NCSBA Legislative Update – June 30, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 30, 2023

The North Carolina General Assembly decided to go into next week’s 4th of July break with a bang by overriding several vetoes and advancing two significant bills: SB 49: Parents’ Bill of Rights and HB 219: Charter School Omnibus Act. Here’s a closer look at each bill:

SB 49: Parents’ Bill of Rights:
SB 49 emphasizes and enlists specific parental rights pertaining to their child’s education, health, privacy, and safety. It is important to note that many of these rights already exist under current law. Proponents of the bill argue that it prioritizes parental involvement and enhances transparency. However, critics express concerns about potential harm to certain students. SB 49 was sent to the Governor. Once received, he has three options – 1) sign into law, 2) veto, and 3) let it become law after 10 days without his signature.

HB 219: Charter School Omnibus Act:
HB 219 introduces substantial governance changes for charter schools. Notably, it permits county boards of commission to provide capital funding to charter schools. Additionally, the bill prevents local boards of education from discriminating against charter school students seeking admission to traditional public schools. Fortunately, the contentious Section 7 of the original draft, which involved unfair funding, was excluded from the bill during its progression through the Senate. After undergoing several amendments in the Senate, including the removal of a high school athletics provision that would have prohibited charter and private schools from competing in the 1A playoffs against traditional public schools. HB 219 is now pending concurrence and has been placed on the House calendar for July 12. A more detailed summary can be found in the next section.
While these noteworthy legislative developments unfolded, efforts to pass a budget before the fiscal year’s end fell short. The earliest a final budget is expected to be released and voted on is in late July. It is crucial to understand that the Conference Committee report cannot be amended in either chamber and will undergo an up or down vote. In light of the budget delay, the NC Department of Public Instruction has provided helpful instructions regarding LEA operations when a budget is not passed before the fiscal year’s end. These include:

  • Local Education Agencies
  • The continuation budget translates to the 2023-24 Base Budget and does not permit expenditures on the following:
  • 2022-23 non-recurring items.
  • Carryforward for allotment categories that have a carryforward provision will be requested from the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM). If approved, spending authority will be made available to the public school units.
  • DPI’s Office of School Business  will continue to assess the projected budget timeline and will determine how to proceed with initial allocations.
  • Salary
  • All Personnel, who are required to be paid based on the State salary schedules, shall be paid at the same level as 2022-23.
  • This means No Salary Increase and No Experience Step Increase.
  • This means No changes to the Benefit rates (retirement and hospitalization) without legislation.

Bills That Have Become Law

HB 190: Dept of Health & Human Services Revisions – AB (primary sponsor: Representative Larry Potts R-Davidson)

  • S.L. 2023-65
  • House voted to concur with Senate changes by a 115-4 vote
  • Removes a requirement for the child abuse and neglect document required for public school students  in grades 6-12
  • Amended in the Senate by adding Part XIII, to make clarifying changes to provisions in SB 20, Care for Women, Children, and Families Act, regarding Paid Parental Leave for State Employees
  • Applies to all public school employees
  • Available funds are for the payment of substitute teachers for any public school teacher using paid parental leave
  • Expands the types of employees that qualify
  • Requires State Human Resources Commission to adopt policies for eligibility, times used, and how much leave is to be provided in the event of miscarriage or the death of a child during birth

SB 582: North Carolina Farm Act of 2023 (primary sponsors: Senators Brent Jackson, R-Sampson; Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico; Buck Newton, R-Wilson)

  • S.L. 2023-63
  • Governor’s veto overridden by a vote of 29-17 in the Senate, and 78-40 in the House
  • Encourages public schools to strive to make 100 percent muscadine grape juice available to students
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Statewide Bills Sent to Governor

SB 49: Parents’ Bill of Rights (primary sponsors: Senators Amy Galey, R-Alamance; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Lisa Barnes, R-Nash)

  • Passed the House by a 66-47 vote, Senate concurred with House changes by a 26-13 vote
  • Amended in House to change effective date from July 1, 2023 to August 15, 2023
  • Creates additional rights for parents regarding their child’s education and lists numerous existing rights. Below are a few of the provisions included in the 12-page bill.
  • Establishes a process and timelines to address parental requests for information
  • Establishes a process and timelines for a parent to share concerns about a procedure or practice, as well as a process for resolving those concerns
  • Requires public school units (PSUs) to provide parents with a written annual parent’s guide for student achievement
  • Requires PSUs to develop policies to increase parental involvement in schools
  • Prohibits instruction on gender identity, sexual activity, or sexuality from being included in K-4 curriculum
  • Requires school staff to notify parents prior to any changes in a student’s name or pronouns or if a student seeks mental health services, with some exceptions, such as the belief that disclosure could result in child abuse or neglect
  •  The House version addressed several concerns raised by NCSBA, including important technical changes and the exemption of security recordings on school transportation that would otherwise have been prohibited without parent consent.
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 605: School Threat Assessment Teams (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg)

