The legislature ramped up its efforts on public education issues this week as statewide education bills were approved by committees, local education bills passed the House, and more school calendar bills were filed. See more on these education bills below and see the “Bills Filed” section for a list of education bills filed this week. On Wednesday, the 2023 State Revenue Consensus Forecast was released and shows projections of a $3.25 billion (10.7%) budget surplus for the 2022-23 fiscal year. Read more about this under the “State Revenue Forecast” section. Additionally, the House adopted permanent rules, which you can read more about here.
Bill to Elect SBE Members and Make State Superintendent SBE Chair
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary 3 Committee approved HB 17: Elect the SBE/SPI as SBE Chair (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; David Willis, R-Union) and referred the bill to the House Rules Committee, which is its last stop before heading to a vote on the House floor. HB 17 is a constitutional amendment that requires 14 State Board of Education (SBE) members to be elected to four-year terms from districts established by the General Assembly. The bill also makes the State Superintendent 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.
A 3/5 vote in each chamber is required for this constitutional amendment to be put on the ballot for consideration by North Carolina’s voters.
Click here for an official bill summary.
House Education K-12 Committee Meeting
HB 8: Computer Sci. Grad. Requirement. (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Pare, R-Wake; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford) requires the following:
- The State Board of Education (SBE) to establish a computer science graduation requirement
- Computer science would be a standalone graduation requirement
- There are exceptions for students with specific individualized education programs and students enrolling in a public high school after completing 11th grade
- Required science credits would decrease from three to two
- Computer science would be a standalone graduation requirement
- Public school units (PSUs) to offer computer science instruction to students in middle and high school
Click here for an official bill summary of HB 8.
HB 11: Schools for the Deaf and Blind. (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Ken Fontenot, R-Wilson; Erin Pare, R-Wake; Dianne Wheatley, R-Cumberland) does the following:
- Upon request, for a student who has applied to a school for the deaf or blind, requires the local superintendent to share current evaluation data and the current or proposed individualized education plan for any child enrolled in that superintendent’s PSU
- Establishes Boards of Trustees to govern the State’s schools for the deaf or blind, taking away the SBE’s authority as the sole governing agency and DPI’s administrative responsibilities and oversight of these schools
Bill to Limit Teacher and Employee Retirement Income
HB 120: Government Retirement/No Vacation Leave Spiking (primary sponsor: Representative Harry Warren, R-Rowan) was filed on Tuesday. The bill limits the amount of accrued vacation leave that is counted toward the average final compensation for members of the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), as well as members of the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System. It impacts employees and teachers who start earning contributory retirement service on or after January 1, 2024. HB 120 will not help efforts to retain top teachers.
Local Education Bills Approved by the House
On Wednesday, the following local education bills passed the House on voice votes and have been sent to the Senate:
- HB 27: Elect Thomasville City Bd. of Ed. (primary sponsor: Representative Sam Watford, R-Davidson)
- Changes the Thomasville City Board of Education from appointed members to elected members
- HB 30: Reduce Length of Granville Bd. of Ed. Terms. (primary sponsors: Representatives Matthew Winslow, R-Franklin; Frank Sossamon, R-Granville)
- Reduces the term length on the Granville County Board of Education from six years to four years
- HB 31: Rowan-Salisbury Board of Educ. Filing Period. (primary sponsor: Representative Harry Warren, R-Rowan)
- Changes the filing period for candidates running for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to between the first and third Friday in July before the general election
- HB 88: Guilford Board of Education Vacancies(primary sponsors: Representatives Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; John Faircloth, R-Guilford)
- Clarifies the filling of vacancies on the Guilford County Board of Education
School Calendar Bills
So far during this legislative session, two statewide and ten local school calendar bills have been filed. These bills give more control to the local boards of education to create a school calendar that better fits the needs of their students and community. The local school calendar bills would affect 18 school districts. Below are summaries of each local school calendar bill filed this week. Click here for a list of all school calendar bills filed so far this session.
