Legislative Alerts

Legislative Alert – Mar 10

SCHOOL BOARD LOCAL FUNDING LAWSUIT AUTHORITY

Four House members filed legislation on Thursday eliminating school boards’ ability to file litigation challenging local funding sufficiency.  HB 305 is identical to the bill that the House voted down in 2015.  It is sponsored by Reps. Debra Conrad, R-Forsyth, Larry Potts, R-Davidson, Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Michael Wray, D-Northampton.  Three of the four sponsors are former county commissioners.

Last session, NCSBA and the NC Association of County Commissioners agreed to have the General Assembly study the current process for resolving education funding disputes between school boards and county commissioners.  This study is currently underway and the final report is due by May 1.  NCSBA is asking lawmakers to hold off on hearing HB 305 until this report’s findings and recommendations are released.


SCHOOL CALENDAR BILL UPDATE

As of March 10:

– 41 local bills have been filed giving various types of calendar flexibility to 74 school systems.
Local calendar flexibility bills filed in the Senate:  12
Local calendar flexibility bills filed in the House:  29

– 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.


FUNDING/SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION & SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS 

A Senate bill filed this week would put new lottery dollars towards two of the most pressing challenges facing LEAs- school capital and salaries for school-based administrators.  SB 234 is sponsored by Senators Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, Harry Brown, R-Onslow, and Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell.  The bill’s two components are as follows.

SB 234 School Construction Monies

Up to $100 million in new school capital lottery dollars would be put into a special fund each fiscal year, to be distributed ONLY to Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties (all but 20 of the counties in the state).  Individual counties would be eligible for no more than $10 million each fiscal year.  This would be in addition to the regular school construction lottery allocation.

The bill would give the State Superintendent a great deal of power to determine who gets the new funding.  While Tier 1 counties would have to receive first priority, the other criteria for distributing the funding would include things like total need compared to tax base, high debt-to-tax ratio, and type of individual construction projects.

Counties that are awarded these monies would also have to put up a local match.

To see which counties are considered Tier 1, 2, and 3 click here.

SB 234 School- Based Administrator Funding

Lottery Block Grants for Principal Pay
LEAs would receive lottery dollars for principal salaries in 2017-18 in the form of a block grant of that district’s average 16-17 principal salary plus 7%.  Local superintendents would determine each principal’s salary, except that no principal could make less than they earned in 2016-17.

Lottery Principal Bonus Program
There would be $6.7 million in lottery funds set aside for principal bonuses.  All principals would get a one-time $2,600 bonus in 2017-18 and then principals selected by superintendents would receive an additional $1,000 performance-based bonus.

Assistant Principal Pay
The assistant principal salary schedule would track the “A” teacher salary schedule plus an additional 13%.

Click here to read more about the bill and to watch a press conference from the bill sponsors.

SCHOOL GRADES/GROWTH

A House bill has been filed to give growth more credit in the calculation of school A-F grades.  The bill is HB 322, sponsored by Reps. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus, Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes, and Craig Horn, R-Union.  HB 322 would make the growth and performance county 50/50 in the calculation of A-F grades.


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 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.

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 13

7:00 PM
Governor Roy Cooper will deliver the State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly.

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Mar 10
read more

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
read more
Legislative Alert – Feb 24, 17

Legislative Alert – Feb 24, 17

K-3 CLASS SIZE FIX UPDATE/COMMITTEE HEARING

The K-3 class size issue was a major topic of discussion during a joint hearing of the House and Senate Education Appropriations Committees this week.  Outgoing DPI Chief Financial Officer Phillip Price explained to the committee that LEAs have had the flexibility to generate funds for specialty teachers since 1985.  Senator Jerry Tillman, R-Moore, explained that it frustrates him to see State funds intended for class size reductions used for program enhancement teachers and “others.”

“It’s sort of a running joke that we can go ahead and exceed that by five or six.  What is the punishment? Nothing.  So what holds you to doing exactly what the legislation says you will do and reduce those class sizes,” Sen. Tillman said.

Senator Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, one of the Co-Chairs of the Senate’s Education Committee, asked Mr. Price what guidance DPI or the State Board had given to school districts about how the K-3 class size funds could be used.

“The funding that goes to the school districts is funded in total…..it is the school district and local board’s responsibility to make sure they adhere to the state guidelines and the state laws and the State Board policies.  But they place the teachers and hire the combination of teachers that are necessary to meet the needs of their particular school system,” Mr. Price said.

This hearing served as a reminder of HB 13’s uncertain fate in the Senate.  As we advised last week, 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.

HB 13 remains in the Senate Rules Committee.  Please continue to contact your Senator(s) in support of HB 13.  Click here to find your Senator(s). 

Talking Points on HB 13

HB 13 bill would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that would otherwise take effect this upcoming 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 what 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

Several school calendar flexibility bills have already been filed a month into this 2017 legislative session.

