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NCSBA Legislative Update – February 22, 2019

NCSBA Legislative Update – February 22, 2019

School Safety Bills

The chairs of last year’s House School Safety Committee have filed four bills that coincide with some of the committee’s recommendations. Two of them, HB 73 and HB 76 are on the House K-12 Committee calendar for Tuesday, February 26

  • HB 73 requires the State Board of Education to include instruction on civic responsibility concerning respect for school personnel, respect for school safety, service to others, and good citizenship. The instruction will be implemented into the following courses:
    • Elementary & Middle School – NC History and Geography
    • High School – Founding Principles of the United States & North Carolina
  • HB 74 continues five grant programs that were funded in the 2018-19 state budget. Click here to see a chart that breaks down the differences in funding levels and recurring vs. non-recurring dollars.
  • HB 75 requires DHHS and DPI to study whether North Carolina should require a mental health screening process to identify school-age children at risk of harming themselves or others.
  • HB 76 is an eleven-page school safety omnibus bill. Many of the items were passed in separate bills by the House last year that died in the Senate. HB 76 does a number of things:
  1. Creates a definition of public-school unit so that statutes that apply to more than one local school administrative unit (i.e. charter schools, regional schools, etc.) can be captured with a simple term;
  2. Requires reporting on the date and time of the required annual school safety exercise;
  3. Clarifies the duties of the Center for Safer Schools;
  4. Creates and delineates roles and responsibilities for threat assessment teams (NCSBA has a number of concerns about this section; see concerns below);
  5. Requires the county school system to adopt a state of emergency plan for all public-school units in the county (NCSBA has a number of concerns about this section, see concerns below);
  6. Defines what a school resource officer is and provides minimum training standards and reporting requirements;
  7. Requires each school to annually complete a facility vulnerability assessment.

NCSBA has expressed a number of concerns about HB 76, which are listed below:

  1. There is an inconsistent use of the word “threat”.  In some places it is used to mean a “threat”, and in some places it is used to mean “risk”.
  2. There are several inconsistencies in the bill with the requirements of FERPA.
  3. There are no immunity protections if the threat assessment team determines that a student is a lower threat than they actually are.
  4. There is an inconsistency between the schools establishing threat assessment teams based on policies recommended by the Center for Safer Schools and when the Center has to have their model policies.
  5. Threat assessment policies adopted by public schools are public record. Should they really be a public record?
  6. What happens if a student is referred to health care professional and the parent or student refuses?
  7. Is it really workable for a county LEA to establish an emergency plan for all public-school units in the county?

We hope that many of these concerns will be addressed in a proposed committee substitute that will be presented to the House Education Committee on Tuesday, February 26.

 

Update on School Construction Funds

  • Senate Bill 5 – The Senate approved SB 5, a pay-as-you-go school construction funds bill, on a 33-14 vote on Wednesday. Senate Democrats offered three amendments to the bill, including an attempt to transfer future Opportunity Scholarships expansion funds into public school construction, but those efforts failed.
  • Governor Cooper – On Tuesday, Governor Cooper issued a press release in response to SB 5 stating that “North Carolina should put a school bond to a vote so the people can decide whether to fix our old schools and build new ones. Skimming money that should go to teacher pay raises and other school funding is like using your gas money to buy a car. A successful school bond is a smarter way to do business because it locks down financing now and still leaves funding to get good teachers and principals in the classrooms.”
  • House Bond Bill – Speaker Moore’s proposed school bond bill has not been introduced – yet. We are hopeful that the bill will be filed next week.
  • Senate Democrats – In a press conference on Wednesday, Senate Democrats voiced support for the planned House bill for a school construction bond and opposition to SB 5 (Four Democrats did vote with the majority on SB 5). They intend to file their own bond bill soon.

