2018 Session Continued – November 27
When the 2018 Session adjourned in June, it set a return date of November 27 in order to write bills to implement the constitutional amendments approved by voters on November 6. To that end, the General Assembly approved SB 824 this week to implement the constitutional amendment requiring a photo ID to vote. While in town, the General Assembly has considered hurricane relief and a few other matters that impact K-12 education. Lawmakers will consider more legislation next week. They do not yet have an adjournment date.
SB 823 (S.L. 2018-138), Hurricane Florence / Supplemental Act, was approved by the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Cooper. Key education components of the act include:
- Funding: Appropriates $23.5 million to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to repair and renovate facilities damaged by Hurricane Florence for local school administrative units (LEAs), lab schools, and the Innovative School District. In addition, appropriates $1.5 million to DPI to repair or replace food, food nutrition equipment, and food nutrition supplies damaged by Hurricane Florence for local school administrative units (LEAs), lab schools, and the Innovative School District.
- FAST NC: Authorizes DPI to transfer up to $350,000 from the State Public School Fund to Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina (FAST NC) to help students and teachers recover from the impact of Hurricane Florence.
- Principal ADM Hold Harmless: Holds harmless principal salaries impacted by lower average daily membership when the principal’s school is located in a disaster area and the school was closed for at least 15 days from September 2018 to November 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence.
SB 824, Implementation of Voter ID Constitutional Amendment, was approved by the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto. The bill automatically becomes law if the Governor does not take action within ten days of receiving it.
Section 1.2(a) of this bill allows an employee identification card (ID) issued by a local government entity, including traditional and charter schools, to be used to vote in person at the polls. However, the local employee ID must be approved by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement (State Board). Each local school board must decide if they want to seek approval of their employee ID from the State Board. To gain approval, the head elected official or the lead human relations employee of the local government entity (i.e. school board) must submit a signed letter stating the following are true (Section 1.2(c)):
- The ID cards contain photographs of the employees taken by the employing entity or its agents or contractors.
- The ID cards are issued after an employment application process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the employee.
- The equipment for producing ID cards is kept in a secure location.
- Misuse of the equipment for producing the ID cards would be grounds for termination of an employee.
- Local officials would report any misuse of ID card equipment to law enforcement.
- The cards issued by the local entity contain a date of expiration effective January 1, 2021.
- The local government entity provides copies of standard IDs to the State Board for training purposes.
SB 469, Technical Corrections, was approved by the House on December 6 and was sent to the Senate for concurrence with House amendments. Key education components of the act include:
- Section 3: Expands eligibility for the 2018-19 principal bonus program’s “double bonus” if the principal supervised a school with a grade D or F for either 1) the 2016-17 school year, if the principal supervised the school for a majority of the 2017-18 school year or 2) the 2017-18 school year.
- Section 18: Expands eligibility for the Principal ADM Hold Harmless (see SB 823 above) from schools closed for at least 15 school days due to Hurricane Florence to schools closed for at least 10 days.
- Section 19: Permits public school buses to travel outside the State if the superintendent determines that the travel is the most direct route to and from a school.
- Section 20: Adds local boards of education to the list of potential innovative school operators.
- Section 22: Modifies the Disability Scholarship eligibility requirements by making eligible those students in nonpublic schools who were enrolled in a NC public school for the entire prior school year.
- Section 22.5: Allows the board of directors of municipal charters in Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, and Huntersville to elect to become participating employers in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.
Governor’s Crime Commission Special Committee on School Shootings
Two well attended public forums in Greenville and Greensboro took place in November. They were designed to allow the public to provide community comments and concerns. Having now met six times since April 2018, the Special Committee on School Shootings will now develop recommendations and submit a report to the Governor’s Crime Commission by the end of December.
House Select Committee on School Safety – December 6
The committee heard presentations by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent, Dr. Clayton Wilcox, and Mathews Police Chief, Clark Pennington. They shared ongoing efforts that are improving school safety, and lessons learned following a recent school shooting in the district.
This was the committee’s final meeting of the 2018 session. Members approved a report that included six legislative proposals for the 2019-20 General Assembly. Click here to see the draft report. One of the recommendations is to reintroduce several school safety bills that passed the House in 2018 and were not taken up by the Senate.
Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education – December 4
Members discussed the state of teaching in North Carolina. There were several presentations and panel discussions focusing on teacher recruitment, preparation, retention, and advancement. To learn more about the work of this commission click here.
State Board of Education (SBE) – December 6
Innovative School District (ISD) – The Board approved Carver Heights Elementary School in Wayne County for operation under the Innovative School District starting in the 2019-20 school year.
FAST NC (Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina) – FAST NC has raised $78,000 toward its goal to give “school materials, supplies, and resources that aid students in being prepared for instruction and aid teachers in the restoration of a high-quality learning environment.” Three grants totaling $42,000 were recently awarded to replace destroyed science supplies and instructional materials. If you are in one of the 28 counties declared a federal disaster area as a result of Hurricane Florence, click here to learn how to apply for these funds.
Roberta Scott – Roberta Scott was recognized and thanked for her service this year as the Raleigh Dingman Award school board member adviser to the State Board of Education. Christian Overton, 2018 Raleigh Dingman Award winner, will replace Ms. Scott in January.
Combine Educator Talent-Related Functions – In response to a recommendation from the Ernst & Young organizational assessment, DPI is planning to combine Ed Prep, Licensure, and Educator Effectiveness under the Educator Recruitment & Support Division. This change should be finalized by July 31, 2019. Click here for more information on this topic.
Business Modernization – DPI business systems for HR, finance and payroll are near the end of their useful life and must be modernized. DPI officials estimate this modernization effort will cost $154 million over the next five years. $28.8 million has been appropriated to date for this effort. Click here for more information of this project.
School Calendar Flexibility
Columbus and Yancey County School Boards have shared with us their resolutions asking their county commissioners to pass a resolution in support of calendar flexibility. Please email a copy of your boards calendar flexibility resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial