NCSBA Legislative Update – June 3, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 3, 2022

 

Parents’ Bill of Rights

HB 755: Parents’ Bill of Rights (sponsored by Senators Phil Berger, R-Rockingham; Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) passed the Senate on a 28-18 party-line vote, with one Democrat joining Republicans in support of the bill. HB 755 has been sent to the House for a concurrence vote.

HB 755 is a 9-page bill that creates new rights for parents regarding their child’s education and lists numerous existing rights. The bill prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 curriculum and requires parents to be notified if their child chooses to change their name or pronouns or if they seek mental health services. Many of the parental rights and school requirements listed in the bill lack clarity, which will likely cause subjective interpretation and challenges with implementation.

Prior to the Senate vote, bill sponsors explained that HB 755 promotes parental involvement and control in their child’s education. On the Senate floor, Democrats voiced concerns about the bill, including the burden it will place on teachers, the harm it will do to LGBTQ+ students, and the potential economic impacts it could have on the State. Senator Michael Garrett, D-Guilford, promoted SB 860: Parents’ Bill of Rights, which is sponsored by himself and Senators Sydney Batch, D-Wake, and Toby Fitch, D-Wilson, and co-sponsored by the entire Senate Democratic caucus.

Click here for an article on the bill and its passage.

School Safety

On Wednesday, the House Education K-12 Committee heard a presentation on school safety from Karen Fairley, Executive Director of the NC Center for Safer Schools. At the start of the meeting, Committee Chair John Torbett, R-Gaston, stated the importance of updating the Committee and the public on what the State does to maintain safety in its public schools, following last week’s school shooting in Ulvade, Texas.

Highlights from the presentation include:

  • There was a total of 907 credible safety tips submitted to the State’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SSARS) during the 2021-2022 school year
    • Highest on the list was planned school attacks, with 254 credible reports
    • Next was suicide/suicide ideation, with 185 credible reports
  • 98 school districts are actively using SSARS
    • School districts are required to have an anonymous reporting system, but it does not have to be SSARS
  • Roughly 33% of public schools have not submitted a School Risk Management Plan, which is required by State law

When asked about what type of funding the Center needs to advance its mission and vision, Fairley responded with funding for threat assessment teams, school resources officers, and school safety grants for equipment and staff trainings.

Click here for an article on the meeting.

Retirement Bill

HB 1056: Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Carson Smith, R-Pender) passed the House 112-0 and has been sent to the Senate. This bill does the following:

  • Clarifies that the Local Government Commission can decline to review a LEA’s borrowing request under a guaranteed energy savings contract if the LEA did not submit procurement documents prior to sending out the request for proposal
  • Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), allows the Retirement System to correct errors for the “transfer benefit” to allow monies to be returned to supplemental retirement plans (the reversal would include lost earnings)
  • Makes changes related to the treatment of inactive employers and deadlines for reactivation under TSERS
  • Makes changes related to the establishment of a default option for employing units that fail to select an option for the transfer for remaining assets upon the discontinuation of the Department of State Treasurer-sponsored 403(b) plans
  • Makes changes related to the clarification of the eligibility for long-term disability benefits under TSERS

Click here for an official bill summary.

 

This week the State Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. Presentations to the Board included:

2022 Teacher Working Conditions Survey results: Board members were presented with these survey results and reminded that this is the first of two presentations, with a deeper data dive in October 2022. There was a record 91.96% participation rate in this year’s survey. Highlights of the survey results include:

  • School leadership is the top condition that affects willingness to continue teaching at a current school
  • 86% of teachers say they plan to remain teaching in NC and 90% of principals say they plan to remain as school administrators in NC
  • 57% of educators have spent up to half of their instruction time reteaching prior grade academic standards
  • The need for social/emotional learning is clearly evident across responses from teachers and principals
  • The top five issues of most concern are:
    1. Addressing disparities in student learning
    2. School staffing shortages
    3. Assessing student performance and needs
    4. Social/emotional support for students
    5. Health and safety of teachers and staff

Click here for highlighted results and click here for the presentation. Click here for all survey results, which include individual school results for 98% of schools (must reach the 40% response rate threshold). Click here for an article on the survey results.

School nutrition updates: The Board received updates from Dr. Lynn Harvey, DPI’s Director of School Nutrition Services. Dr. Harvey stated that the federal waivers that have allowed free meals to be provided to all children during the COVID-19 pandemic will expire on June 30, 2022. These waivers also provided increased reimbursement for school meals and flexibility in purchasing and contracts. Dr. Harvey explained that local leaders are bracing for the impacts of losing these waivers as food costs, supply costs, fuel costs, and labor costs continue to rise. Additional repercussions include the stigma experienced by children who receive free or reduced-price meals and an increase in students who are hungry. Board member Dr. Olivia Oxendine expressed concern about how students are legally required to attend school but are not provided with free meals while at school. She compared this to the fact that students are provided with free transportation to and from school.

Estimates of additional time needed for student recovery: DPI’s Office of Learning and Recovery (OLR) presented data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on public school units and students in a new light. The OLR took data on the effect sizes of the pandemic on student learning and translated that into school months needed for learning recovery, which can be viewed in this document. Presenters noted that this data does not consider learning that occurred during the 2021-2022 school year. This presentation was a part of the OLR’s Whitepaper Series, which unpacks the plethora of data on how students were impacted by the pandemic into focus points that are more easily understandable and can help district and school leaders combat the effects of the pandemic on student learning. Click here for an article on this data.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

On Wednesday, the State Supreme Court released an order saying that it will hear arguments on the transferring of $785 million to fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan during the week of August 29, 2022. The release of this order follows Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson’s finding that this amount of State funds is needed “to properly fund years two and three” of the eight-year Plan.

Robinson replaced Superior Court Judge David Lee earlier this year. After this replacement, the State Supreme Court ordered Robinson to review Lee’s November 10, 2021, order prior to the Leandro case coming before the Supreme Court. Lee’s order called for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Plan. Robinson amended Lee’s order to instead call for $785 million, following an analysis of how much the State budget, which passed on November 18, 2021, funds the Plan.

Click here for an article on the order that also includes background on the case.

 

The following is a list of education-related bills that were filed this week. We should not see any more bills filed, since the deadline to file bills has passed.

Local Bills

Click here for a list of education-related bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.

 

Tuesday, June 7

1:00 pm – House Local Government – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (livestream)

Wednesday, June 8

11:00 am – Senate Education/Higher Education – Legislative Offices Building, rm 544 (livestream)

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – June 3, 2022