 

Joint Appropriations Committee
Revenue Forecast and Budget Outlook for FY 2019-21:

Revenue

  • Tax collections for the current fiscal year are projected to be $151 million (.6%) above the revenue forecast of $23.9 billion.
    • Sales tax collections are up $117.8 million (1.5%). Part of the increase is attributed to the verdict in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. that requires internet companies to collect sales tax.
    • Personal income taxes are projected to be $53.3 million (-.4%) below projections, due to the impact of the Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
    • Business taxes are $16.5 million (.9%) above projections.
  • For the FY 2019-21 biennium, legislative and executive branch staff project economic growth of 3% in FY 2019-20 and 4% growth in FY 2020-21.
    • Sales tax growth is estimated to be 3% in FY 2019-20 and 4.6% in FY 2020-21, due to the continued implementation of sales tax collections on internet purchases.
    • Personal income tax collections are projected to grow 1.9% in FY 2019-20 and 4.0% in FY 2020-21, due to strong wage growth of 5.1% to 5.3% each year.
  • In FY 2019-20, the General Fund Revenue availability is $24.814 billion. For FY 2020-21, revenue availability is $25.801 billion.

Budget

  • After reserving funds for the State Capital & Infrastructure Fund and the Savings Reserve, the revenue available for expansion budget needs will be $572 million in FY 2019-20 and $1.39 billion in FY 2020-21. This may seem like a large amount until you view the list of “must do” items shown below.

  • For the remaining funds, consider that each 1% increase in public school teacher and instructional support salaries cost $61.8 million.

 

Tentative Outline for 2019 Budget Calendar:

Mid-February – March 28                                 Joint Committee Meetings

April 1                                                              House begins developing budget

April 18 – April 22                                            House Appropriations will take a break

May 3                                                              House Budget passes

May 6                                                              Senate begins work on their budget

May 24                                                            Senate Budget passes

May 27                                                            Conference Budget process begins

June 7                                                             Conference Report on budget enacted

 

Legislative Public Policy Conference

The NCSBA Legislative Public Policy Conference is scheduled for April 30/May 1 in Raleigh at the NCSBA building. The agenda is still under development, but we are securing a legislative education panel of two State senators (one committee chair) and two House members (one committee chair). Other sessions include an analysis of the real impact on summer learning loss and potential remedies, along with state evaluations on Read to Achieve and the Innovative School District. Also, since the General Assembly is in session during our conference, you will have an opportunity to see them in action and visit with your legislative delegation.

The early bird registration rate for the conference is $250 through February 28, and the normal registration rate is $325 starting March 1. Click here to register.

 

School Calendar Bills

So far during the 2019-20 legislative long session, the Senate has introduced twelve local school calendar bills, and the House has introduced twenty-seven local school calendar bills and two statewide school calendar bills. The thirty-nine local bills cover seventy-one LEAs.

NCSBA has created this spreadsheet to track school calendar flexibility bills that are filed each week.

Follow the LOCAL Authority for NC School Calendars’ Twitter account @nclocalcalendar to keep up with the progress being made for local school calendar flexibility.

*sponsor intended to include – will fix when bill goes to committee

 

School Calendar Resolutions

Thank you to the sixty-three school boards and twenty-two county commissions that have shared their adopted resolutions with NCSBA in support of school calendar flexibility. Click here to see the full list of school calendar resolutions.

Email a copy of your board’s calendar flexibility resolution to Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org. After adopting a resolution, school boards and/or county commissions should request that their legislative delegation file a local bill. If the response from the legislator is that the bill is dead on arrival, request that your delegation introduce the bill anyway.

 

Legislative Agenda Issue Briefs

The NCSBA Governmental Relations staff has written issue briefs for each topic in the 2019-20 Legislative Agenda. They can be accessed on the NCSBA website under the Governmental Relations tab or by clicking this link.

View our final brief on Student Support Personnel.

 

February 25-28 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Monday, February 27

House: Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House

Governor’s 2019 State of the State Address

  • 7:00 pm

 

Tuesday, February 26

House: Appropriations, Education (Joint)

  • 8:30 am
  • 423 LOB

House: Education—K-12

  • 1:00 pm
  • 643 LOB (audio)
  • H31: Allow Durham Pub. Schools to Provide Housing
  • H57: Create Term for Public Schs. & Codify NCVPS
  • H73: Civic Responsibility Education
  • H76: School Safety Omnibus

 

Wednesday, February 27

Senate: Education/Higher Education

  • 1:30 pm
  • 1027/1128 LB (audio)
  • Presentations from State Superintendent Mark Johnson and State Board of Education Chairman Eric C. Davis

 

 

 

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

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6692

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

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – February 22, 2019