  • 19 local bills giving various types of calendar flexibility to 41 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).


FUNDING FORMULA STUDY BILL PASSES HOUSE

Legislation creating a special committee to examine a restructuring of the State’s method for funding public schools passed the House this week.  HB 6 authorizes a special committee made up of lawmakers to study and develop a way to restructure the State’s K-12 funding system using the “weighted-student formula.”



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, February 27

The Senate will convene at 4:00.

The House will convene at 7:00.

Tuesday, February 28

 

8:30 AM
The House Finance Committee will meet.

10:00 AM
The House K-12 Education Committee will meet.

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Feb 24, 17
read more
Legislative Alert – Feb 17, 17

Legislative Alert – Feb 17, 17

K-3 CLASS SIZE FIX UPDATE

HB 13 unanimously passed the House on Thursday 114-0.  The K-3 class size fix bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

While the House was fully supportive of HB 13, it is not clear to us how the measure will fare on the Senate side As your LEA develops your local budget request for 2017-18, you need to be prepared 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 additional funding needed to implement the class size changes in your LEA be broken out as a separate line-item in your local budget request.  This will put a public spotlight on the actual monetary impact of the K-3 class size changes.  Please also share with us what you estimate the financial impact of the class size changes will be.

Also note that the NC Association of School Administrators has sent a survey to superintendents on behalf of the Senate about how the money generated through the funded/average K-3 class size differential is used.  The purpose of this survey is to gather data on this issue for the Senate to examine before taking any action.  We know that not all LEAs have returned the survey and we have concerns about what the Senate’s reaction will be for those LEAs that do not return the survey.

Please contact your Senate members in support of HB 13.  Click here to find your Senate members.  Talking points on HB 13 are below.

Talking Points on HB 13

HB 13 would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that have passed and are scheduled to take effect in the upcoming 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 what 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 there is no legislative fix, teacher allotment flexibility will disappear and 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; (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.

If the Senate does not pass this bill soon, LEAs might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption that they will not have this important flexibility.

Outside Coverage

There continue to be strong voices publicly opposing HB 13.  Click here and here for more recent example of this.

PARTISAN SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS

Senate Bill 94 was filed this week to require all elected local school boards to be partisan (along with city council and judicial races).  Please communicate any concerns you have with this bill to members of your local delegation, particularly if you serve on a board that is currently nonpartisan.  The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

One of the significant concerns with making all elected school boards partisan is that, because of a federal law called the Hatch Act, school board members who are also federal employees may not be able to continue serving on their local board.  The Hatch Act restricts federal employees from engaging in partisan political activities.  There are also concerns that making all elected school boards partisan would dissuade individuals working in the non-profit sector from running and/or serving because they may not be comfortable making partisan public statements while under the employ of a tax-exempt organization.


SCHOOL CALENDAR

A report on the school calendar law was released by the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division (PED) on Monday.  The report surveyed school board members, superintendents, school personnel, parents, and others about their thoughts on various aspects of the current calendar law.  We were asked to express appreciation to all school districts for responding to this calendar survey.  You can read the report at this link.

The report shows that those who run school districts as well as parents are dissatisfied with several aspects of the calendar law.  It noted that both school personnel and parents complain about the same scheduling problems created by the restrictive parameters of the calendar law.  Eighty percent of LEA superintendents reported that the State mandated start and end dates make scheduling the start and end of the school year somewhat or very difficult.  Another notable finding was that over 60% of respondents in two citizen polls believed that school calendar design should be a local decision instead of following mandates from the State.

Despite these findings, the report makes no recommendation for changing the school calendar law because “the disagreement among stakeholders about when North Carolina should start and end the school year cannot be reconciled.”

The report does recommend that calendar flexibility be given to low-performing schools and low-performing LEAs.  It reviews the extensive documentation on how summer learning loss significantly impacts low-income children.

FUNDING FORMULA STUDY

A proposal to establish a special committee for examining alternative ways of funding public schools was discussed by the House K-12 Education Committee Tuesday.  Lawmakers spent most of the meeting debating who should sit on the special committee and whether the special committee should look at any alternative way of funding public schools or only look into a method called the “weighted student” formula.  A modified version of the bill is anticipated to come back up when the committee meets again next week.  A copy of the bill as filed is here.  If you want to watch a video of the meeting you can click here.

BILLS

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

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


UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE MEETINGS

Monday, February 20

4:00 PM

The House will convene for session

7:00 PM
The Senate will convene for session

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Feb 17, 17
read more
Legislative Alert – Feb 10, 17

Legislative Alert – Feb 10, 17

K-3 Class Size Fix Update

Two House committees voted to recommended HB 13 this week.  Both the House K-12 Education and House Appropriations Committees unanimously voted in favor of this bill to restore most of the flexibility on K-3 class size averages that is set to be eliminated next school year.  We anticipate the bill will hit the House floor on Tuesday.  Please be contacting your House members in support of HB 13.

