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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 PowersLegislative Alert – Feb 10, 17