding for LEAs by one year
  • LEA Funding Flexibility
    • For the remainder of the 2019-20 school year and the 2020-21 school year, allow LEAs funding flexibility similar to what was permitted in 2013 by prohibiting transfers only from the career and technical education, students with disabilities, and Read to Achieve allotments, and allowing flexibility to transfer from all other allotments
    • For the 2020-21 school year, allow LEAs flexibility to use textbooks allotment to purchase digital learning devices
  • Principal Salaries
    • If the 2020-21 salary scale includes a higher rate of pay based on growth, use growth data up to the 2018-19 school year to control principal salaries through the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year, and do not use any data from the 2019-20 school year

If local school board members have opinions in support of or opposition to these statute modifications, it is important that they communicate with their legislative delegation.

Working Group members were also presented with a 9-page omnibus draft bill, which is a consolidation of last week’s education issues that require immediate attention. The draft legislation was presented for discussion only. There were no amendments and no votes. It was indicated that K-3 class size reductions, LEA funding flexibility, principal salaries, and other concerns will be added to the draft bill. Click here to access the draft bill summary to see the issues addressed. The Education Working Group was told by the chairs that it will be voting on a comprehensive education bill next week. It was also announced that the chairs would be discussing potential changes to the school calendar.

Click here to view a list of statutes that the Education Working Group has recommended to be modified in the upcoming short session.

 

The Continuity of State Operations Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 14.  The Working Group reviewed a chart of potential legislative actions submitted by state agencies, local government associations, and the committee co-chairs. On pages 3 and 4 of the chart, the following proposals for clarifying the Open Meetings law (Chapter 143, Article 33C) are listed:

  • Clarify authority to meet remotely – full council, other board meetings, public hearings
  • Flexibility with open meeting laws and remote participation
  • Public meeting/public hearing requirements – consideration of some virtual options

 

From the State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met at 12:30 pm on Thursday, April 16 for an emergency meeting. The following legislative requests were approved:

The Board also discussed approval of SBE policy modifications in response to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It was indicated that the U.S. Department of Education has not clearly stated whether the 2019-20 or 2018-19 ADM numbers are to be used for allotment distribution. The estimate linked below is based on the 2019-20 ADM, so please note that this could change before being finalized.

During discussion of the CARES Act funding, State Superintendent Mark Johnson notified the Board of an SBE request sent to the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) on Wednesday, April 15 for $250 million in coronavirus relief. Superintendent Johnson stated that the Board did not know about the request before it was sent by Chairman Eric Davis on the Board’s behalf. Chairman Davis responded by saying that the request will be discussed at a future meeting. Four Board members confirmed their lack of knowledge of the $250 million OSBM request and asked to be sent a copy.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

Click here to view State Board of Education statutory modification recommendations to the General Assembly.

 

From the Governor

Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group

The Governor’s Education & Nutrition Working Group held a meeting on Thursday, April 16. The following information was presented.

Mental Health Resources

  • Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463)
    • Connects North Carolinians to mental health and resilience supports
    • Available 24/7 to speak with a live person
  • Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002)
    • Provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings, and their families
    • Currently a reach-out/follow-up model – working towards more immediate contact

Resources

 

Governor’s Press Releases

 

Additional Resources

NSBA Efforts

The following excerpt was published in NSBA’s weekly newsletter on April 10.

“NSBA joined a number of other national K-12 groups in asking Congress to provide an additional $200 billion for K-12 education relief to help offset declining local and state revenues and meet other related student and school needs through Title I, IDEA, and the E-rate program. We intend to continue urging Congress to provide these needed resources as part of the next emergency bill, but the request may not be considered until the CARES Act’s emergency K-12 funds are distributed by the Department of Education to state and local education agencies.”

 

North Carolina 2020 Census Tracker

Carolina Demography has been tracking North Carolina response rates to the 2020 Census. As of April 12:

  • North Carolina’s national rank of census responses is 36 out of 50 states and DC, which is a one rank increase from the previous week
  • 9% of North Carolina households have completed the census, which is below the national average of 47.9%

We ask that local school board members highlight this information to constituents, noting that federal funding, including education funding, relies on this data. The links below contain information about the week ending on April 12.

 

 

 

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 Alert – April 17, 2020