- HB 106: School Calendar Flexibility/Forsyth,WS,Stokes (primary sponsors: Representatives Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth; Kyle Hall, R-Stokes; Jeff Zenger, R-Forsyth)
- Allows the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and Stokes County boards of education to open schools no earlier than August 11 and, if the first semester ends prior to December 31, allows the boards to administer assessments prior to the end of that semester
- HB 111: School Calendar Flexbility/Durham and Person (primary sponsor: Representative Ray Jeffers, D-Person)
- Allows Person County and Durham County boards of education to open schools no earlier than August 10 and, if the first semester ends prior to December 31, allows the boards to administer assessments prior to the end of that semester
- HB 115: School Calendar Flexibility/Catawba & Cities (primary sponsor: Representative Mitchell Setzer, R-Catawba)
- Allows local control over the school calendar for Catawba County, Newton-Conover City, and Hickory City boards of education
- HB 129: School Calendar Flexibility/Pitt County (primary sponsors: Representatives Timothy Reeder, R-Pitt; Gloristine Brown, D-Pitt)
- Allows the Pitt County Board of Education to open schools no earlier than August 15, unless August 15 falls on a weekend, then the opening date will be either the Friday immediately preceding or the Monday immediately following August 15
- SB 96: School Calendar Flexibility/Pitt Co. (primary sponsor: Senator Kandie Smith, D-Pitt)
- Allows the Pitt County Board of Education to determine the opening and closing dates for three school years
- Requires public hearings to be held as part of the process of determining the opening and closing dates and requires a report on implementation of the school calendar
- SB 118: School Calendar Flexibility/Moore County (primary sponsor: Senator Tom McInnis, R-Moore)
- Allows the Moore County Board of Education to align the school opening and closing dates with the calendar of the local community college
- SB 119: School Calendar Flexibility/Cumberland County (primary sponsor: Senator Tom McInnis, R-Moore)
- Allows the Cumberland County Board of Education to align the school opening and closing dates with the calendar of the local community college
House and Senate Joint Education Appropriations Committee Meeting
The House and Senate Education Appropriations Committees held joint meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. The two appropriations committees are charged with developing the budget for public schools, community colleges, and the UNC System. During the Tuesday meeting, the Fiscal Research Division (FRD) presented part two of the public school funding presentation that includes information about the funding structure, as well as how the funding is generated, distributed, and utilized.
When explaining allotments that address student characteristics, it was noted that many school districts exceed specific funding formula caps, including funding for Academically or Intellectually Gifted students and Limited English Proficiency students. Click here for the presentation and click here for a handout that includes FY 2021-22 per student expenditures for each LEA. On Wednesday and Thursday, the committees were presented with the UNC system budget overview and the NC community college system budget overview, respectively.
The 2023 State Revenue Consensus Forecast was released on Wednesday and shows projections of a $3.25 billion (10.7%) budget surplus for the 2022-23 fiscal year, putting total state General Fund revenue collections at $33.76 billion. (According to the 2022 State Revenue Consensus Forecast, 2021-22 collections totaled $32.65 billion.) The primary drivers of anticipated overcollections for 2022-23 are:
- A smaller-than-expected decline in individual income tax collections, especially due to larger-than-expected tax payments from pass-through businesses electing to be taxed at the entity level
- Persistently high corporate profits, particularly among large multi-national corporations
- Resilient consumer spending despite longer-lasting inflation in goods and services subject to sales tax
- Higher-than-expected investment returns on the General Fund balance
Looking ahead to the 2023-25 biennium, the consensus forecast anticipates slight year-over-year declines of 0.2% in General Fund revenues each year, resulting in net collections of $33.71 billion in the 2023-24 fiscal year and $33.65 billion in the 2024-25 fiscal year.
