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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 12, 2019

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 12, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

Plenty of legislation saw movement at the General Assembly this week, though the one that garnered the most attention did not budge at all – the State Budget bill (HB 966) and the potential override of Governor Cooper’s veto. During the first half of the week, high-pressure lobbying was evident by both parties on the House floor and in the halls trying to persuade members that were considered “in play.” Three-fifths of members present are needed to override the veto. If all are in attendance (which was not the case this week) seven House Democrats and one Senate Democrat are needed to join Republicans to successfully override the veto. Since HB 966 originated in the House, the House must be the first chamber to attempt the override.

House GOP leaders were constantly counting votes to obtain the three-fifths of members present. Republicans were said to be close, at times just one or two votes away. The minority leader publicly stated that Democrats feared leaving the House floor to go to the bathroom – in case a sudden override vote was called. In the end, the Speaker chose not to attempt an override, though it remains a possibility on any day that the House is in session.

Preparing for an indefinite stalemate, the Republican majority went with plan B – a stopgap budget measure – a six-page bill (HB 111) covering more than a dozen items that House budget writers said is primarily geared toward utilizing federal funds in the state budget (more details below). Representative Donny Lambeth, a bill sponsor, stated during the House floor debate that the bill is “absolutely vital” and designed to cover the minimum items necessary for the state to continue functioning. The Senate is expected to take up the stopgap measure next week – it remains unclear which parts of the bill they will agree to. Current law allows the state to operate at last year’s recurring funding levels. Programs and services funded with non-recurring dollars will not be funded unless legislative action is taken to do so.

A joint resolution (SJR 688) filed by the Senate on Wednesday gave us our first clue as to what the General Assembly’s upcoming schedule could possibly look like. The resolution calls for both chambers to adjourn on Monday, July 22, 2019. Both chambers would then reconvene on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. Neither chamber has yet to debate, let alone vote on the resolution. We will keep you posted!

 

Movement of K-12 Education Bills

Bills with House Action

HB 111: Supplemental Appropriations Act

  • Passed the House 118-0, sent to the Senate, and referred to the Senate Rules Committee
  • Primary Sponsor: Representative Lambeth, R-Forsyth
  • Part II appropriates $50,548,003 in recurring funds for FY 2019-20 to fund changes in Average Daily Membership (ADM) and average salary adjustments in public schools

 

HB 922: Enhance Insurance Coverage/Education Buildings

  • Referred to the House Insurance Committee
  • Requires LEAs to insure and keep insured buildings owned by the LEA to the extent of not less than 80% (previously not less than 75%) of the current insurable value against loss by an insurable hazard such as fire, windstorm, vandalism, sprinkler leakage, water damage, etc.
  • When property of the LEA is located in the 100-year flood plain on the latest Flood Insurance Rate Map, that local school board is required to insure or keep insured to the extent of not less than 80% of the current insurable value for flood damage to buildings and their contents
  • Requires county commissioners to provide the necessary funding for compliance
  • Transfers the School Insurance Fund Section of DPI to the Department of Insurance (DOI) – the balance of the Public School Insurance Fund will also be transferred to DOI

 

SB 5: School Safety Omnibus

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and placed on the House Rules Committee agenda for Monday, July 15
  • The House Education K-12 Committee replaced the contents of the original bill that dealt with access to the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) for capital funding needs with language from HB 76: School Safety Omnibus
  • The new version of the bill does the following:
    • Establishes that school safety requirements apply to all public schools and encourages non-public schools to participate in school safety plans
    • Clarifies the powers and duties of the Center for Safer Schools
    • Requires reporting on the operational status of all public schools during states of emergency
    • Defines the term “school resource officer” (SRO) and requires training for SROs
    • Requires annual vulnerability assessments for each public school building

 