You can click here to find your House delegation.

Talking Points

HB 13 would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that have passed and are scheduled to take effect in the upcoming 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 what 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, NCSBA believes it to be the solution that is most viable and most likely to pass at this time.  Remember that if there is no legislative fix, teacher allotment flexibility will disappear and 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; (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.

If the General Assembly does not take action on the K-3 class size issue soon, districts might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption of not having this important flexibility.

Additional Coverage 

Outside groups are continuing to push the argument that school districts are the reason for the K-3 class size problem and that HB 13 would just be used for partisan political purposes.  Click here to read another example of this.

Resolution

Sample K-3 Class Size Resolution:  click here


School Calendar

A bill to give all LEAs additional calendar flexibility was filed this week.  HB 53- School Calendar Modification would move the earliest school start date to August 10.  The bill as filed also has a provision that would eliminate any requirement that calendars have a minimum number of instructional days (there would only be a requirement for a minimum number of hours).  NCSBA has had concerns about this provision and shared those concerns with one of the bill sponsors.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division is scheduled to release a report on the school calendar law on Monday, February 13.  The report will be posted to the Division’s website at this link.


Crossover

April 27 is this year’s deadline for crossover, which is the date by which most statewide bills must pass one chamber in order to remain eligible for the remainder of the biennium.

Bills

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


Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, February 13

3:00 PM

The House will convene for session

4:00 PM
The Senate will convene for session

Tuesday, February 14

10:00 AM
The House K-12 Education Committee will meet and consider the following bills
HB 6 – Ed. Finance Reform Task Force/PED Report

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Feb 10, 17
read more
Legislative Alert – Feb 3, 17

Legislative Alert – Feb 3, 17

K-3 Class Size Fix

HB 13 is the K-3 class size fix legislation sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), and Chris Malone (R-Wake).  The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House K-12 Education Committee on Tuesday, February 7 at 10 AM.  Please be contacting members of the committee in support of HB 13.  Click here to find the members of the House K- 12 Education Committee.

HB 13 would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that have passed and are scheduled to take effect in the upcoming 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 what 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, NCSBA believes it to be the solution that is most viable and most likely to pass at this time.  Remember that if there is no legislative fix, teacher allotment flexibility will disappear and 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; (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.

If the General Assembly does not take action on the K-3 class size issue soon, districts might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption of not having this important flexibility.

Additional Coverage 

There are some groups making the argument that this problem was created by districts misusing money and that any change to the law would be used for partisan political purposes.  Click here and here to read examples.  Points raised in these blog posts are becoming a major concern for some legislators and could potentially present a hurdle to enacting a compromise.

Click here for a WRAL story on the issue, which includes some comments attributed to Sen. Jerry Tillman.

Resources on K-3 Class Size Issue

Sample K-3 Class Size Resolution:  click here
If your school board passes this resolution please send a copy to Sean Holmes at NCSBA at sholmes@ncsba.org.  Also send a copy to your local delegation, as well as:

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (Phil.Berger@ncleg.net)

House Speaker Tim Moore (Tim.Moore@ncleg.net)

Rep. Debra Conrad (Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Rep. Craig Horn (Craig.Horn@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Rep. Linda Johnson (Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Sen. Chad Barefoot (Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net) – Senate Education Co-Chair

Sen. David Curtis (David.Curtis@ncleg.net) – Senate Education Co-Chair

Sen. Michael Lee (Michael.Lee@ncleg.net) – Senate Education Co-Chair

DPI Turnover

Some significant changes are occurring at the top levels of the NC Department of Public Instruction.  There have been at least three announcements of resignations or retirements from top level DPI staff members in recent days.  Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction Rebecca Garland is retiring and was recognized at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting for her long service to public education.  Chief Financial Officer Philip Price will be retiring effective March 1.  Legislative and Community Affairs Director Rachel Beaulieu is transitioning to private sector work and February 3 is her last day with DPI.

These changes come alongside the switch to the new Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson.  Click here to read more about DPI’s shift in leadership.

Bills

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


Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, February 6

The Senate will convene at 4:00 for a skeleton session (no votes taken)

The House will convene at 7:00 for a skeleton session  (no votes taken)


Tuesday, February 7

10:00 AM
The House K-12 Education Committee is scheduled to take up HB 13.

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Feb 3, 17
read more
Legislative Alert – Jan 27, 17

Legislative Alert – Jan 27, 17

Federal Secretary of Education Nomination and Hearings

Newly elected President Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to be the federal Secretary of the Department of Education.  Mrs. DeVos, a Republican from Michigan, had her confirmation hearing last Tuesday and the US Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination on Tuesday, January 31 (originally had been scheduled for this week).