In response to the revenue forecast, Governor Roy Cooper stated, “These increased funds are needed desperately to pay our teachers more, fund our schools…I hope we can negotiate a bipartisan budget that makes these investments without more tax breaks for the wealthiest among us.” Additionally, House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger weighed in. Moore said, “I am confident that as we continue to address some of the state’s most pressing needs, we will continue doing so in a fiscally responsible way that leads to even more growth for North Carolina,” Berger stated, “Today’s consensus revenue forecast confirms that North Carolina’s tax policies are fueling economic growth…We must continue to prioritize responsible spending, addressing our state’s workforce needs, and providing additional tax relief to our citizens.”
DPI’s Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) met on Thursday and approved recommendations from the Commission’s working groups to be sent to the State Board of Education (SBE). These working groups were created as a result of a motion approved by the SBE in December 2022 directing PEPSC to make recommendations on how to implement pilots of the new teacher licensure/salary model. This new model would pay teachers based on performance, effectiveness, and years of experience, rather than exclusively on years of experience. The following are links to each working group’s recommendations:
- New pathway entry points
- New professional learning tools and structures
- Measures of teaching effectiveness (previously student impact measures)
- Advanced teaching and leader roles
PEPSC approved a motion to do the following:
- Forward these recommendations to the SBE
- Recommend that the SBE use these recommendations to initiate a pilot program to study this new model to replace the current teacher licensure/salary system
- Communicate to the SBE PEPSC’s commitment to continue to work with the SBE to further develop recommendations and operationalization of the pilots
Click here for the meeting agenda and materials. PEPSC will present these recommendations at the SBE meeting on March 1 and 2. Any recommendations adopted by the SBE will require legislative approval. Click here for an article on the meeting.
The following are additional education-related bills that were filed this week.
- HB 98: Medical Freedom Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Brian Biggs, R-Randolph; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Neal Jackson, R-Moore; Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth)
- Identical to SB 121: Medical Freedom Act (primary sponsors: Senators Timothy Moffitt, R-Henderson; Michael Lazzara, R-Onslow; Bobby Hanig, R-Currituck)
- Prohibits public school units (PSUs) from (i) adopting policies regarding the use of face coverings and (ii) quarantining healthy students
- States that if a PSU violates this section, the student who is subject to the violation or the student’s parent may bring a civil action against the governing body of the PSU
- Prohibits PSUs from requiring a student to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination
- Prohibits State agencies, local governments, and political subdivisions of the State from discriminating against persons based on their refusal to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination
- HB 101: The Firearms Liberty Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Jay Adams, R-Catawba; Kelly Hastings, R-Gaston; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort; Carson Smith, R-Pender)
- HB 122: Reimburse Late Audit Costs with Sales Tax Revenue (primary sponsor: Representative Harry Warren, R-Rowan)
- Increases compliance by units of local governments that fail to timely submit an annual audit
- HB 136: Arts High School Diploma Endorsement (primary sponsors: Representatives Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes; Kyle Hall, R-Stokes; Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg)
- Requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to create an arts proficiency high school diploma endorsement
- HB 141: Paid Parental Leave for State Employees (primary sponsors: Representatives Carolyn Logan, D-Mecklenburg; Amber Baker, D-Forsyth; Sarah Crawford, D-Wake; Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe)
- Provides paid parental leave to State employees, public school employees, and community college employees
- HB 142: Protect Our Students Acts.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)
- Modifies penalties and definitions for certain sex offenses against students
- Increases penalties for failure of school administrators to report certain misconduct to the SBE
- Requires PSUs to show 6th – 12th grade students a video produced by DPI’s Center for Safer Schools containing age-appropriate information about sexual abuse, as recommended by DPI
- SB 99: Bond Referendum Transparency (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan; Eddie Settle, R-Wilkes)
- Increases transparency on bond referendums by requiring additional disclosures on bond applications, the order approving the bond application, and the ballot
- SB 107: Fines and Forfeitures/Payment to Schools (primary sponsor: Senator Lisa Grafstein, D-Wake)
- Directs excess receipts in the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund to be transferred to the School Technology Fund in the same fiscal year and any capital funds for school technology to be used toward payment of the 2019 court judgement on civil penalties, fines, and forfeitures
- Directs the Legislative Research Commission to study ways to satisfy the remainder of the court judgement
- This is a priority on NCSBA’s Legislative Agenda
- Click here for NCSBA’s issue brief on school technology
- SB 116: 2023 Youth END Act (primary sponsors: Senators Kevin Corbin, R-Macon; Gale Adcock, D-Wake; Jim Burgin, R-Harnett)
- Funds local health departments to provide community-based education and training of schools, local agencies, and youth centers regarding evidence-based tobacco use prevention and interventions
- SB 103: Partisan Elections Henderson County Board of Education (primary sponsor: Senator Tim Moffitt, R-Henderson)
- Makes the Henderson County Board of Education elections partisan
The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.