  • House voted to concur with Senate changes by a 115-4 vote
  • Requires public school units to have threat assessment teams
  • Requires (was encourages) all public-school units to participate in school safety exercises and programs
  • Encourages private schools to participate in school safety exercises and programs.
  • Requires local boards of education to establish peer-to-peer support programs at all schools with grades 6 and higher
  • Requires the governing body (e.g., school board) to develop policies for assessment and intervention, not just the individual threat assessment teams
  • Adds a referral to the appropriate law enforcement agency if the individual is not a student.
  • Requires the Center for Safer Schools to develop guidance for the threat assessment teams by 12/31/23
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 618: Charter School Review Board (primary sponsors: Representatives Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg; Tim Moore, R-Cleveland; Destin Hall, R-Caldwell; David Willis, R-Union)

  • House voted to concur with Senate changes by a 77-42 vote
  • Similar to section 7.39 in the House Budget
  • Converts the Charter Schools Advisory Board into the Charter Schools Review Board
  • Shifts authority to approve or deny charters from the State Board of Education to a legislatively controlled (8 of 11 appointments) Review Board with a right of appeal by an applicant, charter school, or the State Superintendent to the State Board of Education
  • Changes the Superintendent of Public Instruction from a voting member to a nonvoting member
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Education Bills Passed By the Senate

SB 99: Bond Referendum Transparency (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan; Eddie Settle, R-Wilkes)

  • Passed 33-12 on Second Reading; Third reading roll call vote held Monday, June 26
  • Requires additional disclosures on bond applications, the order approving the bond application, and on the ballot
  • Requires the amount of property tax increase on the ballot question if known
  • Requires the Local Government Commission to maintain a database of proposed bond issues approved by the Commission
  • Referred to Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 219: Charter School Omnibus Act (primary sponsors Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg; David Willis, R-Union; and Jason Saine, R-Lincoln)

  • Sent back to the House for a concurrence vote, placed on House calendar for July 12
  • Prohibits any consideration of the impact to an LEA when deciding whether to grant, renew, amend, or terminate a charter
  • Removes restrictions of student enrollment growth for charters that are not low-performing
  • Allows SBE  to consider whether a low-performing charter school can increase their enrollment greater than 20%.
  • Allows charter schools to admit out-of-state students and foreign exchange students.
  • Allows pre-lottery admissions to charters for (i) certain preschools with agreements with the charter and (ii) children of active-duty military.
  • Prohibits local boards of education from discriminating against charter school students.
  • Allows counties to appropriate property taxes to fund charter school capital needs.
  • Amended in the Senate to include:
  • Establishes a pilot program to allow Central Park Schools for Children in Durham to expand the weighted lottery to include factors to assist educationally or economically disadvantaged students, including walk zones
  • Provides for conforming changes if House Bill 618 – Charter School Review Board becomes law
  • Removal of a high school athletics provision that would have prohibited charter and private schools from competing in the 1A playoffs against traditional public schools
  • Click here for the latest bill summary

Education Bills Passed by the House

Statewide Bills

HB 852: The Rep. Becky Carney Cardiac Arrest Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Cynthia Ball, D-Wake; Timothy Reeder, R-Pitt; Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth; Jeff Zenger, R-Forsyth)

  • Passed the House by a unanimous vote of 113-0
  • Requires the State Board of Education to adopt rules for the installation, use, and maintenance of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in public school units, including:
  • At least 2 AEDs in each school
  • Implementation of an appropriate training course
  • Appropriates $9.2 million in nonrecurring federal ARPA funds to be allocated by DPI on a first-come, first-served basis for the 2023-24 fiscal year
  • While neither the House nor the Senate included funding for these devices in their budget, senior budget writer Representative Donny Lambeth (R-Forsyth) stated in committee that he is committed to finding funding for this legislation

Local Bills

SB 9: Local Omnibus Changes (primary sponsors Senators Gale Adcock D-Wake, Sydney Batch D-Wake)

  • As originally written, amends Apex town charter to allow Apex Town Council to appoint Town Clerk
  • Amended in the House to clarify process for filling vacancies on Guilford County Board of Education, and changed municipal elections in Haywood and Madison Counties from non-partisan to partisan
  • Passed the House by a vote of 66-47, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Education Bills Passed By Senate Committees


SB 26: Add’l Local Sales Tax/Sampson County (primary sponsor Senator Brent Jackson, R-Sampson)

  • Tax proceeds may be used for schools
  • Referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate