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and the House Rules Committee and placed on the House calendar for Monday, July 15
  • The House Education K-12 Committee replaced the contents of the original bill that dealt with extending the study of current statutes on regional schools and clarifying regional school transportation requirements to a bill that establishes a mandatory process for participating units seeking withdrawal from a regional school
  • The new version of the bill states that a participating unit must adopt a resolution requesting withdrawal (that includes a withdrawal plan) and submit a copy to the regional school board of directors
    • The participating unit must receive conditional approval to withdraw with a 2/3 vote from the board of directors
    • If the participating unit receives the 2/3 vote approval, the State Board of Education (SBE) must grant final approval
    • An amendment to give the SBE authority to make the final decision on approval of withdrawal, regardless of the board of directors’ vote, was voted down in the House Rules Committee

 

SB 343: Various Education Law Changes

  • Placed on Senate calendar for concurrence for Monday, July 15
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Ballard, R-Watauga
  • Repeals and changes certain education reports and report dates
  • Requires each LEA to annually report the instructional calendar start and end dates to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the SBE by April 1 and requires the SBE to annually report the dates to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by June 15 – for the 2019-20 school year, each LEA must submit its report by August 1, 2019 and the SBE must submit its report by September 1, 2019
  • Clarifies that Education Workforce Innovation Commission membership is extended to designees
  • Staggers Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission appointments
  • Exempts SBE charter actions from contested case provisions

 

SB 354: Sam’s Law

  • Placed on Senate calendar for concurrence for Monday, July 15
  • Allows a parent of any student to petition a school for the development of a seizure action plan if the student is diagnosed with a seizure disorder and enrolled in the school
  • Requires at least one employee at each school to be trained to administer or assist with self-administration of seizure medication
  • Requires each public school to adopt a policy outlining a seizure education program for all K-12 school personnel that have direct contact with students
  • The House Rules Committee made the following changes to the bill:
    • Modifies the definition of a “school” to only include a school within a public school unit (previously included private and nonpublic schools)
    • Prohibits volunteers from administering or assisting with self-administration of seizure medication if the volunteer has not met the adopted training requirements
    • Modifies that the seizure education program must be administered on an annual basis in each school (was previously required in each public school unit)

 

SB 391: Expand Youth Internship Opportunities

  • Regular message received by the Senate for concurrence in House amendment
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Ballard, R-Watauga; Gunn, R-Alamance; Newton, R-Cabarrus
  • Provides a limited exception to the prohibition of 16-18-year-old students participating in supervised, practice experiences with employers in occupations declared by the Commissioner of Labor to be detrimental to the health and well-being of youth
  • Clarifies that the Commissioner of Labor must make the required findings that would allow an eligible student to qualify for the exception

 

SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Berger, R-Rockingham
  • Establishes individual reading plans (IRPs) and a Digital Children’s Reading Initiative
  • Establishes a Comprehensive Plan to Improve Literacy Instruction
  • Requires the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) to provide professional development in literacy instruction
  • Requires educator preparation programs to provide literacy training coursework for elementary education teachers
  • Requires the alignment of literacy curriculum and instruction with Read to Achieve
  • Requires DPI approval of local reading camp plans
  • Studies the phasing out of certain alternative assessments
  • Creates a uniform template for Read to Achieve data
  • Provides continuing education credits related to literacy for certain reading camp instructors and allows certain retired teachers to serve as reading camp instructors
  • Expands the Wolfpack WORKS program

 

SB 476: Competency-Based Assessments & Mental Health/Teen Violence

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee and placed on the House calendar for Monday, July 15
  • The House Education K-12 Committee replaced the contents of the original bill that dealt with reaffirming local control over student discipline policies to a bill with the contents of HB 714: Competency-Based Assessments and HB 434: Suicide Risk Referral/Mental Health/Teen Violence
  • The new version of the bill does the following:
    • Directs the SBE to recommend steps necessary to transition to a competency-based assessment and teaching model for all elementary and secondary students
    • Requires public school units to adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol, a mental health training program, and a policy against teen dating violence and abuse

 

