NCSBA Legislative Update – March 31, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – March 31, 2023


The House conducted its own version of March Madness this week, just in time for tomorrow’s Final Four. House budget writers unveiled the House’s proposed State budget for the 2023-25 fiscal biennium on Wednesday, followed by meetings of various House appropriations committees on Thursday morning. The meeting of the full House Appropriations Committee began at 10:00 am on Thursday and lasted until 5:00 pm. During this meeting, dozens of amendments were offered by members of both parties, and 17 amendments passed. Click here for an article on some of the proposed amendments concerning education.

The House’s plan is to hear the amended budget in various House committee meetings next Tuesday, April 4, then vote on the budget on the House floor on Wednesday, April 5, and Thursday, April 6.

The House budget appropriates $29.8 billion in 2023-24 (6.5% increase) and $30.9 billion in 2024-25 (additional 3.75% increase). The House’s K-12 education budget is $11.7 billion for 2023-24 (4.1% increase) and $12.3 billion for 2024-25 (additional 4.5% increase). The following are K-12 education highlights of the House budget:

  • An average 10.2% teacher raise over the biennium (including step increases, master’s pay, and other supplements)
  • Reinstates master’s pay for teachers
  • Provides across-the-board salary increases of 4.25% in 2023-24 and 3.25% in 2024-25 for school district personnel
    • (These salary increases are included in the average 10.2% teacher raise)
    • Gives bus drivers an additional 2% raise in 2023-24
  • Includes $40 million for school safety grants
  • Increases the Needs-Based Capital Grant maximum amount by $10 million
  • Requires public school units to post lesson plans and instructional materials to their website
  • Expands eligibility and increases funding for the Opportunity Scholarship Program
  • Redesignates the School Psychologist Allotment as the School Health Personnel Allotment
    • Transfers school nurse, counselor, and social worker positions to this allotment
    • Provides funding for an additional 120 school nurse, psychologist, social worker, or counselor positions
    • This change reflects one of NCSBA’s Legislative Agenda priorities

Click here for NCSBA’s summary of House education budget provisions and click here for NCSBA’s summary of House education budget appropriations. Our summaries include most (not all) of the House education budget. We expect some provisions and appropriations to change prior the House’s final approval that is expected next Thursday. We will provide you with updated summaries in next week’s Legislative Update.

Click here for the House budget bill and click here for the House budget money report. Click here for an article on House education budget highlights.

Following the House’s anticipated approval of their budget next week, it will then be sent to the Senate where Senate budget writers will release their own version, followed by collaboration between the two chambers to reach a budget compromise.


The highlight of this week was the release of the House budget. Another bill that would significantly change the State’s voucher program was filed – SB 406: Choose Your School, Choose Your Future. Senate Leader Phil Berger announced the bill’s filing in a press release, and you can read more about SB 406 below.

Also, this week, both the House and Senate voted to override Governor Cooper’s veto of SB 41: Protect Religious Meeting Places (primary sponsors Senators Danny Britt, R- Robeson; Warren Daniel, R-Burke; Jim Perry, R-Lenoir), which in a gun bill that includes a section allowing guns on property that is both a school and place of religious worship during certain hours. SB 41 does not apply to property owned by a local board of education or county commission. This veto override was possible because of the Senate’s vetoproof Republican majority, and the House being able to obtain a vetoproof Republican majority because three Democrats were absent. SB 41 was chaptered in SL 2023-8.

HB 219: Charter School Omnibus continues to sit in the House Rules Committee without a scheduled committee hearing. We encourage you to reach out to your House members to share your opposition to section 7 of this bill, which poses a huge threat to local school district funding. Here is a fact sheet that includes talking points and background information. As a reminder, we drafted a resolution in opposition to HB 219 for your board to utilize and tailor to your specific district.

Another Voucher Bill to Watch

In addition to HB 420: Expand & Consolidate K-12 Scholarships, which was filed last week, we want to highlight SB 406: Choose Your School, Choose Your Future, which was filed on Wednesday.

