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Legislative Alert – Mar 3

Legislative Alert – Mar 3

K-3 CLASS SIZE FIX 

Please continue to contact your Senator(s) in support of HB 13.  Click here to find your Senator(s).

As you are talking about HB 13 with your Senator(s) an important point to remember is that the General Assembly has invested nearly $200 million since 2011 with the intent of lowering early grade class sizes.  HB 13 recognizes this investment while preserving flexibility to generate dollars for specialty teachers.

Remember you need to be prepared in your 2017-18 local budget requests to ask for both the current expense and capital funding necessary to implement the scheduled changes to K-3 class size averages.  We suggest that the needed funds be broken out and shown as a separate line-item in your local budget request.  This will put a public spotlight on what the changes to K-3 class size averages are costing LEAs.  Please also share with us the monetary impact of the K-3 class size changes in your district.

 

Talking Points on HB 13

HB 13 bill would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that are set to take effect this coming school year.

b) Give LEAs the flexibility to have a differential of 3 between the funded and average classroom teacher ratios starting in 2017-18 for K-3, which has been the historical practice.  The differential of 3 for average class sizes returns 75% of the flexibility that is allowed (not necessarily used) this school year.

While understanding that HB 13 is not a perfect solution to the K-3 class size issue, remember that if nothing passes on this districts will be forced to equalize the funded and average ratios in 2017-18 which could lead to (i) drastic cuts in art, music, and physical education teaching positions in K-3; (ii) an increase in class sizes in grades 4-12; or (iii) a funding hole that would need to be filled by an infusion of local dollars.

SCHOOL CALENDAR BILLS

A few more local school calendar flexibility bills were introduced this week.  Below is an update on the status of school calendar flexibility bills in the General Assembly this session.

 

– 27 local bills giving various types of calendar flexibility to 53 school systems.
– 1 statewide bill-allows all LEAs to begin school no earlier than August 10 (HB 53 sponsored by Reps. Cody Henson, Kevin Corbin, Mitch Setzer, and Michele Presnell).
Click here to see if a calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA.

 

*Action Needed/Draft Local Calendar Bill*

If NO local calendar flexibility bills have yet been filed for your LEA:
Please ask members of your local delegation, particularly on the Senate side, to introduce a local bill giving your LEA calendar flexibility.  Use this draft local bill:  click here for the draft bill.

If a local calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA only in the House:
(1) Be sure to thank the bill sponsor(s).
AND
(2) Ask your Senate members to introduce a similar local calendar flexibility bill for your LEA in the Senate.
Use this draft local bill:  click here for the draft bill.

If a local calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA in the Senate:
Be sure to thank the bill sponsor(s).

GOVERNOR’S BUDGET

Governor Roy Cooper released his budget proposal this week.  Highlights of the governor’s budget proposals for public schools are as follows:

– 10% average salary increase for teachers over two years.
– 6.5% average salary increase for school-based administrators.
– The greater of 2% or $800 salary increase for non-certified staff, plus a $500 non-recurring bonus.
– $20 million in lottery funds to allow LEAs to hire additional school personnel.
– 4,700 additional NC Pre-K slots over two years.
– $10 million for additional interventions in low-performing schools.

You can read the full budget proposal here.


EQUAL ACCESS/TEBOW BILL

A bill has been filed in the Senate requiring LEAs to allow private, homeschool, and charter school students to play on sports teams and participate in extracurriculars at traditional high schools.  There would also be a requirement that public high school students without access to a particular sport or extracurricular be allowed to participate in that sport/activity at the closest public high school that offers it.

These bills have popped up around the country in recent years and are referred to as “Tebow” bills, named after the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow who was homeschooled in Florida but allowed to play football at his local high school.  There are currently 22 states that give homeschoolers a right to play on their local public school sports teams.

The Tebow bill that has been filed in the Senate is SB 159.  It is sponsored by Senators Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, Warren Daniel, R-Cleveland, and Chad Barefoot, R-Wake.  NCSBA opposes SB 159.

COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEE APPOINTMENTS

The House moved a local bill this week taking away two school boards’ authority to appoint community college Trustees.  These provisions were added into HB 12, which also strips the Governor of his authority to appoint certain community college Trustees.

HB 12 takes Trustee appointing authority away from the Cleveland and Davidson school boards.  The provision applying to Cleveland appeared in the bill when it came up in committee.  The Davidson provision was added via a House floor amendment from Rep. Larry Potts, R-Davidson.  This bill and another one dealing with community college Trustee appointments, HB 14, are now going to the Senate.  We will be keeping an eye on these bills in the Senate as it is possible additional school boards could be added and similarly stripped of their Trustee appointing power.  Up to 15 counties can be put into local bills.  If you are concerned about your board being added to either of these bills make sure to reach out to your Senator(s) and let them know.

OTHER ACTIVITY IN THE HOUSE THIS WEEK

Two notable education bills were approved this week by the House K-12 Education Committee and the House chamber.

HB 87 would ensure that the State Board of Education submit the State Plan for complying with the new federal education law (ESSA) no earlier than seven business days before the latest allowable submission date.  Currently the latest allowable submission date is September 18, 2017.

HB 97 creates a new graduation requirement directing students to earn at least one credit in an arts education course in grades 6-12.  This would go into effect with students entering sixth grade in 2020 (those who are 2nd graders this school year).    

BILLS

Action Bills:  Click here for the NCSBA-tracked bills that had action this week.

New Bills: Click here for a list of bills filed this week that NCSBA is tracking.


UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS AND EVENTS

Monday, March 6

Both chambers will convene at 7:00 PM.

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Mar 3