SB 522: Low-Performing Schools

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee
  • The House Education K-12 Committee replaced the contents of the original bill that dealt with various changes to charter school laws to a bill with the contents of HB 798: Low-Performing Schools
  • The new version of the bill does the following:
    • Defines a qualifying school as a Title I school in the lowest performing 5% of school performance grades that is (i) governed by a LEA and (ii) receives funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
    • Aligns the selection of innovative schools with those identified by the SBE for comprehensive support and improvement
    • Expands options for the innovative school district (ISD) to require LEAs to inform boards of county commissioners of academic progress annually
    • Establishes a three-year process before a school can be transferred to the ISD beginning in the 2023-24 school year – NCSBA was instrumental in maintaining the three-process because the bill had previously been changed to make it a two-year process
    • The SBE may transfer up to five schools to the ISD annually beginning in the 2023-24 school year
    • In addition to the previously mentioned three-year process, requires the SBE to transfer the lowest scoring school in the State for the 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 school years to the ISD in the 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23 school years respectively
    • Strikes language that a school in the innovation zone must become an innovative school if it does not exceed growth in the last two years of the five consecutive years in the innovation zone
    • Requires further study of reforms for assistance to low-performing schools

 

SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019

  • Placed on Senate calendar for concurrence for Monday, July 15
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Tillman, R-Randolph; Ballard, R-Watauga; Sawyer, R-Iredell
  • Eliminates the NC final exam
  • Replaces the EOGs with a through-grade assessment model that is similar to the NC Check-Ins
  • Replaces the EOCs with the ACT or other nationally recognized assessment of high school achievement and college readiness
  • Establishes plans to reduced standardized testing by LEAs
  • Prohibits graduation projects as a condition of graduation
  • Requires DPI to examine third grade English language arts assessments to better meet the goals of Read to Achieve
  • The House Rules Committee modified language that rewrites G.S.115C-81.36 in SB 500: Modify Advanced Math Course Enrollment (S.L. 2019-120):
    • Changes “end-of-grade test” for students in grades three through five to “State-mandated test”
    • Changes “end-of-grade or end-of-course test” for students in grades six and higher to “State-mandated test that denotes superior command of knowledge and skills”

 

Bills on the Governor’s Desk

HB 107: PED Oversight/EPP Changes

  • Presented to the Governor on Friday, July 12
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Farmer-Butterfield, D-Wilson; Lucas, D-Cumberland
  • Makes clarifying/technical changes to the annual performance report
  • Requires the SBE to adopt a rule creating a small group reporting exception any time data are at risk of being individually identifiable
  • Requires the SBE (in consultation with DPI and the Professional Educator Preparation & Standards Commission) to develop a formulaic, performance-based weighted model and report it to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee
  • The Senate made the following changes to the bill:
    • Removes the requirement that two-year retention rates of EPP completers initially licensed and employed in NC public schools be used as a performance measure for EPPs
    • Adds the requirement that the SBE study the inclusion of two-year retention rates of EPP completers initially licensed and employed in NC public school as a performance measure for EPPs

 

HB 362: 15-Point Scale for School Performance Grades

  • Presented to the Governor on Friday, July 12
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Harris, D-Mecklenburg; Elmore, R-Wilkes; Autry, D-Mecklenburg
  • Makes permanent the 15-point scale for school performance grades, which is one of NCSBA’s top priorities for this legislative session
  • Requires the SBE to adopt emergency rules in preparation for permanent rule making
  • Directs the SBE to study the reporting methods used for school accountability purposes on the NC annual school report cards
  • An amendment proposed on the Senate floor by Senator Waddell, D-Mecklenburg, to change the weight of school performance grades from 80% school achievement and 20% school growth to 51% school achievement and 49% school growth was not considered

 

HB 411: Modify School Quality/Student Success Indicator

  • Presented to the Governor on Thursday, July 11
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Horn, R-Union; Corbin, R-Macon; Elmore, R-Wilkes; Johnson, R-Cabarrus
  • Combines the career and college readiness indicators used for school performance grades and for the purpose of compliance with federal law
  • Requires that the SBE include additional career and college readiness information on annual report cards

 

 