The primary sponsors of SB 406 are Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), Lisa Barnes (R-Nash), and Amy Galey (R-Alamance) who all chair Senate education committees. According to a press release from the office of Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) SB 406 – if enacted – would be the “largest expansion of school choice” since the Opportunity Scholarship Program was founded 10 years ago.

SB 406 bill provides vouchers for every family in the State. It replaces income requirements with a sliding scale based on household income as follows:

  • A family of four with a household income of up to $55,500 (qualifying amount for free/reduced lunch) is eligible for a maximum voucher award of $7,213 in FY 2023-24 (100% of the average state per pupil allocation)
  • A family of four with a household income of up to $111,000 is eligible for a maximum voucher award of $6,492 in FY 2023-24
  • A family of four with a household income of up to $249,750 is eligible for a maximum voucher award of $4,328 in FY 2023-24
  • A family of four with a household income of more than $249,750 is eligible for a maximum voucher award of $3,246 in FY 2023-24

SB 406 does not include stabilization funds for local school districts that will lose significant funding due to a reduction in average daily membership. Click here for an article on SB 406.

Education Bills that Passed the Senate

On Tuesday, the following bills unanimously passed the Senate and have been referred to the House Rules Committee.

  • SB 90: Searches of Student’s Person(primary sponsors: Senators Michael Lazzara, R-Onslow; Amy Galey, R-Alamance; Vicki Sawyer, R-Iredell)
    • Requires public school units to adopt a policy on school officials searching students consistent with State and federal law
    • Requires ALL searches to be conducted in private by one school official and one adult witness who are the same sex as the student being searched, including searches of backpacks, vehicles, etc.
    • Prior to passage on the Senate floor, a friendly amendment proposed by NCSBA to the bill’s primary sponsor was adopted that allows an exception for searches conducted using a walk-through metal detector, handheld wand, or similar minimally intrusive device designed to detect weapons and regularly used for security scanning
    • Click here for an official bill summary
  • SB 193: Career Development Plans(primary sponsors: Senators Amy Galey, R-Alamance; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover)
    • Requires middle and high school students to complete career development plans
    • During bill presentation to a committee, it was noted that this is an initiative from the State Superintendent and DPI that would not require additional personnel or funding
    • Click herefor an official bill summary

Education Bills that Passed the House

The following bills unanimously passed the House and have been sent to the Senate.

Statewide Bills

  • HB 142: Protect Our Students Act.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)
    • An agency bill supported by DPI and the State Superintendent
    • Increases penalties for failure of school administrators to report certain misconduct to the State Board of Education
    • Increases penalties and modifies definitions for certain sex offenses against students
    • Requires public school units to show 6th– 12thgrade students a video produced by DPI’s Center for Safer Schools containing age-appropriate information about sexual abuse, as recommended by DPI
    • Defines conduct directly related to the office or employment as it pertains to the forfeiture of retirement benefits
    • Click here for an official bill summary
  • HB 382: Registered Nurses in Schools(primary sponsors: Representative John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg; Donna White, R-Johnston; Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg; Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg)
    • Allows any person licensed as a registered nurse who has at least two years of licensed experience in a hospital or health clinic to be employed as a school nurse and not be required to possess or promise to obtain any other certification or license as a condition of employment in that role
    • Requires school nurses not certified by a national organization recognized by the State Board of Education (SBE) to continue to be paid based on the noncertified nurse salary range established by the SBE
    • Click here for an official bill summary
    • Click here for an article on the bill
  • HB 190: Dept. of Health and Human Services Revisions.-AB (primary sponsor: Representative Larry Potts, R-Davidson)
    • Makes technical, conforming, and other modifications to laws pertaining to the Department of Health and Human Services
    • Removes language requiring the inclusion of the anonymous safety tip line application on a document and display that are shared with students in public school units concerning child abuse and neglect
    • Click here for an official bill summary

