LEGISLATOR SPRING BREAK/K-3 CLASS SIZE
Lawmakers are planning to leave Raleigh after this coming Tuesday’s legislative session to take a “spring break” for the Easter holiday. They will return to town a week later. If they do not take action on the K-3 class size issue on Monday or Tuesday of next week there will not be another opportunity to get something passed until they reconvene on Wednesday, April 19.
Click here to read a letter NCSBA sent to all Senators encouraging them to address the K-3 class size issue prior to leaving for break next week.
STUDENT LETTERS/HB 13
It has come to our attention that some elementary school classes are having their students write letters to their legislators asking them to support HB 13. Concerns are being raised around Jones Street that such activity may not be an appropriate use of classroom time. We advise you to check with your elementary principals to make sure this is not occurring in your schools.
SCHOOL CALENDAR FLEXIBILITY PASSES HOUSE
There was a lot of important action on school calendar flexibility this week. Two bills- HB 375 to give authority to ALL LEAs to have a start date aligned with their local community college as early as August 15 and HB 389 to set a pilot program to allow20 LEAs to move the start date as early as the Monday closest to August 10- were discussed and given overwhelming supportThursday on the House floor. The calendar pilot bill moves on to the Senate. The community college calendar alignment bill received preliminary approval but won’t get a final vote until Monday. A House member objected to the bill on third reading.
To see which LEAs would be put into the HB 389 calendar pilot click here.
You can read more about the House debate on these bills here.
NOTABLE MEDIA COVERAGE/SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION
Financing NC’s $8 billion backlog of school construction and renovation needs is being talked about on notable political and education TV shows. The topic was discussed by a panel of political commentators on a recent episode of NC Spin. You can watch that here (the discussion begins at the 20:10 mark).
The next episode of Education Matters, the Public School Forum’s weekly TV show, will also have a segment on this issue that features Leanne Winner, NCSBA Director of Governmental Relations alongside Kevin Leonard, Executive Director of the NC Association of County Commissioners. See below for information on air times of this episode.
Saturdays at 7:30PM WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham)
Sundays at 6:30 AM and Mondays at 3:00 PM on UNC-TV’s statewide channel
Online at https://www.ncforum.org
NOTABLE LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITY
Charter Schools/Fund 8/Capital Funding
SB 658, legislation requiring LEAs to share additional monies with charter schools was filed in the Senate this week. The charter school fund sharing bill is sponsored by Senators Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) and Chad Barefoot (R-Wake). It is essentially the same fund sharing language as the HB 539 bill that NCSBA fought last session, except this bill ALSO contains a provision allowing charters to access school capital funding.
Education Savings Accounts
SB 603. This is a bill to set up Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) for students with disabilities in North Carolina. ESAs are part of the school voucher family except instead of having tax money go to a private school to cover tuition costs, ESAs allow parents to receive tax money directly (usually in the form of a debit card) that they can use to pay for various types of educational services. This ESA bill would only set up accounts for parents/guardians of students with disabilities, who would receive the average State per-pupil amount plus the exceptional children per-pupil funding amount.
Local Funding Disputes/Sch Bd Lawsuit Authority
The House version of legislation to strip school boards of their power to initiate lawsuits challenging local funding sufficiency (HB 305) was scheduled to be heard in a House committee Wednesday morning but it was later removed from the calendar prior to the start of the meeting. HB 305 could still emerge at any time.
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, April 10
The Senate will convene for session.
The House will convene for session. The following notable bills are on the House calendar:
The House University Education Committee will meet and consider the following bills:
HB 532- Modify UNC Laboratory Schools