Bills Signed by the Governor

HB 924: Teacher Contract Changes

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-82 on Monday, July 8
  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives D. Hall, R-Caldwell; Horn, R-Union
  • Clarifies eligibility for extended teacher contracts by defining a year of employment as not less than the standard 120 workdays performed as a teacher in a full-time permanent position (which had previously been the standard for career status)
  • The Senate amended the bill to include contents of SB 134: Economics & Financial Literacy Act, which establishes completion of an economics and personal finance course as a public high school graduation requirement beginning with the freshman class of 2020-21

 

SB 88: Electrician Requirements for Certain Organizations

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-78 on Thursday, July 4
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Sawyer, R-Iredell; T. Alexander, R-Cleveland
  • Enables licensed electrical contractors employed by schools to make repairs and conduct maintenance at all facilities at all times when done at the direction of the school

 

SB 219: Modify Teacher Licensing Requirements

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-71 on Monday, July 1
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators McInnis, R-Richmond; Tillman, R-Randolph; Johnson, R-Union
  • Extends the timeframe to pass testing requirements for a continuing professional license (CPL) from two to three years
  • Provides a one-year initial professional license (IPL) extension for elementary and special education teachers
  • Creates a three-year nonrenewable limited license for:
    • Individuals who were issued an IPL but have not yet qualified for a CPL
    • Out-of-state applicants that do not have an IPL or a CPL, but have a current teacher license in good standing and at least three years of teaching experience
    • A military spouse who holds a current teaching license in another state
    • (An individual’s limited license can only be used in the LEA that requested it)
  • Authorizes LEAs to determine experience credit for teachers from other states to pay them at the commensurate level on the State salary schedule during the first year of the license
  • Reduces the number of years required to get a lifetime teaching license from 50 to 30 years
  • Authorizes emergency rulemaking by the SBE to implement the requirements of the bill in accordance with its timeline.

 

SB 399: Rehire High-Need Teachers

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-110 on Thursday, July 11
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Horner, R-Nash; Berger, R-Rockingham; Chaudhuri, D-Wake
  • Allows teachers who retired on or before February 1, 2019 to return to work in high-need schools (Title I schools or schools with an overall school performance grade of D or F at any point on or after July 1, 2017) without adversely impacting the retired teachers’ benefits
  • Qualifying schools would no longer be allowed to hire teachers who retired before February 1, 2019 under the earnings cap
  • Will be repealed if the IRS determines that the Teachers’ and State Employee’s Retirement System (TSERS) would be jeopardized
  • Any penalties assessed to the retirement system are the responsibility of the LEA
  • It is important that school districts note the potential for significant financial exposure once this session law is administered. NCSBA posed a series of questions to the Retirement System that we hope will help personnel directors and principals better understand the law. Click here to view the Q&A.

 

SB 500: Modify Advanced Math Course Enrollment

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-120 on Thursday, July 11
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Smith, D-Northampton; Tillman, R-Randolph; Chaudhuri, D-Wake
  • Makes the following modifications to the implementation of advanced math courses and opportunities:
    • When practicable, LEAs must offer advanced learning opportunities in math for students in grades three through five
    • Any student in grades three through five who scores at the highest level on the EOG must be provided advanced learning opportunities in math approved for that student’s grade level
    • Before a parent or guardian can provide written consent for their student to be excluded or removed from an advanced learning opportunity for students in grades three through five or from an advanced math course for students in grades six and higher, it is required that the parent or guardian be informed that the student’s placement was determined by the student’s achievement at the highest level on the previous EOG or EOC
    • Schools that did not offer Math I to eighth graders during the 2018-19 school year are not required to offer it for the 2019-20 school year, but are required to develop and submit an implementation plan by January 15, 2020 (schools may still offer Math I to eighth grades if they choose)
  • (See SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019 for changes in bill language)

 

July 15-19 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Monday, July 15

3:00 pm – House: Rules – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (audio)

Tuesday, July 16

9:00 am – House: Insurance – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (audio)

1:00 pm – House: Education K-12 – Legislative Offices Building, rm 643 (audio)

 

 

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 – July 12, 2019