NCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2022

 

In the midst of an extremely busy week of voting on bills and tying loose ends, both the House and Senate passed the State budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The budget was presented in a conference report, which could not be amended, and passed the House 85-27 and the Senate 38-9.

The total General Fund allocation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is $27.9 billion, which is said to be a 7.2% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year. For K-12 public education, the budget appropriates $11.3 billion, which is a 6.4% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The budget provides raises for all school staff, including teachers, noncertified personnel, and principals. While the average raise for teachers is 4.2%, teachers in their first five years of teaching will receive a range of raises from 7.2% to 6.1%, but teachers with 15 or more years of experience will (for the most part) not get more than a 2.7% raise. The budget also includes appropriations for school safety grants, school capital, and broadband expansion. For more information on education provisions included in the budget, click here to access NCSBA’s summaries.

Even though the budget received bipartisan support, both House and Senate Democrats criticized the budget for not utilizing more of the billions of dollars in surplus projected by the State Revenue Consensus Forecast in May. Concerns were also expressed about teacher pay, additional funds going towards the voucher program, and the lack of funding for the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. To the question of how much funding is in the budget for the Leandro Plan, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said, “We looked at what the requirements are for funding education in North Carolina, and we appropriated dollars to do that. How that matches up with what a nonprofit from California (WestEd) determined is an appropriate amount, I couldn’t say.”

Governor Roy Cooper has not yet publicly commented on this budget. Now that he has received the budget, the Governor can either sign it, veto it, or take no action and let it become law.

Click here for NCSBA’s summaries of the budget’s education provisions.

Click here for the education appropriations from the budget money report.

Click here for the budget bill (HB 103).

Click here for the full budget money report.

Click here for an article on the education provisions of the budget.

Click here for Senate leader Berger’s press release on the budget’s passage.

Click here for House Speaker Moore’s press release on the budget’s passage.

The Governmental Relations Team is working on a more in-depth summary of the budget’s education provisions, as well as education bills that have become law during this legislative biennium. We will share this summary with you in the coming weeks.

 

Both the House and Senate passed a joint resolution to adjourn today, July 1, and reconvene July 26, 2022. The resolution lists specific days each month through the rest of year that they will reconvene and adjourn, but it is unclear if there will be legislative action during each of these sessions. The resolution also lists matters that may be considered when the legislature reconvenes, including veto override votes. We will be sure to notify you if the legislature reconvenes and takes action on education issues.

Statewide Education Bills with Action This Week

The conference report for SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) was adopted by the House (81-27) and Senate (44-0) and presented to the Governor. Although the State budget, which has also been presented to the Governor, includes identical language to SB 671, the conference report for SB 671 was adopted and passed in case the Governor vetoes the budget. SB 671 does the following:

  • Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies, using the same number of maximum days allowed during the 2021-2022 school year
  • For the 2022-2023 school year,
    • Allows PSUs assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
    • Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan
  • Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, if a LEA provides virtual/remote instruction, it is required to be provided through a new type of remote academy
    • Each approved remote academy will receive a separate school code
    • Students can only be enrolled with parental consent
    • Lists requirements for these remote academies and remote academy plans
  • Extends the pilot program for the State’s two virtual charter schools from eight to 10 years, ending the pilot with the 2024-2025 school year
    • At the end of the pilot program, allows the two virtual charter schools to apply to the State Board of Education (SBE) for a charter renewal

This new version of SB 671 no longer includes an enrollment cap for the new remote academies. Additionally, the charter school language no longer allows charter school applications to include a request to be a remote academy or existing charter schools to convert to remote academies.

Click here for an official bill summary.

The conference report for HB 159: Education Law Changes was adopted by the House (102-5) and Senate (44-0) and presented to the Governor. The new version of the bill includes the requirement that all PSUs submit a school threat assessment survey to DPI’s Center for Safer Schools by November 15, 2022. This requirement is also included in the State budget but was included in HB 159 in case the Governor vetoes the budget.

