NCSBA Legislative Update – July 9, 2021

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 9, 2021

 

The SBE met for its monthly meeting on Thursday and heard presentations on the following:

K-12 social studies 6-12 unpacking documents: The Board voted 6-5 to approve the K-12 social studies unpacking documents for grades 6-12, which enhance teacher understanding of how to engage students with the standards. This follows the Board’s approval of other K-12 social studies supporting documents last month, and the vote was again split along party lines. Although this was the Board’s last step in a process that has taken several years, the results of a recent report from the Fordham Institute proved to be cause for concern to State Superintendent Catherine Truitt. According to the national report by the conservative-leaning education think tank, NC received an “Inadequate” overall rating for its civics and US history courses. DPI staff explained that NC has continually received low scores on this report because the State’s social studies standards are conceptual (meaning they are general/broad concepts rather than specific standards/statements of essential knowledge), and the Institute does not review the State’s supporting documents along with the standards.

Although the approved social studies standards will go into effect in the 2021-2022 school year, Board Chair Eric Davis stated that in August the Superintendent will present the Board with proposed changes of how to develop social studies standards, which could lead to revisions of the current standards. Click here for an article of this discussion. The following are links to each 6-12 unpacking document:

DHHS COVID-19 update: DHHS staff reported that at least 25% of children ages 12-17 have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccination rate, the ABC Science Collaborative’s report on the effectiveness of masking in schools, and updated CDC guidance are new factors that DHHS staff is considering as they revise the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit. Board members were also presented with information about a COVID-19 screening testing program for K-12 schools. The federally funded program allows for screening testing, as well as temporary staffing support like registered nurses or other clinical personnel. School districts that want to opt-in to the program for the 2021-2022 school year must complete the opt-in form by September 13. The opt-in form and guidance on testing responsibilities will be released this month and distributed to superintendents and school health administrators. For more information on the testing program, see slides 11-15 of this presentation.

ESSER III budget comparison: The Board was presented with budget comparison charts of the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) funding 10% DPI reserve. Click here to view the charts on slides 9-11 that compare DPI/SBE’s budget recommendations with the House and Senate’s distribution plans.

Summer learning update: The Board received a presentation on the implementation of HB 82: Summer Learning Choice for NC Families/SL 2021-7 that includes notable findings on slides 3-6 of this presentation.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

The legislature took a holiday break this week and will resume session and committee meetings next week.

Education Bills Signed into Law

SB 668: Anti-Pension Spiking Amds & Litig. Moratorium (primary sponsor: Senator Jim Burgin, R-Harnett) was signed into SL 2021-72. This bill does the following:

  • Adds another payment option: 12 years with no early pay-off penalty
  • In certain situations, two or more employers will share the liability
  • Creates a working group consisting of NCSBA, the State Treasurer’s office, and other organizations to develop recommendations to the General Assembly that will reduce the number of pension spiking cases and lawsuits
  • Requires a pause on pension-spiking litigation until June 30, 2022, during which the working group will create its recommendations
    • As a result of this pause, the statute of limitations will be extended
    • During this pause, the Treasurer’s office is not allowed to intercept funds that would have otherwise been directed to a LEA

Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 335: Timely Local Payments to Charter Schools (primary sponsors: Representatives John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg; Dennis Riddell, R-Alamance; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Jason Saine, R-Lincoln) was signed into SL 2021-79. This bill does the following:

  • Requires the 30-day clock for a LEA to submit payment to a charter school to begin after the LEA is in receipt of both a charter school invoice and the monies from the county into the local current expense fund (originally the 30-day clock started after the LEA received a charter school invoice)
  • Requires a LEA to submit payment to a charter school for the undisputed amount within the 30-day period
  • Requires a LEA to pay a 3%late fee and 8% annual interest if the following occur:
    • A charter school provides written notice to the LEA’s superintendent and school finance officer after the 30-day period stating that the payment was not received
    • Electronic payment is not transferred within 15 days of that notice, or if mailed, not postmarked within 15 days of that notice (originally the bill included an 8% late fee on day 31)
    • If a LEA disputes payment for any student whose information submitted by a charter school is incorrect, late fees and interest are not applied to the payment for that student
  • Requires the State Superintendent, in consultation with LEAs and charter schools, to create:
    • A standardized enrollment verification and transfer request document used by charter schools to request the per pupil share of the local current expense fund
    • A standardized procedure that LEAs must use when transferring the per pupil share of the local current expense fund

Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 602: UNC Legislative Priorities/HR/Reports (primary sponsors: Representatives Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Ray Pickett, R-Watauga; Dean Arp, R-Union; Kandie Smith, D-Pitt) was signed into SL 2021-80. Section 2.4 requires reporting by the Community Colleges System on the UNC-NCCCS 2+2 E-Learning Initiative, including the total number of teachers in each LEA that have taken part in the Initiative and qualitative data on the Initiative’s impact on students, teachers, and personnel. Click here for an official bill summary.

Bill Chart

Click here for a chart of all education-related bills that NCBSA is tracking.

 

This morning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidance for K-12 schools to safely return to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Although COVID-19 vaccinations are available for children ages 12-17, most students will be unvaccinated, and the updated guidance emphasizes the importance of mask-wearing in schools for students and staff who are not fully vaccinated. The CDC continues to recommend using layered prevention strategies (physical distancing, screening testing, etc.)  and local monitoring of transmission, vaccinations, testing, and outbreaks to guide decision-making.

 

This week the US Department of Education announced $600 million in additional American Rescue Plan funding for students experiencing homelessness. Click here for the press release and click here for grant information, including the application.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
rbostic@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – July 9, 2021