NCSBA Legislative Update – June 9, 2023

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 9, 2023

In the recent budget negotiations between the House and Senate at the North Carolina General Assembly, the words of country music singer Charlie Rich, “No one knows what goes on behind closed doors,” ring true.

Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact details, there are signs that the negotiations may be experiencing some delays due to a few critical points of contention. We hear they are far apart on various issues, which is no surprise given that their proposed budgets were very far apart. After the Senate passed their budget less than a month ago, senators told us they were optimistic a budget deal would be announced next week. House members are now telling us that is highly unlikely. We are hearing that they are extremely close to a deal on pay raises. Sounds like neither chamber is getting what they proposed.

With North Carolina’s fiscal year coming to an end on June 30 and the new one commencing on July 1, time is of the essence for the budget negotiations. The outcome of these closed-door discussions will have far-reaching implications for the state’s financial landscape for at least the next two years.

School Calendar

The Department of Public Instruction and State Board of Education have jointly released the annual report outlining the start and end dates of the instructional calendar for students in the fiscal year 2023-24. As to the next step in the process, the Board is required to submit this report to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by June 15th. Notably, 15 districts spanning across a dozen counties have opted to commence the school year before the date of August 28. These districts are as follows:

Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Edgecombe County, Elkin City, Gaston County, Henderson County, Iredell-Statesville, Kannapolis City Schools, Lee County, Lincoln County, Mount Airy City, Polk County, Rutherford County, Stanly County, Surry County

During this legislative session, there were school calendar bills introduced impacting 56 school districts, which accounts for nearly half of the districts in the state. For a comprehensive list of these bills/districts, you can click here.

Education Bills Approved by House Committees

HB 640: Career Path Options Transparency Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Matthew Winslow, R-Franklin; Steve Tyson, R-Craven; Erin Pare, R-Wake)

  • Approved by the House Education Universities Committee
  • Requires the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) to provide information on employment needs for each prosperity zone
    • The state operates eight administrative regions known as Prosperity Zones.
    • Each Zone features a one-stop, physical location, providing citizens and businesses the ability to interact with representatives from multiple state agencies, as well as to encourage better collaboration between the agencies themselves.
  • Requires NCSEAA to provide outcomes data for vocational and technical schools through the “Know Before You Go” website
  • Requires 10th grade students to be provided certain information about postsecondary education and career options
  • Creates a grant program for local boards of education to use to provide 10th grade students the information
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Statewide & Local Education Bills 


Statewide Bills Passed Into Law: 

  • No statewide education bills passed into law this week.

Statewide Bills Sent to Governor and Awaiting Action: 

SB 729: CBBC Working Group Changes (primary sponsors: Senators Jim Burgin, R-Harnett; Joyce Krawiec, R-Forsyth; Carl Ford, R-Rowan)

  • Passed the Senate 42-0 and the House 114-0
  • Amends the anti-pension spiking contribution-based benefit cap (CBBC) law for school systems as brought forward by the working group established by S.L. 2021-72
  • Provides additional tools to resolve disputed applications of the anti-pension spiking laws
  • Note: NCSBA had been in negotiations with the State Retirement System for roughly 18 months to improve the anti-pension spiking CBBC law. This bill is the compromise both sides agreed to, which we believe is a significant improvement to the existing law.
  • Click here to access NCSBA’s summary of SB 729
HB 166: American Indians Graduating With Honors Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Jarrod Lowery, R-Robeson; Karl Gillespie, R-Macon; Brenden Jones, R-Columbus; Mike Clampitt, R-Swain) 
  • Passed the House 114-0 and the Senate 43-0
  • Allows American Indian students to wear objects of cultural significance at public school graduation ceremonies
  • Click here for an official bill summary
SB 582: North Carolina Farm Act of 2023 (primary sponsors: Senators Brent Jackson, R-Sampson; Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico; Buck Newton, R-Wilson)
  • Passed the House 77-38 and the Senate voted 37-6 to concur
  • 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 House for Consideration: 

SB 675: Land Use Clarification and Changes (primary sponsors: Senators Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Dave Craven, R-Randolph; Amy Galey, R-Alamance)

  • Passed the Senate 29-14 and sent to the House for consideration
  • Allows the siting of schools via special permit for areas zoned for commercial use
  • Click here for an official bill summary