Headlines for this edition include:
- Teacher Pay Bill Introduced In Congress
- Representatives Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) introduced the American Teacher Act
- The legislation provides grants to states in order to raise teacher salaries to at least $60,000 per year
- US Department of Agriculture Announces School Nutrition Initiative
- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a major initiative meant to support the health of children through nutritious school meals
- Components of the initiative include:
- Proposing gradual updates to science-based nutrition standards in school meals
- Recognizing school districts that have gone above and beyond in nutritional quality
- Assisting small and rural school districts in improving the nutritional quality of school meals
The following are recent news articles, reports, and press releases on state and national education-related issues.
- NC Governor Proclamation – School Bus Driver Appreciation Week
- North State Journal – Another Parents’ Bill of Rights may be filed in the House
- WRAL – NC Lawmakers, controller want Leandro back in front of the state Supreme Court
- EdNC – What you need to know to be an effective advocate for education in 2023-24
- DPI – Wells Fargo North Carolina Regional Principals of the Year Named
- Winston-Salem Journal – Triad legislators file bill focused on prohibiting certain COVID-19 vaccination requirements
- EdNC – How NC’s dual enrollment program elevates students, families, and the state
- wfdd – Task force looking to diversity NC educator workforce kicks off statewide tour
- EdNC – LatinxEd releases report identifying challenges Latinx students face in North Carolina
- New York Times – How Educators Secretly Remove Students with Disabilities from Schools
- K-12 Dive – HHS creates research, technical assistance center for early ed workforce
- Education Week – The Push for a $60k Base Teacher Salary Gains Steam as Bernie Sanders Signs On
- NPR – A new study offers hints that healthier school lunches may help reduce obesity
This week, Governor Roy Cooper announced a series of Public Forums hosted by the Governor’s Commission on the Governance of Public Universities in North Carolina at which members of the commission will seek ideas and suggestions on how to enhance and refresh the governance structure of our public universities. Detailed information for each forum date and location, as well as a virtual option, will be made available on the Commission website prior to the day of the forum. Individuals interested in attending one of the forums and speaking should contact Minda Watkins at email@example.com at least two days prior to the forum.
Tuesday, February 21
- HB 66: Catawba/Newton-Conover/Hickory Bd of Ed Elect.
- HB 81: Increase Halifax Co. Bd. of Ed. Compensation.
- HB 45: Address Pandemic Learning Loss/Alamance Co.
- HB 51: School Calendar Flex/Multiple Counties.
- HB 70: School Calendar Flexibility/Halifax.
- HB 106: School Calendar Flexibility/Forsyth,WS,Stokes.
- HB 111: School Calendar Flexibility/Durham and Person.
- HB 115: School Calendar Flexibility/Catawba & Cities.
- HB 129: School Calendar Flexibility/Pitt County.
Wednesday, February 22
Thursday, February 23
If your school board is planning to have a function with your legislative delegation, we would be happy for a member of the NCSBA Governmental Relations team to attend. Just let us know! Also, if your school board adopts its own legislative agenda, please forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
NC School Boards Association
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association