Local Bill

  • HB 306: School Calendar Flexibility/Granville & Vance(primary sponsor: Representative Frank Sossamon, R-Granville)
    • Allows the Granville County and Vance County boards of education to open schools no earlier than August 1 and, if the first semester ends prior to December 31, allows the boards to administer assessments prior to the end of that semester
    • Prior to passage on the House floor, an amendment was adopted that adds Montgomery County, Person County, and Stanly County schools to the bill and encourages community colleges serving these five counties to cooperate with their local boards of education to develop a school calendar that best suits the needs of students who attend class in both the school district and the community college
    • Click here for an official bill summary

Education Bills Approved by House Committees

Statewide Bills

The following two bills had their first committee hearing when they were approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee.

  • HB 172: Samantha Rose Davis Act(primary sponsor: Representative Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)
    • Requires medical condition action plans for certain students and medical emergency plans in public school units
    • Click here for an official bill summary
  • HB 253: Prevent Students From Harm Act(primary sponsors: Representatives Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Donna White, R-Johnston; Ashton Clemmons, D-Guilford)
    • Incorporates character education to address bullying and harassing behavior
    • Provides child sexual abuse and sex trafficking training for educators
    • Provides age-appropriate information on the prevention of suicide, abuse, and neglect as part of the health education curriculum
    • Click here for an official bill summary

On Wednesday, HB 205: Transparent Governance & Integrity Act.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Howard Penny, R-Harnett; Matthew Winslow, R-Franklin; Jennifer Balkcom, R-Henderson) had its second committee hearing when it was approved by the House Finance Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee. This bill mandates financial management education for certain local government officials and makes changes to various local government finance laws. Click here for an official bill summary.

Local Bills

On Tuesday, HB 262: School Assignment Zones (primary sponsors: Representatives Phil Shepard, R-Onslow; George Cleveland, R-Onslow; Carson Smith, R-Pender) had its second committee hearing this week when it was approved by the House Local Government and referred to the House Rules Committee. This bill requires student assignment zones that allow students the opportunity to attend the schools closest to their residence in Onslow County Schools. A roll call vote was requested for Committee approval, and the vote was 7-5 along party lines with Democrats claiming this sets bad precedent, and the issue should be handled at the local level. Click here for an official bill summary.

Education Bill Approved by Senate Committees
SB 286: Make Pamlico Board of Education Partisan (primary sponsor: Senator Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico) had its first two committee hearings this week when the Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee and the Senate Rules Committee approved the bill. SB 286 changes the election for the Pamlico County Board of Education from nonpartisan to partisan. Click here for an official bill summary.

School Calendar Bills

Two statewide and 23 local school calendar bills have been filed during this legislative session. There will be no more local calendar bills filed this session because the local bill filing deadline for the Senate was March 9, and the local bill filing deadline for the House was yesterday, March 23.

As was mentioned under Education Bills that Passed the House, HB 306: School Calendar Flexibility/Granville & Vance passed the House yesterday, following adoption of an amendment that added three more school districts to the bill. All local school calendar bills that have been filed affect 56 school districts – nearly half the school districts in the State. Click here for a list of the affected school districts. Click here for a list of these school calendar bills.


The local bill filing deadline for the Senate was March 9, and the local bill filing deadline for the House was March 23. The public/statewide bill filing deadline for the Senate is next Tuesday, April 4, and the public/statewide bill filing deadline for the House is April 18 (House appropriations and finance bills must be filed by April 25).

The following are additional education-related bills that were filed this week.