Local Bills Passed Into Law:

HB 66: Boards of Education Elections (primary sponsors: Representatives Jay Adams, R-Catawba; Mitchell Setzer, R-Catawba)

  • S.L. 2023-32
  • Provides for partisan elections for the members of the Catawba Board of Education, Hickory City Board of Education, Newton-Conover City Board of Education
  • Polk County Board of Education was added to the bill, changing the election method to partisan, starting with elections in 2024
  • Requires the Buncombe County Board of Education to establish electoral districts for electing members beginning in 2024. If the Board fails to act, the General Assembly will draw the new districts
  • Provides that members of the Buncombe Board of Education are elected in a nonpartisan primary and election beginning in 2026
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 174: Winston-Salem/Forsyth Board or Education/Rural Hall Even-Year  (primary sponsor: Representative Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth)

  • S.L. 2023-31
  • Staggers the terms of the members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education beginning in 2024
  • Provides for even-year elections in the Town of Rural Hall
  • Click here for an official bill summary

SB 248: Nash Bd. Of Educ/No. of Members/Districts (primary sponsors: Senators Lisa Barnes, R-Nash; Buck Newton, R-Wilson)

  • Awaiting session law number
  • Decreases the size of the Nash Board of Education to seven members
  • Aligns the districts for the Nash Board of Education with the districts of Nash County Board of Commissioners
  • Provides for the boundaries of the Nash School Administrative Unit to be identical to the boundaries of Nash County, effective July 1, 2024
  • Requires Nash and Edgecombe school boards and county commissioners to submit a written plan to the State Board of Education to transfer that portion of the Nash School Administrative Unit located in Edgecombe County to the Edgecombe County Public School System
  • New section added which provides for partisan elections for the members of the Catawba County Board of Education, Hickory City Board of Education, and Newton-Conover Board of Education
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Local Bills Requiring Concurrence Vote: 

HB 308: Alexander County Board of Education Referendum (primary sponsor: Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) 

  • Passed the Senate and sent back to the House for concurrence vote
  • Provides for the partisan election of the Alexander County Board of Education, subject to voter approval in a county-wide referendum held at the time of the general election in 2024
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 31: Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Partisan (primary sponsor: Representative Harry Warren, R-Rowan)

  • Passed the Senate and sent back to the House for concurrence vote
  • Provides for partisan elections for the members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education beginning in 2024
  • Allows school board to revise residency districts if an adjustment is required for a change in attendance zones
  • Click here for an official bill summary
The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.
June 5, 2023, Weekly Report
Headlines for this edition include:

Potential Education Impacts to Federal Budget Deal: As the US House and Senate approved language which would raise the nation’s debt ceiling, spending limits adopted for the federal appropriations process could potentially impact education spending.

Education advocates are concerned that the bill’s cap on non-defense discretionary spending will result in cuts to programs, when accounting for inflation, and damage efforts to address the needs of the country’s schools and students. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) warns that the impact on Department of Education funding when tight non-defense discretionary caps were in place for FYs 2013 through 2021 could return. Education funding was cut and then took six years to return to the 2011 level in nominal dollars. Congress raised the caps every two years, generally providing a boost the first year and then flat funding the second year, and education funding declined the second year each time. CEF warns that the past may be a useful guide for what might lie ahead for appropriations for FY 2024 and FY 2025.

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

State News
Carolina Journal: Greenville, Pitt County School Board Defend Red-Light Cameras At NC Supreme Court
EdNC: State Board Discusses Supply and Demand For Voucher Expansion and the Baseline Costs To Run Public Schools
North State Journal: 336 K-12 Schools Receive Purple Star Designation
WFAE: Defiance of North Carolina’s School Calendar Law Is Growing
WRAL: Cost of College Could Soon Be a 10th Grade Topic In North Carolina

National News 
Education Week: Federal Ruling on Trans Athletes Is Delayed. Here’s What That Means for Schools
Hechinger Report: Inside the Christian Legal Campaign to Return Prayer to Public Schools
Disability Scoop: Medicaid Change Could Mean More Funding for Special Ed Services
New York Times: Schools Received Billions in Stimulus Funds. It May Not Be Doing Enough

As of today, no education-related legislative committee meetings have been scheduled for next week.
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

Christina DavoileNCSBA Legislative Update – June 9, 2023