BLOG

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 PowersLegislative Alert – Feb 3, 17