NCSBA takes no position on the nomination.  Senator Richard Burr is a member of the HELP committee that will be voting on her nomination.  If you wish to share any comments about the nomination with Senator Burr you can email him at this link: https://www.burr.senate.gov/contact/email or you can call his DC office at 202.224.3154.

Below are some additional resources about the DeVos nomination and confirmation hearing.

Watch the entire hearing here.

Read about the hearing here.

Read a background profile of Ms. DeVos here

2017 Session Begins/K-3 Class Size Fix Re-filed

Lawmakers returned to Raleigh on Wednesday to begin official legislative business for the 2017 session. The first set of bills were filed and standing committee members were named this week.  Both chambers held a couple of skeleton sessions with no votes before adjourning for the week.  Lawmakers will reconvene Monday at 4:00.

Among the first bills to be filed this week was the K-3 class size fix bill NCSBA tried to advance during the December special session.  The bill number is again HB 13 but it is a separate bill from the bill filed last session.  This one is sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), and Craig Horn (R-Union).  Even though it is a separate bill it is identical in language to the version filed last session.  HB 13 would:

1) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that would otherwise take effect this upcoming school year.

2) 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 what 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, NCSBA believes it to be the solution that is most viable and most likely to pass at this time.  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.

If the General Assembly does not take action on the K-3 class size issue soon districts might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption that the extra funding will not be provided.


Resources on K-3 Class Size Issue

Sample K-3 Class Size Resolution:  click here
If your school board passes this resolution please send a copy to Sean Holmes at NCSBA at sholmes@ncsba.org.  Also send a copy to Speaker Moore, Senate President Pro Tem Berger and the Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees:  Reps. Debra Conrad, Jeffrey Elmore, Craig Horn, Linda Johnson; Senators Chad Barefoot, David Curtis, Michael Lee.

You can read media coverage of HB 13 here and here.  Note that the latter story contains a quote from a former General Assembly staffer.


2017 Committee Memberships

Below are the memberships of notable committees for K-12 public education that have been assigned for this session.

House K-12 Education Committee

Rep. Debra Conrad – Chair Rep. Holly Grange Rep. Amos Quick
Rep. Jeffrey Elmore – Chair Rep. Destin Hall Rep. Dennis Riddell
Rep. Craig Horn – Chair Rep. Kyle Hall Rep. David Rogers
Rep. Linda Johnson – Chair Rep. Jon Hardister Rep. Jason Saine
Rep. Cecil Brockman Rep. Cody Henson Rep. Phillip Shepard
Rep. Bobbie Richardson Rep. Howard Hunter Rep. Scott Stone
Rep. John Ager Rep. Pat Hurley Rep. Rena Turner
Rep. John Bradford Rep. Frank Iler Rep. Donna White
Rep. Kevin Corbin Rep. Bert Jones  
Rep. Jimmy Dixon Rep. Donny Lambeth  
Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield Rep. Graig Meyer  
Rep. Rosa Gill Rep. Rodney Moore  
Rep. Charles Graham Rep. Larry Pittman  

 

House Education Appropriations Committee

Rep. Hugh Blackwell – Chair Rep. Rosa Gill
Rep. Jeffrey Elmore – Chair Rep. Holly Grange
Rep. John Fraley – Chair Rep. Marvin Lucas
Rep. Craig Horn – Chair Rep. Mickey Michaux
Rep. Pat Hurley Rep. John Sauls
Rep. Debra Conrad Rep. Lee Zachary
Rep. Cynthia Ball  
Rep. Larry Bell  
Rep. Cecil Brockman  
Rep. Kevin Corbin  
Rep. Susan Fisher  

Senate Education Committee

Sen. Chad Barefoot – Co-Chair Sen. Valerie Foushee
Sen. David Curtis – Co-Chair Sen. Joyce Krawiec
Sen. Michael Lee – Co-Chair Sen. Louis Pate
Sen. Deanna Ballard Sen. Ron Rabin
Sen. Tamara Barringer Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram
Sen. Bill Cook Sen. Jeff Tarte
Sen. Don Davis Sen. Jerry Tillman
Sen. Cathy Dunn Sen. Joyce Waddell
Sen. Chuck Edwards  

Senate Education Appropriations Committee

Sen. Chad Barefoot – Co-Chair Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram
Sen. David Curtis – Co-Chair Sen. Jerry Tillman
Sen. Michael Lee – Co-Chair Sen. Joyce Waddell
Sen. Deanna Ballard  

Bills

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

Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, January 30

Both chambers will convene at 4:00 for skeleton sessions (no votes will be taken)

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Jan 27, 17
read more
May 20 Legislative Update

May 20 Legislative Update

Charter Advocates Continue to Push HB 539

The charter school community is continuing to push strongly for the House to concur with HB 539.  While it remains important that you maintain contact with your House member(s) in opposition, it is also critical to be making local contacts to develop grassroots opposition to HB 539 within your communities.  Reach out to local PTAs and other community groups that support public education, make sure they understand what is at stake with HB 539, and get them involved in spreading the word to parents and concerned citizens.  These types of efforts are happening on the charter side.  For example, proponents of HB 539 are spreading their message of “fair funding” on social media using the hashtag #fairfundsnc.  Charter schools are also sending to their parents call to action messages such as this (click here).  School districts need to be countering these efforts.  Remember that HB 539 could come up at any time.