Statewide Bills

  • HB 487: POW/MIA Flags/State Bldgs & Schools (primary sponsors: Representatives Edward Goodwin, R-Chowan; Michael Wray, D-Northampton; Jarrod Lowery, R-Robeson; Garland Pierce, D-Scotland)
    • Requires schools and public buildings to fly the POW flag, provided there is space for the flag on an existing flagpole
  • HB 493: Funds for Rutherford Athletic Training (primary sponsor: Representative Jake Johnson, R-Polk)
    • Appropriates $1.25 million for new athletic training equipment and upgrades of athletic facilities in Rutherford County Schools
  • HB 498: K-5 Art and Music (primary sponsors: Representatives Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg; Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes; Kyle Hall, R-Surry; Erin Pare, R-Wake)
    • Specifies instruction on music and visual arts in elementary schools
  • HB 500: NCCWBTC/Medicaid-Related Recommendations (primary sponsor: Representative Sarah Stevens, R-Surry)
    • Ensures increased awareness of school-based health services that are reimbursable under Medicaid
  • HB 509: Reduce School Lunch Debt (primary sponsors: Representatives Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg; Dean Arp, R-Union; Mark Brody, R-Union; Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg)
    • Appropriates $3.2 million to satisfy any outstanding school nutrition program debt
  • HB 510: School Supplies Act of 2023 (primary sponsors: Representatives Julie von Haefen, D-Wake; Rosa Gill, D-Wake; Terence Everitt, D-Wake; Cynthia Ball, D-Wake)
    • Appropriates $82.3 million in recurring funds for the classroom materials/instructional supplies/equipment allotment
  • HB 518: Equality for All (primary sponsors: Representatives Vernetta Alton, D-Durham; Pricey Harrison, D-Guilford; Allen Buansi, D-Orange; Renee Price, D-Orange)
    • Identical to SB 398 (primary sponsors: Senators Lisa Grafstein, D-Wake; Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake; Natasha Marcus, D-Mecklenburg)
    • Requires local boards of education to adopt a policy on nondiscrimination in schools, among other requirements to protect all North Carolinians against discrimination
  • HB 526: Turning High Achieving Students into Teachers (primary sponsors: Representatives Cynthia Ball, D-Wake; Lindsey Prather, D-Buncombe; Gloristine Brown, D-Pitt; Terry Brown, D-Mecklenburg)
    • Appropriates funds to the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children to be used for the North Carolina Teacher Cadet Program with the goal of improving development of the teacher pipeline
  • HB 531: Charter School Tuition/Out of State Students (primary sponsors: Representatives Sarah Stevens, R-Surry; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Mark Brody R-Union; Reece Pyrtle, R-Rockingham)
    • Allows charter schools to admit nonresident students if the school is not operating at capacity
    • Allows the charter school to charge the nonresident student tuition
  • HB 534: Protecting School Employees (primary sponsors: Representatives Neal Jackson, R-Moore; Carson Smith, R-Pender; Sarah Stevens, R-Surry; Brian Biggs, R-Randolph)
    • Increases the punishment for a person who commits a second or subsequent offense of assaulting a school employee or school volunteer
  • HB 543: 2023 Youth End Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Maria Cervania, D-Wake; Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Cynthia Ball, D-Wake)
    • Identical to SB 116 (primary sponsors: Senators Kevin Corbin, R-Macon; Gale Adcock, D-Wake; Jim Burgin, R-Harnett)
    • Establishes the Tobacco Use Prevention Fund
    • Provides training for schools regarding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention evidence-based tobacco use prevention and cessation interventions
  • SB 384: Carbon Monoxide Detectors/School Buildings (primary sponsors Senators Michael Lee R-New Hanover, Amy Galey R-Alamance, Julie Mayfield D-Buncombe)
  • Studies the installation of carbon monoxide detectors and the implementation of radon testing in schools
  • SB 391: NCSSM Plate (primary sponsors: Senators Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell; Warren Daniel, R-Burke; Mike Woodard, D-Durham)
    • Authorizes a special license plate for the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
  • SB 411: Students in House School Take PSAT/AP (primary sponsors: Senators Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus; Warren Daniel, R-Burke; Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell)
    • Allows home school students to participate in AP exams and the PSAT at a school within the local school district which the student would be assigned to if the student attended public school
    • Allows the local school unit to charge the home school student the cost of the test
    • Requires a local board of education to provide information on the registration for advanced exams for home school students at the request of a student or parent
  • SB 419: Carolina’s Guarantee Scholarship Program (primary sponsors: Senators Sydney Batch, D-Wake; Michael Garrett, D-Guilford; Val Applewhite, D-Cumberland)
    • Establishes the Community College Promise Scholarship Program and appropriates funds for that purpose
    • Within the funds available, requires the Authority to partner with the Community Colleges System Office and local school districts to place higher education advisers in secondary public schools throughout the State and provide outreach to high school students on the Community College Promise Scholarship Program
  • SB 421: State Employees/Paid Parental Leave (primary sponsors: Senators Sydney Batch, D-Wake; Michael Garrett, D-Guilford; Mary Bode, D-Granville)
    • Provides eight weeks of paid parental leave to all State employees
  • SB 422: Homes of Heroes (primary sponsors: Senators Sydney Batch, D-Wake; Michael Garrett, D-Guilford; Kandie Smith, D-Pitt)
    • Creates a Homebuyers’ Assistance Program with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency for first-time homebuyers who work as public servants, including teachers
  • SB 432: K-3 Class Size Waiver (primary sponsors: Senators Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake; Sydney Batch, D-Wake; Lisa Grafstein, D-Wake)
    • Adds waivers for local school districts on K-3 class size requirements, provided there is a shortage of available licensed teachers or inadequate classroom space
  • SB 440: Increase Minimum Wage Act (primary sponsors: Senators Joyce Waddell, D-Mecklenburg; Rachel Hunt, D-Mecklenburg)
    • Increases the North Carolina minimum wage to $15 per hour
  • SB 448: School Psychologist Omnibus (primary sponsors: Senators Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico; Jim Burgin, R-Harnett; Kevin Corbin, R-Macon)
    • Provides salary supplements for school psychologists
    • Establishes the School Psychologist Grant Program within DPI to help school districts recruit and retain school psychologists
    • Adds a position in DPI for a recruitment and retention coordinator
    • Establishes an internship program for school psychologists
    • Creates a virtual school psychology training program at Appalachian State University
    • Increases funds for school psychologist training programs at Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, NC State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Western Carolina University