Statewide Bills That Failed Concurrence Vote

SB 411: Various Education Changes (primary sponsors Senators Paul Newton R-Cabarrus, Warren Daniel R-Burke, Ralph Hise R-Mitchell)

  • Senate voted not to concur by a unanimous vote of 45-0, goes to Conference Committee to negotiate differences between House and Senate versions.
  • Allows home school students to participate in the PSAT, the PreACT, AP exams, and any other advanced course examination offered by a local school district if certain requirements are met
    • Allows a school district to charge the cost of the test to the student’s parent
  • Changes made by the House include
  • Added language from HB 172: Samantha Rose Davis Act (primary sponsors: Representative Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort, Jon Hardister R-Guilford, Brian Biggs R-Randolph, Celeste Cairns R-Carteret)
  • Requires State Board of Education to adopt rules for PSUs to follow regarding medical condition plans for students that require them
  • Requires each school to have at least one employee trained in lifesaving and first aid techniques
  • Added language from HB 382: Registered Nurses In Schools (primary sponsors Representatives John Bradford R-Mecklenburg, Donna White R-Johnston, Tricia Cotham R-Mecklenburg, Carla Cunningham D-Mecklenburg)
    • Allows registered nurses with at least two years of licensed experience in a hospital or health clinic to be hired as a school nurse
  • Added language from HB 150: School Contracted Health Services (primary sponsors: Representatives John Bradford, R-Mecklenburg; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus, Kevin Crutchfield, R-Cabarrus, Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg)
  • Allows parents of students who require nursing care under their IEP to choose their nurse, provided:
  • The child’s IEP requires nursing services
  • The child received nursing services from the nurse (i) prior to the nursing services being required by the child’s IEP or (ii) prior to the child enrolling at his or her current school.

Allows registered nurses with at least two years of licensed experience in a hospital or health clinic to be hired as a school nurse

  • Issues with HB 150 include: Nursing services for students with disabilities are often paid using federal IDEA funds. Depending on the amount of the expenditure, the federal government may require a competitive bid process to award a contract that will be paid using the IDEA funds. Contracts for services to be provided by nurses chosen by parents will not go through a competitive purchasing process. Therefore, school districts will need to ensure that either (1) the cost of the services falls below the threshold for mandatory competitive bidding; or (2) if competitive bidding would be required, the contract is paid with non-federal (state or local) funds. The bill sponsor stated districts will not receive additional state funding for these nurses.

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

June 26, 2023, Weekly Report

Headlines for this edition include:
USDA To Make Final Ruling On Free Meal Expansion, School Nutrition: The US Department of Agriculture is expected to release its final rules on the expansion of free meals for all students at high poverty schools, as well as updated child nutrition guidelines by April, 2024. The free meals are done by expanding access to the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which allows schools with high concentrations of low-income families to serve free breakfast and lunch without requiring an application for the benefit. USDA’s proposal aims to lower the minimum threshold for a school or district’s CEP eligibility from 40 percent of enrolled students to 25 percent. The budget passed by the NC Senate includes a provision which requires DPI to establish a pilot to expand public school participation in the federal CEP program in order to increase student access to free school breakfast and lunch.

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

State News
Carolina Journal: School Threat Assessment Teams Required Under Bill Headed To Cooper
North State Journal: Senate’s Parents Bill of Rights Sees Some Movement
EdNC: Public, State Leaders Raise Major Concerns About Pending Education Legislation
WFAE: Charlotte Private School Had More Vouchers Than Students. And Where’s the Building?
WRAL: NC Plan To Expand Private School Vouchers Rekindles Debate Over Separation of Church and State
WRAL: NC Senate Sends ‘Parents Bill of Rights To Governor Cooper’s Desk
Associated Press: North Carolina Measure Limiting LGBTQ+ Curriculum Heading To Governor’s Desk
WRAL: NC Senate Passes Bill That Would Allow Charter Schools To Get County Building Funds
WUNC: Charter School Lost Case Over Skirts Rule For Girls, But Debate Isn’t Over
News Observer: House Republican ‘Appalled’ By NC Senate’s Attempt to Force Vote On Medical Marijuana

National News
K-12 Dive: Senate Bill Proposes Improved Workforce Data Collection To Curb Teacher Shortages
Education Week: Six States Have Made School Meals Free To All Students, Will More Follow?
New York Times: What the New, Low Test Scores for 13-Year Olds Say About U.S. Education Now
Washington Post Editorial: The Best Response To Plummeting Test Scores Would Be Hard To Institute

Due to the July 4th holiday, there are no legislative committee meetings next week. Happy Independence Day!

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
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

Ramona PowersNCSBA Legislative Update – June 30, 2023