Resources & Points to Remember

Below are materials and informational items to circulate in your communities.

*A one-page sheet with talking points on HB 539 can be found here.

*A short video on this issue can be found here.  Make sure to continue sharing this video on social media and encourage others to do so.

*A longer Myth/Fact sheet on the issue can be found here.

*Legislators and others need to understand the pots of monies that school districts would have to transfer if HB 539 becomes law (reimbursements, gifts, federal grants, etc.).  A review of the types of monies at risk can be found here. 

*Charter schools can already seek out many of the monies at issue in HB 539 without having to take them from school districts.  For example, school districts would have to transfer E-rate reimbursements under HB 539 but charters already have the ability to seek out E-Rate reimbursements if they so choose.

*There are policies and laws that limit how federal grants and reimbursements are used and which students may be served.  Charters continue to claim that despite these policies and laws, they should be entitled to a share of federal grants and reimbursements that a school district receives.

*Charters continue to claim that charter students receive only 75 cents for every dollar provided to LEAs.  This is a flawed calculation based on factors unrelated to per-pupil funding and reflects an apples-to-oranges comparison of district and charter funding.

Budget News

House Budget Approved-Senate Moves Next

The House passed its version of the 2016-17 budget this week.  Including compensation increases, the House budget increases appropriations for K-12 public schools by 4.4% above the original spending target for 2016-17.  Teachers with 5-25 years of experience receive an average 4.1% salary increase, with the largest increases going to mid-career teachers.  Other teachers will get a one-time $1,000 bonus.  Most school administrators will get an average 2% increase (with some receiving a $500 bonus).  Non-certified and central office staff will get a 2% raise and a one-time $500 bonus.  Click here to read the Money Report.  See below for more details on the House budget and what happened as it moved through the chamber this week.

On the Senate side, budget writers have said that their budget is not likely to be very different from that of the House except on salaries.  The biggest difference between the House and Senate budgets is expected to be on salaries for teachers, school employees, and State employees.  It is expected that the Senate will turn its budget around within two weeks.  One thing to watch for in the Senate budgetis whether it includes the language from SB 862- Opp. Scholarships Forward Funding, a bill filed by Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake).  It would significantly increase funding for the Opportunity Scholarship voucher program.  A reserve fund would be created and there would be an automatic transfer of funds from the General Fund to this reserve fund to be used to award new vouchers.  Funding for the program would be increased from $17.6 million to $44.8 million for the 2018-19 school year.  This number would rise by $10 million each year thereafter until it reaches $134.8 million in the 2027-28 school year.

House Budget Process

Several amendments were offered and passed in both the House Appropriations Committee and on the House floor throughout the week as the budget was developed.  The most notable amendments for K-12 public schools dealt with virtual charters and the Opportunity Scholarship school voucher program.

Virtual Charters

Rep. James Langdon (R-Johnston) ran an amendment touching on the virtual charter pilot language.  A provision had been included in the K-12 education section that allowed the two virtual charter pilot schools to have a higher withdrawal rate than the original virtual charter legislation allowed.  The same provision would also legislatively mandate that several types of students are to be excluded from the withdrawal rate, making it easier for the virtual charters to stay below the higher withdrawal rate caps.  Rep. Langdon’s amendment attempted to remove this provision and return to the original virtual charter language, which set a 25% cap and allowed the State Board of Education to determine what types of students should and should not be counted  in the withdrawal rate.  This amendment passed 59-56.

About an hour later, Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) successfully ran an amendment that undid most of the Langdon amendment.  Under the Bryan amendment, the rate cap stays at 25% (the existing level) but the State Board would still be directed to exclude five categories of students from the calculation of the withdrawal rate.  The State Board, not the General Assembly, should determine how to calculate a fair withdrawal rate for these schools, as they are the body in charge of overseeing these programs and receiving periodic updates on how they are doing.  Another troubling provision in the virtual charter language would increase the portion of virtual charter teachers who can be non-NC residents from 10% to 20%.

