NCSBA Legislative Update – October 15, 2021

NCSBA Legislative Update – October 15, 2021

 

Budget Negotiations

Another week has come and gone as private budget negotiations continue between Republican legislative leaders and Governor Roy Cooper.

Status of Education-Related Bills

Click here for a chart that lists the status of education-related bills, including which bills have become session law.

 

This week the NC Task Force for Safer Schools met to hear comments from State leaders and to develop a statement on improving discourse at local school board meetings. The statement calls for adults to “demonstrate the behaviors we want our children to display” and to “prioritize working across differences to achieve our shared goal: a safe educational environment for our children.” (The complete statement is included at the end of this article.)

Governor Roy Cooper spoke to the Task Force about creating safer schools, especially through the lens of mental health. Cooper noted the importance of providing each student with access to a sound basic education by addressing how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected students’ mental health.

Attorney General Josh Stein discussed school safety and child gun violence, stating that “The number of child firearm deaths nearly doubled in just one year from 2019 to 2020, and that was true for older teens as well.” Task Force Chair Billy Lassiter also presented on gun violence, saying that 6,894 juvenile firearm offenses were received by Juvenile Justice (NC Department of Public Safety) in the past three years, with 5% (roughly 345) being school-based.

Click here for an article that includes the Task Force’s statement on discourse at local school board meetings, as well as comments from the Governor and Attorney General.

 

This week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that over $1.1 billion will be committed to the second wave of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This amount will fund over 2.4 million devices and 1.9 million broadband connections for off-campus use by students and school staff. To date, roughly $2.4 billion has been committed to providing these services, of which over $93 million has been committed to North Carolina.

Nearly 60% of applications from the first filing window have been processed, and the second application window just closed this week. Click here for the FCC news release.

 

This week the Avery County school board voted to switch from its mandatory mask policy for students in grades 3-12 (which was only in effect for one week) back to a mask optional policy for all grades. Now, seven school districts allow masks to be optional and 108 districts require masks.

NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ policies on school mask requirements as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org.

 

 

 

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 – October 15, 2021