NCSBA Legislative Update – June 19, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 19, 2020

This Week at the Legislature

Legislators wasted no time in moving numerous bills through committees and sessions this week, including many K-12 education bills. Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore share the same goal of wrapping up work next week but acknowledge that the short session may continue into the week after. While Senator Berger stated that the Senate has passed all appropriations bills it plans to address, Speaker Moore said the House still has spending bills to take up next week, as well as any veto override votes. It is possible that legislators may meet again in late July or early August, after the release of final tax numbers and more specific information about reopening schools.

On Tuesday, June 16 the House Education K-12 Committee adopted a committee substitute for HB 1035: 2020-2021 Calendar Modifications, which replaced the original education omnibus bill (contents included in SB 704/SL 2020-3) with a bill that removes restrictions on when remote instruction days can be scheduled and the number of remote instruction days allowed when needed to address the health and safety of students for the 2020-21 school year. The bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. If your district is interested in the additional flexibility that this bill would provide for remote instruction days, we urge you to contact your Senators. HB 1035 also authorizes flexibility in adopted single-track year-round calendars when needed to address the health and safety of students for the 2020-21 school year and extends the use of emergency school nutrition funds to the Summer Food Services Program through December 30, 2020

SB 818: Compensation of Certain School Employees made it through both the Senate and the House and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. This bill would provide a $350 bonus for teachers and instructional support personnel and step-increases for teachers and assistant principals. Despite its swift movement through each chamber, SB 818 received pushback from Democrats calling for higher bonuses and inclusion of non-certified personnel. The bill encourages Governor Cooper to use CARES Act funds to provide an additional $600 bonus for teachers and instructional support personnel, as well as noncertified personnel. Republicans claim that the federal dollars can be used for the bonuses, but Governor Cooper’s spokesperson has been quoted in the media saying that the funds are not authorized to be used in this way. To read more about the controversy over SB 818, click here.

HB 1225: Education & Transportation Bond Act of 2020 was amended on the House floor on Thursday, June 18 to move $350 million out of the transportation allotment and transfer $250 million to K-12 public schools and $100 million to community colleges. The proposed $3.1 billion bond would now provide $1.15 billion for transportation and $1.95 billion for education. The education portion would be divided as follows:

  • $1.05 billion for K-12 public schools
  • $600 million for the UNC System
  • $300 million for community colleges

The bill passed the first required vote in the House 113-4. The final House vote will be held on Monday, June 22. With House passage imminent, what will happen to HB 1225 in the Senate? According to the media, Senate Leader Phil Berger, who has not been a big fan of bonds in the past and instead prefers a pay-as-you-go methodology, said in response to the House bond bill, “I just don’t think it’s wise to go borrow money when you know that the money you’ve got coming in is less than what was previously anticipated.” But Berger added that the pay-as-you-go method will be difficult given the state’s finances as a result of the pandemic: “At some point I think we might have to borrow some money.”

If signed into law, the bond referendum would be split into two questions on the November 2020 ballot, one on education and one on transportation.

 

Additional statewide education-related bills with legislative action this week:

HB 1105: COVID/Supplementary G.R.E.A.T. Grant Period

  • Approved by the House Appropriations and House Rules Committees and will be calendared
  • Expands broadband infrastructure in the State, which would improve remote teaching and learning connectivity

SB 816: Funds for CC Enrollment Growth/CIHS Funds

  • Failed to concur in the Senate and conference committee appointed
  • Appropriates $1.9 million in nonrecurring funds to eight cooperative innovative high schools for the 2020-21 fiscal year

HB 158: COVID-19 New Driver Response

  • Presented to the Governor on Tuesday, June 16
  • Provides accommodations for driver education coursework interrupted by school closures on March 13
  • Temporarily waives the road test requirement to obtain an initial provisional driver’s license (Level 2 limited provisional license)

HB 1050: PED/Low-Performing School Districts – approved by the Senate Education/Higher Education and Senate Rules Committees and placed on the Senate calendar for Monday, June 22

HB 1096: UNC Omnibus Changes/UNC Lab School Funds – passed the House, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, and referred to the Senate Rules Committee

HB 1218: Salary-Related Contribs/Debt Service Funds – passed the House and presented to the Governor on Thursday, June 18

SB 374: Regulatory Reform Act of 2020 – approved by the House Regulatory Reform
Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee

SB 408: COLA for TSERS & CJRS – approved by the House Pensions and Retirement Committee and referred to the House Appropriations Committee

SB 706: Educ. Changes for Military-Connected Students – approved by the Senate Education/Higher Education and Senate Rules Committees and passed the Senate

SB 719: Retirement Tech/Protect/& Other Changes – passed the Senate and presented to the Governor on Thursday, June 18

 

Local education-related bills with legislative action this week:

HB 1113: Local Option Sales Tax/School Construction – approved by the House Finance and House Rules Committees and placed on the House calendar for Monday, June 22

HB 1151: Asheville-Buncombe Bd. of Trustees – became S.L. 2020-20 on Wednesday, June 17

SB 796: Carteret Co. Bd. Of Educ. Districts – passed the House and sent to the Senate for concurrence

 

Click here to view the status of education-related bills.

 

Leandro Action Plan

On Monday, June 15 the fight for the opportunity to a sound basic education continued with the filing of the Leandro action plan for fiscal year 2021. The action plan covers the seven key areas provided in Judge David Lee’s consent order released in January 2020. These key areas were developed following the release of the 301-page WestEd Report. WestEd is the independent consultant appointed by Judge Lee to develop recommendations for the State to best achieve its constitutional requirement of providing every student with the opportunity to a sound basic education. Both HB 1129: Ensure a Sound Basic Education and HB 1130: Invest in a Sound Basic Education address the Leandro recommendations, but neither have seen movement.

 

 

 

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 – June 19, 2020

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