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Legislative Alert – Mar 17

Legislative Alert – Mar 17

K-3 CLASS SIZES

House Bill 13 remains in the Senate Rules Committee.  Please continue to contact your Senator(s) in support of this measure.  Click hereto find your Senator(s).

PLEASE PROVIDE NCSBA WITH THE FOLLOWING PIECES OF INFORMATION:

1) 
When do you anticipate sending RIF notices to personnel for the 2017-18 school year?

2) How many (if any) permanent teacher positions were unfilled for at least the first 10 days of this school year in K-3 and in 4-5?

We would like to have the information ideally by the end of business on Tuesday.

Also as you develop your budgets please be sure to let us know what funding will be needed in your LEA to implement the scheduled K-3 class size changes. Remember that local budget requests should take into account 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.

Resolution

To find a sample resolution on K-3 class sizes click here.

As of today, we are aware of 37 school boards that have passed resolutions requesting lawmakers take action on the K-3 class size fix.  To find the list of school boards that we are aware have passed resolutions click here.

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.

SCHOOL CALENDAR BILL UPDATE

A bill was filed this week to put 20 LEAs into a school calendar flexibility pilot program.  The pilot would allow these LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school years.  The bill is HB 389 and it is sponsored by Reps. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, Craig Horn, R-Union, Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus, and Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson.  Click here to see which LEAs the bill would currently allow in the pilot.  

A statewide calendar flexibility bill was also filed this week allowing LEAs to adjust the start of their school year to align with the start date of their local community college.  The earliest an LEA could start under this bill would be August 15.  This bill is HB 375 and is sponsored by Reps. Horn, McGrady, Johnson, and Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe.

Below is the status of school calendar flexibility bills filed as of March 17.

Local Bills

45 local bills have been filed giving various types of calendar flexibility to 76 school systems.
Local calendar flexibility bills filed in the Senate:  13
Local calendar flexibility bills filed in the House:  32

Statewide Bills

HB 53 – allows all LEAs to begin school no earlier than August 10 (sponsored by Reps. Cody Henson, Kevin Corbin, Mitch Setzer, and Michele Presnell).

HB 375 – allows all LEAs to align their start date with the start date of their local community college, as long as it is no earlier than August 15.

Pilot Bill

HB 389 to create a pilot for 20 LEAs to begin school no earlier than August 10.

Click here to see if a calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA.

EQUAL ACCESS TO SPORTS/TEBOW BILLS

Two bills have been filed to require that LEAs allow homeschooled students to play on sports teams and participate in extracurriculars at traditional high schools.  The bills would also require 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.

SB 254 (Sen. Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico, Sen. Andrew Brock, R-Davie, are sponsors) was filed this week.  The other bill is SB 159(Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Cleveland, Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, are sponsors).  SB 159 would go further and require that private and charter school students also be allowed to participate in traditional high school sports/extracurriculars.  These kinds of bills are generally referred to as “Equal Access Bills” or “Tebow Bills,” after the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback who was homeschooled but played football on his local high school team.  NCSBA   opposes  both these bills.  Below are some of the main concerns NCSBA has about these types of bills.

  •  How are homeschooled students or students from other non-public schools accountable for residency, and how can schools or school systems check into the “red flags” of residency?  For example, a student assignment office might actually do “in home” visits if there are concerns about the student/parent/legal custodian living where they indicate is their residence.  Would the school system have the legal right to investigate or do an “in-home” visit if the student is not attending one of its schools?
  •  In recent years the NCHSAA has tightened standards for checking eligibility, especially residency.  But the logistics of trying to determine eligibility for students not even enrolled at a school and are from a whole host of different schools could be mind-boggling.  It is challenging enough for an athletic director to check eligibility for students at his or her school when the records are right there; this could mean trying to get attendance, academics and other information from a whole variety of schools, including home schools, just for one athletic team’s eligibility.
  •  Provisions of the bills would create major issues within a school system just among its public schools that are members of the NCHSAA.  Those students at a school that doesn’t have a specific team could now go to another school to play a certain sport, but would stay at their “base school” for the teams that the school does have.  It would create the amazing scenario that “I play AGAINST a school in my county in one sport but play FOR that school in another sport.”
  •  What effect would this have on school spirit, team loyalty, etc., when for the first time students who do not attend the school are now part of the team, even though they are not there to participate in classes, pep rallies, and all other parts of the life of the school?
  •  This could dramatically alter and upset the competitive balance; NCHSAA schools are classified into four different classes based on ADM at their school and play toward championships in those classifications.  But now a school may be drawing from a much larger base (students from other schools); would classifications have to be altered to accommodate that?
  •  The insurance and liability situation is unclear; would the student-athletes be covered even though they are not actually students at the given school?

EDUCATION BILLS WITH MOVEMENT THIS WEEK

School Performance Grades
A measure to set a 50/50 performance/growth formula in the calculation of the A-F school performance grades passed the House this week.  HB 322 cleared the House K-12 Education Committee Tuesday and passed the House chamber with just two dissenting votes.  Increasing the growth component of the A-F school performance grades is one of the priorities outlined in NCSBA’s 2017-17 legislative agenda.  HB 322 is sponsored by Reps. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus, Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes, and Craig Horn, R-Union.

Third Grade Teacher Bonuses

The Senate Education Committee moved a bill to expand access to the 3rd grade teacher bonus payments.  In January bonuses were awarded to 3rd grade teachers in the top 25% of reading growth scores statewide and locally in the 2015-16 school year.  One of the original requirements in awarding this money was that the teacher had to still be teaching in the 3rd grade in the 2016-17 school year.  This meant that teachers who placed in the top 25% but were assigned to teach another grade level this school year were not eligible for the bonus money.  SB 169 would lift this restriction and ensure that those teachers who would have been eligible if not for being asked to move to another grade level will be able to get the bonus.  It has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

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 20

4:00 PM
The Senate will convene for session.

7:00 PM
The House will convene for session.

Tuesday, March 21

8:30 AM
A Joint meeting of the House and Senate Education Appropriations committees.

10:00 AM
The House K-12 Education Committee will meet and consider the following bills:
– HB90- Eliminate NC Final Exam
– HB155- Modify Educator Licensure Requirements
– HB302- DoDEA/Clinical Educators for Student Teaching

Ramona MillerLegislative Alert – Mar 17