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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 19, 2017

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 19, 2017

NCSBA Legislative Update
MAY 19, 2017

 



STATEWIDE SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND PASSES COMMITTEE

The House K-12 Education Committee overwhelmingly approved putting a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond on the November 2018 ballot.  NCSBA Director of Governmental Relations Leanne Winner was among those who testified to the committee in support of the bond.  You can read more about what happened during the meeting by reading a media report here.

The bond bill, HB 866, now goes to the House Finance Committee.  Please contact members of this committee in support of the school construction bond.  Click here to find members of the committee.

Use the below talking points on the bond when communicating with House Finance committee members:

  • LEAs across the state are facing an $8 billion backlog of school construction needs.  A bond will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs.
  • There has not been a statewide school construction bond issue in 21 years (1996).
  • The State Treasurer’s office has confirmed that NC has the capacity to absorb a bond of this amount.
  • A school construction bond is the only type of bond that would create jobs in all 100 counties.
  • The school construction bond is supported by a number of education groups (including school boards, administrators, teachers and parents), county commissioners, trade organizations (including architects, engineers, general contractors), and others.

Just like with House Ed, it would be helpful to share any pictures you may have of dilapidated or overcrowded schools in your LEA with members of House Finance.  Please share those pics with us as well.

If your LEA needs to build additional classrooms to meet the lower K-3 class size mandates, it would also be helpful to share that information with House Finance Committee members.  Attached is a list of additional classroom needs LEAs have identified to us as of today.  If your LEA is not listed here please let us know ASAP what additional classroom space you would need to meet the K-3 class size mandates.  You can send that information to Sean Holmes at sholmes@ncsba.org.

EDUCATION SALES TAX FLEXIBILITY UP FOR DISCUSSION 

Counties would be able to generate additional local funds for public education purposes under legislation to be heard in House Finance next week.  HB 333- Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility, expands how counties may use some local option sales taxes.  Right now there is a provision in statute that allows counties to levy an additional local option sales tax but use the funds ONLY for public transportation purposes.  No counties have used this particular provision (Mecklenburg, The Triangle, and The Triad get their public transport sales tax authority from different parts of the statute).  HB 333 would take this existing statutory provision and expand it so that counties that want to levy the local sales tax could instead direct the revenue to fund: school construction, teacher supplements, and/or financial support of local community colleges.  All counties would be allowed this expanded authority and the tax would still have to be approved by voters.

The bill is scheduled to be heard Tuesday morning, May 23, at 8:30 AM.  NCSBA supports this measure as one of a menu of options to help LEAs deal with school construction needs, as outlined in the NCSBA 2017-18 legislative agenda.

EDUCATOR PREPARATION LEGISLATION

The Senate Education/Higher Education met this week to discuss SB599 – Excellent Educators for Every Classroom.  The 21-page bill eliminates the existing statute for lateral-entry teachers and creates a series of new education preparation programs.  The bill also establishes the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission to develop and recommend all aspects of the educator preparation programs including professional standards.

SB 599 creates new classes of teacher licenses and establishes new licensure requirements for out-of-state applicants and renewals.

The bill sponsor, Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, is seeking comment from stakeholders ahead of an anticipated vote next week in that committee.  You can read the most updated version of the bill by clicking here and you can read a summary of the bill by clicking here.

SCHOOL CALENDAR

Please continue making a push on the Senate to consider one of the school calendar flexibility bills.  Contact (i) Senate President Phil Berger and (ii) your Senate member(s).  Ask them to allow consideration of one of the calendar flexibility bills- HB 375 (giving LEAs flexibility to align their start date with that of their local community college) or HB 389 (allowing a pilot of earlier start dates for certain LEAs to study the impact on student achievement as well as the economy).

Senate President Phil Berger contact info: click here
To find your Senator(s): click here


BUDGET

Now that the Senate has completed its version of the budget, leaders in the House are now focusing their attention on the House budget proposal.  The House is aiming to have its budget approved by Friday, June 2.  House spending subcommittees could begin rolling out their respective parts of the budget as early as next week.

Senate Budget: Click here and here for overviews of the Senate budget.

 

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

 

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – May 19, 2017