Opportunity Scholarships

An amendment from  Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes) in the House Appropriations Committee modified the proposed changes to the school voucher program.  The current law allows vouchers to be awarded to kindergarten and grade 1 students even if they have not previously been enrolled in a public school, but caps the portion of newly awarded vouchers they can receive at 35%.  Under the original House budget language, Grade 1 students would have been removed from this cap, meaning that there would be no limit on how many new vouchers they could receive.  Rep. Elmore’s amendment changed this so that grade 1 students go back to being subject to the cap, but the cap itself would go up from 35% to 40%.


Other Notable House Budget Provisions

Vouchers.  There is an increase of $5.8  million to the special education voucher program.

ADM Growth.  Public school ADM growth is fully funded ($46.8 million).

Literacy Coaches.  There is an appropriation of $25 million to put K-3 Literacy Coaches in the lowest performing 20% of elementary schools across the state.  This would be the first State appropriation for literacy coaches in any public schools since the line-item was zeroed out in 2009.

Advanced Teaching Roles/Elevating Educators Act.  Modified language from last session’s Elevating Educators Act is included in the subcommittee’s approved budget.  This provision establishes a three-year pilot program where 10 LEAs would experiment with models of differentiated pay for teachers linked to advanced teaching roles (new or additional roles and responsibilities).  There would be a $1 million set aside for this pilot.

A-F School Performance Grades.  The formula for calculating A-F letter grades for schools is changed from 80% assessment scores 20% growth to a 50-50 split between the two components.  The 15-point scale is also made permanent (it is scheduled to end with this year’s set of grades).

Read to Achieve.  Like last year’s House budget, this year’s House budgets contains several provisions to improve the Read to Achieve program.  Among these would be a requirement for the SBE to expand the types of diagnostic and formative assessments school districts could use to measure reading progress in grades K-3.

Other Funding Increases.  Digital Learning Plan ($9.4 million); Textbooks/Digital Resources ($11.7 million)

Achievement School District

There are lots of conversations happening on House side about the Achievement School District issue and bill.  Be sure to watch your email closely for updates and notable developments on this.

Click here for the NCSBA issue brief on this.

Union School Boards/County Comm Funding Lawsuit Moratorium

A bill was filed this week by Sen. Tommy Tucker (R-Union) to prohibit the Union school board from initiating a legal challenge over the sufficiency of local funding from their county commissioners in the 2016-17 school year.  The bill is SB 881.


Bills

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

Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, May 23

4:00 PM
The Senate will convene for session.

5:00 PM
The House will convene for session.

Tuesday, May 24

 

Wednesday, May 25

 

Thursday, May 26

North Carolina School Boards AssociationMay 20 Legislative Update
read more
May 6 Legislative Update

May 6 Legislative Update

Friday, May 6, 2016 3:00 pm

 

State Budget Update

The Senate and House have agreed on a $22.225 billion spending target for the 2016-17 fiscal year State budget.  This is approximately 0.5% smaller than the total State spending proposal put forward by Gov. McCrory.  It also exceeds the 2% spending increase over the 2015-16 budget that the Senate leader has publicly mentioned.  Agreeing on a total State spending target up front should significantly speed up the budgeting process.

On Thursday, the House Education Appropriations Committee, along with the other House appropriation committees, were given their spending targets.  The chairs indicated that they would be working over the weekend and would have something for the Committee’s consideration on Tuesday or no later than Wednesday.  If this schedule is adhered to the House version of the budget could be completed within the next two weeks.

The House Education Appropriations Committee met three times this week to review the current budgets of and listen to expansion requests from each of the three public education sectors: K-12, Community Colleges, and Universities.  The SBE’s expansion requests for 2016-17 include: teacher pay, digital learning enhancements, professional development, funding for school turnaround efforts, leadership programs for administrators, instructional supplies, assistant principals, nurses, child nutrition, and Cooperative Innovative High Schools.  State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. June Atkinson and State Board Chair Bill Cobey appeared at Tuesday’s House Ed Appropriations Committee hearing to talk about those SBE budget priorities.  You can watch a video of those remarks here and here.  A video of legislators posing questions to Dr. Atkinson and Chairman Cobey is here.

On Thursday, the Committee took public comments including from NCSBA.

LEA/Charter Fund Sharing Issue

HB 539
It is important that you continue to communicate with your House member(s) in opposition to HB 539, the legislation to shift funds from LEAs to charter schools
.  Make sure legislators understand the pots of monies that are at risk if the bill becomes law.  Click here to learn more about the pots of monies that HB 539 would obligate school districts to share.  Remember that HB 539 can come up at any moment and would receive only an up or down vote (not amendable) on the House floor. There was some indication earlier this week that the bill might move as early as yesterday.  That was later averted when a meeting was set up for groups representing LEAs and charter schools this upcoming Monday.

