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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 2, 2019

NCSBA Legislative Update – August 2, 2019

This Week at the Legislature

By all accounts, Governor Cooper and the General Assembly are no closer to ending the budget stalemate. The State budget (HB 966) was placed on the House calendar each day this week, but the Speaker has yet to bring it to a vote. We are still exactly where we were five weeks ago. The Senate stopgap budget measure (HB 961), which ensures that the state has access to federal dollars, was signed into S.L. 2019-192 on Thursday, August 1. Although the stopgap measure does not include funding for K-12 ADM growth, it would allow federal funds to be transferred to the SBE to be used for the establishment of an abstinence until marriage education program. Until a new State budget becomes law, North Carolina will continue to operate in the shadow of last year’s recurring funding levels.

This week Governor Cooper vetoed two bills, doubling his use of the veto stamp for this legislative session. One of the bills impacts charter schools. In his required message to the General Assembly, the Governor stated that the section of SB 392: Various Charter School Changes that raises virtual charter schools’ enrollment cap by 20% per year was unnecessary. He cited the two schools’ low performance grades and the State Board of Education’s existing legal capacity to lift the enrollment cap on virtual charter schools as reasons for vetoing the bill. See below for more details on SB 392.

While the Senate took this week off, several House committees met. See below for House action on bills.

 

Headlines of K-12 Education Bills

For more detailed bill summaries see Highlights of K-12 Education Bills below.

Bills with House Action

SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

Bills Signed by the Governor

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

SB 366: 9th/10th Grade/College Transfer Pathways

Vetoed Bill

SB 392: Various Charter School Changes

 

Highlights of K-12 Education Bills

Bills with House Action

SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws

  • Passed the House 92-15 (click here to see vote) and sent to the Senate
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Britt, R-Robeson; Harrington, R-Gaston; Chaudhuri, D-Wake
  • Section 5.4.(a) requires LEAs to adopt and implement training on child sex abuse and sex trafficking for school personnel
  • An amendment that passed on the House floor eliminated the $50,000 appropriation to be used by DPI for assistance to LEAs, charter, regional, innovative, and laboratory schools in the implementation of the child sex abuse and trafficking training

 

SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee
  • The House Education K-12 Committee removed the contents of the original bill that dealt with residency for in-state tuition for NC community colleges and universities and replaced it with a bill that makes changes to local standards of student conduct
  • The new version of the bill does the following:
    • Requires LEAs to consult with teachers, school-based administrators, parents, and local law enforcement agencies when adopting policies and procedures governing student conduct and discipline
    • Requires LEAs to review current federal guidance issued by the US Department of Education before adopting student conduct policies
    • Requires each LEA to annually submit a copy of its most up-to-date student discipline policies to DPI by September 1
    • Removes examples of conduct that would not be deemed to be a serious violation of the LEA’s code of student conduct
    • Allows LEAs to require that students and parents/guardians sign an acknowledgement that they have received a copy of student conduct policies and procedures
    • Encourages school officials to use a full range of responses to violations of policies after informing the parent/guardian
    • Clarifies that this bill does not regulate a LEA’s discretion to devise, impose, and enforce personal appearance codes
  • The new version of the bill is effective beginning with the 2020-21 school year

 

SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.

  • Approved by the House Rules Committee and placed on the House calendar
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Berger, R-Rockingham; Tillman, R-Randolph
  • Part II of the bill gives counties additional flexibility with regard to local option sales and use tax without increasing the existing maximum tax rate
  • The House Rules Committee added to the bill that the 0.25% sales and use tax rate allowed by the bill may only be levied on or after October 1, 2020 if the 0.25% levy results in a 2.5% county sales and use tax rate

 

Bills Signed by the Governor

SB 301: Regional School Modifications

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-184 on Thursday, August 1
  • Primary Sponsor: Senator Brown, R-Onslow
  • Establishes a mandatory process for participating units seeking withdrawal from a regional school
  • Requires a participating unit to adopt a resolution requesting withdrawal (including 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 — prohibits a participating unit from withdrawing without approval from the regional school board of directors
    • If the participating unit receives the 2/3 vote approval, the SBE must grant final approval

 

SB 366: 9th/10th Grade/College Transfer Pathways

  • Signed into S.L. 2019-185 on Thursday, August 1
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators McInnis, R-Richmond; B. Jackson, R-Sampson
  • Extends the participation in college transfer pathways and enrollment in college courses to include qualified freshmen and sophomores who meet the specified requirements
  • Requires that the criteria for adjunct career and technical education (CTE) instructors weigh work experience and industry recognized licenses/credentials over educational attainment level — requires the SBE to develop and report the minimum criteria to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by April 15, 2020
  • For the 2019-20 school year, allows an individual without an associate or baccalaureate degree to be deemed to meet the minimum criteria for an adjunct CTE instructor if the individual (i) can demonstrate a minimum of six years in the last ten years of professional experience in the relevant skill or trade and (ii) has a recognized industry credential or active professional license in each subject area

 

Vetoed Bill

SB 392: Various Charter School Changes

  • Vetoed by the Governor on Monday, July 29
  • Primary Sponsors: Senators Ballard, R-Watauga; Brown, R-Onslow; Newton, R-Cabarrus
  • Designates the Superintendent of Public Instruction as an applicable elected representative who may approve bonds to finance or refinance a charter school facility
  • Clarifies charter school renewal standards
  • Requires background checks for charter boards of directors
  • Increases the enrollment cap for virtual charter schools

 

School Calendar Flexibility

The @NCLocalCalendar Twitter handle has been tweeting about all of the charter and restart schools that have already started their 2019-20 school year due to their ability to utilize school calendar flexibility. The tweets recognize legislators who filed bills for their districts during this legislative session in hopes of extending school calendar flexibility to traditional public schools. Yesterday the account tweeted about the start of traditional public schools’ fall athletic practices. The tweet questioned why students are allowed to start playing sports on August 1 but have to wait until August 26 to begin exercising their minds. Great question!

Be sure to check out the @NCLocalCalendar Twitter page to see what charter schools in your district have already started their 2019-20 school year.

 

August 5-9 Legislative Calendar

Monday, August 5

3:00 pm – House: Rules – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (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 – August 2, 2019