HB 159 makes various changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided the waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 1173: Elect SBE Members/Super as Chair of SBE (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin) was approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and House Rules Committee and was also added to the House calendar twice to receive a vote but was withdrawn both times. This bill is a constitutional amendment that would require the election of State Board of Education (SBE) members and make the Superintendent of Public Instruction the chair of the SBE.

The SBE currently has 11 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly for eight-year terms (eight members are from each of the State’s education regions and three members are at-large). Currently, the State Superintendent is elected to a four-year term and is the Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the SBE.

This proposed constitutional amendment would require SBE members to be elected from each of North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts and serve four-year staggered terms. If HB 1173 becomes session law, which would require a 3/5 vote in each chamber, it will be on the ballot in November. Click here for an official bill summary. Click here for an article on HB 1173.

A conference report for SB 496: DOI Omnibus Bill.-AB (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson; Tom McInnis, R-Richmond) was adopted by the House (109-0) and Senate (43-0) and presented to the Governor. Section 6 of the bill requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner of Insurance with a list of all its insurable buildings, equipment and contents of the buildings, and their insurance values by October 1 each year. Section 6 also requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner with copies of insurance policies when purchasing insurance from an authorized company. Click here for an official bill summary.

SB 265: Bond Information Transparency/LGC Toolkit II (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan) passed the House 111-1, the Senate voted 47-0 to concur with House changes to the bill, and it has been presented to the Governor. SB 265 requires local governments to provide additional disclosures regarding bond referenda and requires more monitoring and oversight of local governments’ financial operations. Click here for an official bill summary.

SB 346: Extended Learning for Elective Courses (sponsored by Representative David Willis, R-Union) was approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and the House Rules Committee, passed the House 112-0, and was not voted on by the Senate for concurrence prior to adjournment. Prior to approval, the House Education K-12 Committee replaced the previous contents of the bill with a bill that authorizes local boards of education to adopt policies establishing requirements for granting elective course credit for certain alternative Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities. Click here for an official bill summary.

Retirement Bills with Action This Week

The House voted 106-0 to approve the Senate changes to HB 177: Extend Spiking Moratorium/LGERS Surety, and the bill has been presented to the Governor. HB 177 extends the pension-spiking litigation pause and the report deadline established in a 2021 session law. The report will include recommendations from NCSBA, the NC Department of the State Treasurer, and other organizations that will reduce the number of pension spiking cases and lawsuits. The bill does not allow the Treasurer’s Office to intercept funds during the litigation pause that would have otherwise been directed to a LEA. NCSBA supports HB 177. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 1056: Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022.-AB/SL 2022-14 (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Carson Smith, R-Pender) and HB 1058: Ret. & Treasury Tech. Corrections Act of 2022.-AB/SL 2022-16 (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill; Carson Smith) were both signed into session law by the Governor.

HB 1058 makes technical corrections and HB 1056 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

Official bill summaries: HB 1056 and HB 1058.

Local Education Bills with Action This Week

HB 995: Greensboro Deannex/Weldon City Bd of Ed Pay (primary sponsor: Representative Jon Hardister, R-Guilford) passed the Senate, was approved by the House on a concurrence vote, and was chaptered into SL 2022-33. The bill increases the compensation of the chair and members of the Weldon City Board of Education, allows the board to increase the monthly compensation of its members, and allows the board to establish an expense allowance for its members. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 982: Granville Board of Ed. Terms to Four Years (primary sponsor: Representative Terry Garrison, D-Vance) was modified and approved by the House Local Government Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill would change the terms for Granville County Board of Education members from six to four years, beginning with the 2024 election. Click here for an official bill summary.

NCSBA Bill Tracking Chart

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

 

President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that will extend free universal school meals through the summer. Federal school nutrition waivers were set to expire on June 30, 2022, but the Keep Kids Fed Act extended many of them. In addition to extending free student meals another three months, the Act also extends administrative and reimbursement flexibilities. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

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 – July 1, 2022