Video and Grassroots Advocacy 
Also be sure to continue sharing the video that touches on the LEA/charter school funding sharing issue.  The link to the video is: https://youtu.be/Ai1al22B3DU

Also use this fact sheet on the issue at this link: http://www.ncsbac.org/charter-school-funding-issues

Alternative Charter School Funding Model

During the break between legislative sessions, NCSBA and NCASA convened a group of school board members, superintendents, finance officers, and board attorneys to see if we could develop another way to provide funding for charter schools.

The proposed new funding model, which is described here, provides charter schools with their own funding streams at both the State and local levels.  It is based upon charter schools being treated like a city LEA.  This proposal was approved by the NCSBA Board of Directors contingent upon approval of School Superintendents Association and a statewide convening of board chairs, superintendents, finance officers, and board attorneys.  In light of the meeting being set for Monday (see above story) this proposal was presented to a representative of the NC Public Charter Schools Association on Thursday so that it could be part of the discussions.

School Board Local Funding Lawsuit Authority

One of the top three legislative goals of the NC County Commissioners Associations is:

“Seek legislation to repeal the statutory authority under NCGS 115C-431(c) that allows local school boards to file suit against a county board of commissioners over county appropriations for education.

  • The current version of HB561 includes a five-year moratorium on such lawsuits. The bill is in conference and is eligible for short session consideration.
  • With more counties experiencing threats of lawsuits, more legislators are interested in the issue. Those from counties that have experienced more extreme conflict between commissioners and school boards have grown more adamant that the issue be addressed.
  • Please continue communicating with your House member(s) in opposition to the provision in HB 561 that would put a moratorium on school board legal challenges to local funding.

Talking Points on HB 561 to Communicate to House Members

  • If passed, HB 561 has the potential to significantly alter the balance between school boards and county commissions.
  • The threat of school boards utilizing the legal action option gives county commissioners incentive to negotiate and take school board concerns seriously both during the normal budget development process and mediation.
  • Without the legal action option, county commissioners would have no reason to move away from their position on local funding, making the mediation process essentially meaningless.
  • There is also the question of how local boards of education will fulfill the constitutional obligation to provide an opportunity for a sound, basic education if this option is not available. The only other option would be the State.
  • The House has already spoken on this issue last session when it voted down a bill to permanently revoke this authority.

Bills

New Bills: Click here to see NCSBA-tracked bills that were filed this week.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, May 9

11:30 AM
The Senate will convene.

3:00
The House will convene.

Tuesday, May 10

Wednesday, May 11

Thursday, May 12

North Carolina School Boards AssociationMay 6 Legislative Update
read more
May 13 Legislative Update

May 13 Legislative Update

Friday, May 13, 2016

 

*LEAs in Grave Danger of Losing Funds to Charters*

HB 539 Update

We know that HB 539– Charter School Funding, was discussed in the House Republican caucus this week.  The charter community is continuing to make a hard push in the House to have this bill moved to the floor for a vote.  It is critically important that you communicate with your House member(s) throughout the weekend to express how harmful this legislation would be for your school district and ask them to oppose it.  Remember that if HB 539 goes to the House floor it would only need to receive an up or down vote (not amendable).

When communicating about HB 539 make sure to focus on these points:

(1) Specify the pots of program specific monies that your district would have to transfer if this bill becomes law (reimbursements, gifts, federal grants, etc.).  Click here to learn more about what program specific funds would have to be transferred to charters.

(2) Emphasize that charter schools can already seek out their own gifts, federal grants, reimbursements etc. without having to take them from school districts.  For example, school districts would have to transfer E-Rate reimbursements under HB 539 but charters already have the ability to seek out E-Rate reimbursements if they so choose.

Video and Grassroots Advocacy

Be sure to continue sharing the video that touches on the LEA/charter school funding sharing issue.  The link to the video is: https://youtu.be/Ai1al22B3DU

Also use this fact sheet on the issue at this link: http://www.ncsbac.org/charter-school-funding-issues

HB 1111 – Alternative Charter School Funding Bill

As we reported to you last week, NCSBA and NCASA brought together a group of school board members, superintendents, finance officers, and board attorneys to see if we could develop another way to structure the charter school funding system.  What this group came up with was a compromise that disentangles LEA and charter school funding altogether by providing charter schools with their own funding streams at both the State and local levels.  Legislation to accomplish this was filed this week as HB 1111.  The bill is sponsored by Reps. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg), Leo Daughtry (R-Johnston), Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus), and Robert Reives (D-Chatham).  You can read more about what HB 1111 does here.

The goals of HB 1111 are to:

(1) Disentangle any financial relationship between LEAs and charter schools.

(2) Provide additional funding for charters (approximately $48 million) that does not come at the expense of LEAs.

(3) Create a system that does not foster lawsuits.

