News

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
Chatham County Board of Education Commits to Working Together

Chatham County Board of Education Commits to Working Together

NCSBA’s Master Board Program challenges governance teams to set aside time to train together. Master Board status is awarded when the governance team of a district completes 5 courses. Each course provides four hours of activities and discussion designed to help the board sharpen its governance skills.

“The NCSBA Master Board program is a knowledge- and skills-based training program that provides school boards with the opportunity to develop as a full board,” said Ed Dunlap, NCSBA executive director. “What makes Master Board unique from the Association’s other training programs is that all board members and the superintendent commit to the training.”

NCSBA News is proud to spotlight the Chatham County Board of Education for its commitment to improving its governance, maintaining open communication, and evaluating its processes. The members of the Chatham County Board of Education (above first row: Del Turner, Jane Allen Wilson, Melissa Hlavac; second row: Gary Leonard, David Hamm) have reached Level IV status by completing 40 hours of Master Board training, a first in the state. The board and superintendent were recognized for their achievement during the 2016 Annual Conference. Dr. Derrick D. Jordan, superintendent of Chatham County Schools remarked, “As the first board of education in North Carolina to reach Level IV Master Board Status, our board members have established a high bar for their colleagues across the state. This award underscores an unmistakable commitment to ensuring that they are well-equipped to make the best decisions possible for our students and employees.”

NCSBA recognizes the tireless commitment of all school board members throughout the state. Thank you for making a difference and taking the time to serve and invest in the children of our great State. NCSBA staff members are honored to support what you do!

Ramona MillerChatham County Board of Education Commits to Working Together
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State Board of Education January Meeting

State Board of Education January Meeting

New State Superintendent
The January 2017 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting was the first for newly elected State Superintendent Mark Johnson. Mr. Johnson attended the committee meetings and then delivered his formal introductory remarks on the second meeting day. Mr. Johnson discussed his background and why he is passionate about improving public education. You can view his remarks here.

New Local Board Advisor
During the full board meeting, Ms. Amanda Bell of Rockingham County was formally introduced as the SBE’s new local board advisor. Ms. Bell was awarded the Raleigh Dingman Award for 2016-17 and will be serving as the SBE’s local board advisor this year. She replaces Dr. Christine Fitch of Wilson County.

ESSA Update
An update on NC’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act was delivered. The NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) staff talked about some of the changes to the NC State Plan that had been made based on feedback and input from stakeholders. Feedback and comments are still being accepted. It was also reported that at the most recent superintendent’s quarterly meeting, superintendents expressed support for making growth a significant component of any redesigned accountability model. Superintendents also expressed caution about using chronic absenteeism as an accountability indicator, as all schools don’t have an impact on this.

The SBE and DPI plan to finalize the NC State Plan no later than September 2017.

Cooperative Innovative High Schools
The SBE gave approval to the following applications for Cooperative Innovative High Schools:

  • Ashe County Early College High School
  • Bladen Early College High School
  • Cumberland Polytechnic High School
  • Charlotte Middle College at Merancas Campus
  • Charlotte Teacher Cadet Early College
  • Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Early College
  • Harnett County Early College
  • Agriculture and Science Early College (Iredell-Statesville Schools)
  • McDowell Academy for Innovation
  • Montgomery County Early College
  • Onslow Early College High School
  • CTE High School North (Wake County Schools)
  • Washington County Early College High School

Teacher Bonus Money Approved
The SBE gave approval to the distribution of monies for legislatively mandated bonuses for AP/IB teachers and third-grade teachers. A provision in the 2016 budget set aside money for bonuses of $50 for AP/IB teachers for each of their students who score at a certain level on 2015-16 AP/IB tests. These teachers may receive bonuses of up to $2,000 per year. Another provision set aside money for bonuses for third-grade teachers who score in the top 25% of third-grade student reading growth scores statewide and in the top 25% of student reading growth scores in their LEA. The SBE gave approval to the distribution of the monies to LEAs.

Click here and here to see how much each LEA will get for awarding these bonuses.

Ramona MillerState Board of Education January Meeting
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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
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Rockingham County Board Member Wins Prestigious Award

Rockingham County Board Member Wins Prestigious Award

Amanda Bell of the Rockingham County Board of Education is the 2016 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship. To receive this esteemed award, which is given annually by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.

bell1“This board member will be a great asset as she serves as an advisor to the State Board of Education,” remarked NCSBA Executive Director Ed Dunlap during the announcement. She has devoted more than 34 years to the field of education. She has been an advocate for children, a voice for parents, a bridge for community members, and a mentor to new board members. Bell has served on NCSBA’s Board of Directors and on the North Carolina School Boards Trust (NCSBT). She is a lifelong learner who always stands up for public schools.

The Raleigh Dingman Award is the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina school board member. The award is named in honor of Dr. Raleigh Dingman, the Association’s first full-time executive director, and was first presented at the 1981 annual conference. In 2002, legislation was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly that provides for the Raleigh Dingman Award winner to serve as an ex officio advisor to the State Board of Education and to attend meetings and participate in deliberations of the State Board. Amanda Bell will also serve in this capacity.

 

Ramona MillerRockingham County Board Member Wins Prestigious Award
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