The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

March 27, 2023, Weekly Report

Headlines for this edition include:

  • North Carolina Gets Extension to Spend COVID Relief Funds Directed at LEAs
    • The US Department of Education has announced that NC, six other states, and DC have been granted a 14-month extension past the original January 28, 2023, deadline to spend federal COVID relief funds
    • The funding, known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief 1 (ESSER1), provided $122 billion to states in order to safely reopen and maintain schools during the pandemic, while mitigating the effects of the pandemic on budget operations
      • NC’s portion of that was $3.6 billion
    • The ESSER 1 funds must now be spent by March 30, 2024
    • The spending deadlines for the second and third rounds of ESSER funding remain unchanged, at January 28, 2024, and January 28, 2025, respectively
    • According to reporting in K-12 Dive, the states who were granted the extensions, “cited the need for extending spending for a wide range of activities, including general instructional services and materials, cleaning supplies, technology and technology infrastructure, HVAC and construction materials and services, and contracts for other services like behavioral health and staffing”
  • USDA Proposes Lower Threshold for Schools to Qualify for Free Meals
    • The US Department of Agriculture has proposed an expansion of access to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allowing high poverty schools to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students, without requiring families to fill out an application
    • The proposal lowers the percentage of low-income students needed for school to qualify for CEP from 40% to 25& percent
    • The public comment period on the proposed rule change ends May 8, 2023

The following are recent news articles, reports, and press releases on state and national education-related issues.

State News

National News


Tuesday, April 4

9:00 am – Senate Education/Higher Education – Legislative Offices Building, rm 544 (livestream)

10:00 am – House Local Government – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (livestream)

10:00 am – House Health – Legislative Offices Building, rm 643 (livestream)

2:00 pm – House Education K-12 – Legislative Offices Building, rm 643 (livestream)




Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Rebekah Howard
Advocacy Coordinator
NC School Boards Association

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – March 31, 2023