Some in the charter community are already circulating claims that HB 1111 would take money away from and harm charter schools.  The fact is that HB 1111 would generate approximately $48 million in additional funding for charter schools in addition to allowing them to ask county commissioners for capital funding.  To read the details about what HB 1111 does click here.

Budget News

House Education Budget Approved

Budget subcommittees in the House met Thursday to unveil, review, and advance their sections of the House’s 2016-17 budget adjustments.  On the K-12 public education side, the House Ed Appropriations Subcommittee started with a $8.419 billion total spending plan for this fiscal year as established by the biennium budget enacted last session.  The subcommittee proposed an increase of $12.9 million, or 0.2%.  Salaries and benefits for teachers and educators were not part of these adjustments as those items are handled by the full appropriations chairs.  Click here to see the money report and here to see the special provisions.

Below are the notable components of the education budget approved by the subcommittee.

Virtual Charter Pilots.  The approved budget would loosen requirements for the two virtual charter school pilots.

(1) It would allow the virtual charters to have a higher withdrawal rate than the original legislation.  Currently, neither virtual charter can have a student withdrawal rate higher than 24% in any school year.  The approved education budget would raise that to 34%.

(2) It would exclude additional types of students from the withdrawal rate, making it easier for the virtual charters to stay below the withdrawal rate caps.

(3) It would increase the portion of virtual charter teachers who can be non-NC residents from 10% to 20%.

School Voucher Programs.  No new money would be appropriated for the Opportunity Scholarship school voucher program but there would be a statutory change to expand the portion of vouchers that can be awarded to 1st grade students who have not attended a public school.  The current law allows vouchers to be awarded to kindergarten and grade 1 students even if they have not previously been enrolled in a public school, but caps the portion of newly awarded vouchers they can receive at 35%. Under the House budget language, Grade 1 students would be removed from this cap, meaning that there is no limit on how many new vouchers they can receive whether or not they have previously attended a public school.

There is also an increase of $5.8  million to the special education voucher program.

ADM Growth.  Public school ADM growth is fully funded ($46.8 million).

Literacy Coaches.  There is an appropriation of $25 million to put K-3 Literacy Coaches in the lowest performing 20% of elementary schools across the state.  This would be the first State appropriation for literacy coaches in any public schools since the line-item was zeroed out in 2009.

Advanced Teaching Roles/Elevating Educators Act.  Modified language from last session’s Elevating Educators Act is included in the subcommittee’s approved budget.  This provision establishes a three-year pilot program where 10 LEAs would experiment with models of differentiated pay for teachers linked to advanced teaching roles (new or additional roles and responsibilities).  There would be a $1 million set aside for this pilot.

A-F School Performance Grades.  The formula for calculating A-F letter grades for schools is changed from 80% assessment scores 20% growth to a 50-50 split between the two components.  The 15-point scale is also made permanent (it is scheduled to end with this year’s set of grades).

Read to Achieve.  Like last year’s House budget, this year’s House budgets contains several provisions to improve the Read to Achieve program.  Among these would be a requirement for the SBE to expand the types of diagnostic and formative assessments school districts could use to measure reading progress in grades K-3.

Other Funding Increases.  Digital Learning Plan ($9.4 million); Textbooks/Digital Resources ($11.7 million)


House Budget Timeline

The full House budget, including details of employee compensation, is expected to be released Monday morning.  An all-day meeting of the full House Appropriations Committee is set for Tuesday to take up and amend the budget proposal.  From there, the budget is expected to move to the House floor on Wednesday and be approved Thursday.  We also know that the bill number for the budget bill will be HB 1030.

Notable Bills Filed This Week

HB 1080- Achievement School District.  Rep. Rob Bryan’s legislation to mandate that certain low-performing schools be turned over to charter operators via an Achievement School District was officially filed this week.  The bill is HB 1080.  NCSBA opposes this bill because of the significant mechanical and structural problems with dividing school operation responsibility in addition to the lack of evidence of success with this model in other states with this model.  Click here to read more via NCSBA’s Issue Brief.

SB 862- Opp. Scholarships Forward Funding.  This bill was filed by Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake).  It would significantly increase funding for the Opportunity Scholarship voucher program.  A reserve fund would be created for voucher awards and there would be an automatic transfer of funds from the General Fund to this reserve fund that would automatically increase each year.  Funding for the program would be increased from $17.6 million to $44.8 million for the 2018-19 school year.  This number would rise by $10 million each year thereafter until it reaches $134.8 million in the 2027-28 school year.

New Bills: Click here to see all NCSBA-tracked bills that were filed this week.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, May 16

10:00 AM
The House will convene for session.

11:30 AM
The Senate will convene for session.

Tuesday, May 17

9:30 AM
The House Appropriations Committee will meet to take up the House budget.

Wednesday, May 18

Thursday, May 19

 

North Carolina School Boards AssociationMay 13 Legislative Update
read more