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  


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 PowersLegislative Alert – Jan 27, 17