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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 12, 2020

This Week at the Legislature

Mini budget bills continued trending this week at the legislature. A committee substitute for SB 818 would maintain the current salary schedule for teachers and provide a one-time bonus of $350 for teachers and instructional support personnel.

On Tuesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee debated two education bills, HB 1071 and SB 814, that would transfer funds out of the School Bus Replacement Fund. While HB 1071 would fund increased Average Daily Membership (ADM) in K-12 public schools, SB 814 and HB 472, which also designates transfers out of the Fund, would not utilize the funds for K-12 public school needs. Senator Jim Davis, R-Macon, expressed concern about transferring a potential $13.9 million out of the Fund for this fiscal year. Appropriations Chair Senator Harry Brown, R-Onslow, assured Committee members that there was careful consideration in designating the transfers and that because of remote learning since mid-March, the Fund can afford the loss. Senator Brown also noted the importance of cautiously seeking funds to fill future needs as the State continues to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. For more about these designated transfers and the State’s efforts to fill an estimated $4.2 billion budget hole, click here.

 

The following statewide education-related bills had legislative action this week:

SB 818: Compensation of Certain School Employees

  • Committee substitute adopted by the Senate Appropriations Committee and approved by the Senate Rules Committee
  • The original bill dealing with appropriations to DPI for increased ADM in public schools was replaced with a bill that provides compensation to certain public-school employees
  • Maintains the current teacher salary schedule, principal salary schedule, principal bonuses, and assistant principal salaries in HB 377: Teacher Step Act (SL 2019-247)
  • Provides step increases for teachers and assistant principals
  • Provides a one-time, lump sum bonus of $350 to teachers and instructional support personnel employed by an LEA, charter, regional, innovative, or lab school as of October 1, 2020
  • Encourages the Governor to allocate federal funds to provide a one-time, lump sum bonus of $600 to each teacher, instructional support personnel, and noncertified personnel employed in public schools
    • Governor Cooper’s spokesperson was quoted in the media saying: “Federal guidance for CARES Act prevents (these) funds from being used for teacher bonuses”, but legislative staff disagrees.
    • For more on this controversy between state leaders, click here

HB 1071: Funds to DPI for ADM Growth

  • Passed the Senate and the House and presented to the Governor on Friday, June 12
  • Appropriates $100.9 million in nonrecurring funds to be used to fund increased ADM in public schools for the 2020-21 fiscal year
    • $75 million from the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund
    • $3.9 million from the School Bus Replacement Fund
    • $22 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund
  • See the chart below for how ADM funds were calculated

SB 476: School-Based Mental Health

  • Signed into SL 2020-7 on Monday, June 8
  • Requires SBE to adopt a model mental health training program for school personnel who work with K-12 students
    • Program addresses youth mental health, suicide prevention, substance abuse, sexual abuse prevention, sex trafficking prevention, and teen dating violence
  • Requires SBE to adopt a model suicide risk referral protocol for school personnel who work with students in grades 6-12
  • Requires public school units to adopt a training program for employees to be provided with at least six hours of initial training in the first six months of employment and at least two hours in subsequent years

HB 158: Waive Road Test Requirement

  • Conference report adopted by the House and the Senate
  • Temporarily waives the road test requirement to obtain an initial provisional driver’s license (Level 2 limited provisional license)
  • The conference report includes contents of HB 1189: Driver Education COVID-19 Response, which provides accommodations for driver education coursework interrupted by school closures on March 13

SB 816: Funds for CC Enrollment Growth/CIHS Funds

  • Committee substitute adopted by the House Appropriations Committee and passed the House
  • The committee substitute includes $1.9 million in nonrecurring funds for the following cooperative innovative high schools for the 2020-21 fiscal year:
  1. The Center for Industry, Technology, and Innovation (Nash-Rocky Mount)
  2. The Innovation Early College High School (Pitt)
  3. The Marine Sciences and Technologies Early College High School (Carteret)
  4. The Roanoke Rapids Early College High School
  5. The Southeast Area Technical High School (New-Hanover)
  6. Halifax Early College High School
  7. Stanly STEM Early College High School
  8. Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences High School

HB 1079: Various Sales Tax Changes – signed into SL 2020-6 on Friday, June 5

SB 379: Retirement Systems Admin. Changes – passed the Senate and presented to the Governor on Thursday, June 11

SB 719: Retirement Tech/Protect/& Other Changes – passed the House and sent to the Senate

 

The following local education-related bills had legislative action this week:

HB 1199: Graduating Sr Numeric Grade/Appropriate Funds

  • Passed the Senate and ratified as SL 2020-13
  • Converted from a statewide bill to a local bill only affecting Union County

HB 1151: Asheville-Buncombe Bd. of Trustees – passed the Senate, failed to concur in the House, and conference committee appointed

Click here to view the status of education-related bills.

 

State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met for a called meeting on Thursday, June 11. Board members addressed the following:

Following Monday’s release of DHHS’s 26-page Public Health Toolkit for reopening K-12 schools, DPI staff presented implementation plans in a guidebook for reopening North Carolina’s public schools. Board members were provided with a presentation that summarizes the guidance and includes navigation links. Webinars addressing each component of the guidebook will be begin next Wednesday, June 17.

While DHHS and DPI staff share the goal of entering the 2020-21 school year utilizing Plan A guidance, which requires minimal social distancing, Plan B and Plan C guidance are also thoroughly discussed in the guidebook. DHHS and DPI staff stated that the current metrics being used to ease statewide restrictions will also be used in this process.

There is collaboration among the Governor, DHHS, DPI, and SBE to decide on a plan by July 1, and the application of the plan will be statewide. As of now, school districts will be given discretion in implementing tighter restrictions than what is provided in the chosen plan, but there was no definite answer to Board member questions regarding the application of the guidance on a district-by-district level. Ultimately, the SBE approved the guidebook as presented and plans to address policy recommendations based on implementation of the guidance in future meetings.

The Board approved five allotment policies in response to the passage of HB 1043: 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act (SL 2020-4):

For more information on each policy’s purpose, eligibility, allotment formula, and provisions, click the links above.

Click here to access all meeting materials

 

 

 

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 – June 12, 2020