NCSBA State Budget Alert – September 20, 2023

NCSBA State Budget Alert – September 20, 2023

Much like a student submitting overdue homework, the North Carolina General Assembly has at last unveiled the State budget.

On Tuesday evening, Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) convened a press conference to reveal a budget agreement had been reached. Notably, they announced that the casino provisions would not be included in this budget, with no separate vote on casino legislation planned at this time.

Today, lawmakers made the final state budget figures public, and the crucial budget votes are slated for Thursday and Friday.

Click here to access the budget bill.
Click here to access the budget committee (money) report.

The total General Fund allocation for FY 2023-2024 is $29.7 billion, In 2024-25 the allocation increases to $30.8 billion for a two year increase of 11.4%. For K-12 public education, the budget appropriates $11.5 billion in 2023-2024 for an increase of nearly 2% over FY 2022-23. $11.9 billion is appropriated in 2024-2025, for an additional increase of 3.5% over FY 2023-2024.

The following are K-12 education highlights of the two year biennium 2023-2025 state budget. We will provide a more comprehensive summary in our Friday Legislative Update at the end of the week.

Parents Bill of Rights

Due to implementation concerns raised by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) and other groups deadlines for the policies in Part 2 of SB49: Parents’ Bill of Rights have been pushed back to the first day of school after January 1, 2024. The new implementation deadlines can be found in the 2023 Appropriations Act on page 139, Section 7.81(d), line 12.

Additionally, NCSBA sought to continue to allow teachers and other school personnel who provide treatment to students from first aid to emergency care without parental consent. The  fix can be found in the 2023 Appropriations Act on page 138, Section 7.81(c), line 41.

Finally, the budget language also clarifies that parents must be given notice of the opportunity to opt out of any protected information survey given as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey or the National Youth Tobacco Survey. Before this clarification, parents would have been required to opt in. This exemption can be found in the 2023 Appropriations Act on page 138, Section 7.81(b), line 31.

Salary Increases

Teachers and other school employees paid on the Teacher A Salary Schedule will receive an average 7% raise over the biennium. Pay increases for teachers range from 3.6% to 14.7% over the biennium. Raises will be retroactive to July 1, 2023.

Teacher A Salary Schedule

Years of Exp. 2022-23 2023-24 Increase over 2022-23 2024-25 Increase over 2023-24
0 $3,700 $3,900 5.41% $4,100 5.13%
 1 $3,800 $3,984 7.68% $4,175 7.05%
2 $3,900 $4,085 7.50% $4,250 6.68%
3 $4,000 $4,187 7.35% $4,325 5.88%
4 $4,100 $4,289 7.23% $4,400 5.09%
5 $4,200 $4,391 7.10% $4,475 4.34%
6 $4,300 $4,481 6.69% $4,572 4.12%
7 $4,400 $4,572 6.32% $4,663 4.06%
8 $4,500 $4,662 5.95% $4,753 3.95%
9 $4,600 $4,753 5.62% $4,844 3.90%
10 $4,700 $4,843 5.28% $4,935 3.83%
11 $4,800 $4,933 4.96% $5,025 3.76%
12 $4,900 $5,024 4.67% $5,116 3.70%
13 $5,000 $5,114 4.37% $5,206 3.62%
14 $5,100 $5,205 4.10% $5,297 3.58%
15 $5,200 $5,306 4.04% $5,388 3.51%
16 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
17 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
18 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
19 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
20 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
21 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
22 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
23 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
24 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
25 $5,400 $5,510 5.96% $5,595 5.45%
26+ $5,400 $5,510 2.04% $5,595 1.54%

With the exception of school bus drivers, school employees not paid on the teacher salary schedule including principals, central office staff and non-certified personnel will receive an across-the-board salary increase of 4% in 2023-2024 and additional across-the-board salary increase of 3% in 2024-2025. Bus drivers will receive an additional 2% in 2023-2024.

Proposed salary schedule for principals:

2023-2024 Principal Annual Salary Schedule
Avg. Daily Membership            Base             Met Growth         Exceeded Growth
0-200                                         $75,526        $83,078                  $90,631
201-400                                      $79,302        $87,232                  $95,162
401-700                                      $83,078        $91,386                  $99,694
701-1,000                                   $86,855        $95,540                  $104,226
1,001-1,600                                $90,631        $99,694                  $108,757
1,601+                                        $94,407        $103,848                $113,288

2024-2025 Principal Annual Salary Schedule
Avg. Daily Membership            Base             Met Growth         Exceeded Growth 0-200                                          $77,792        $85,570                  $93,350
201-400                                      $81,681        $89,849                  $98,017
401-700                                      $85,570        $94,128                  $102,685
701-1,000                                   $89,461        $98,406                  $107,353
1,001-1,600                                $93,350        $102,685                $112,020
1,601+                                        $97,239        $106,963                $116,687

Additionally, principals can receive a bonus if their school is in the top 50% for growth. Those bonuses are as follows:

2023-2024 Principal Bonus Schedule
Statewide Growth Percentage                                             Bonus
Top 5%                                                                                $15,000
Top 10%                                                                              $10,000
Top 15%                                                                              $5,000
Top 20%                                                                              $2,500
Top 50%                                                                              $1,000

Other pay highlights include:

  • School psychologists, speech pathologists and audiologists with a master’s degree or higher shall receive a supplement of 10% of their monthly salary, plus an additional $350 per month.
  •  Small and low wealth counties receive dollar for dollar match from DPI to provide teacher signing bonuses up to $1000.
  •  Rural school districts will receive an extra $30 million for teacher supplements.

Ethics Training

One of the key items on the NCSBA Legislative Agenda was the implementation of ethics training. We are delighted to report that these provisions have found their place in the final state budget. The budget language explicitly states, “Every employee of a local school administrative unit involved in the creation or management of contracts, as specified in G.S. 14-234, shall undergo a minimum of two hours of conflicts of interest training pertaining to the formulation and administration of contracts.” For comprehensive details on this particular provision, please refer to Section 7.41(a) of the 2023 Appropriations Act, located on page 105, line 30.

Moreover, there are several additional budget provisions that warrant highlighting:

Section 7.27 School Health Personnel Allotment (pages 96-97)

  • Removes the requirement for local boards of education to provide at least one school psychologist and requires local boards of education to instead provide school health support services in accordance with G.S. 115C-316.5
  • Reflects the transfer of school nurse, counselor, and social worker positions from the Instructional Support Allotment to the School Psychologist Allotment, which will be redesignated as the School Health Personnel Allotment
  • Encourages school districts to fill these positions with full-time, permanent employees but allows the allocation to be converted to a dollar equivalent to contract with a third party to provide relevant services
  • Prohibits the SBE from requiring that a school nurse obtain a four-year degree as a condition of employment
  • Lists the duties of school counselors and career development coordinators

Section 7.36 School Safety Grants (page 100)

  • Continues the School Safety Grants Program, which is used to improve safety in PSUs by providing grants for (i) services for students in crisis, (ii) school safety training, (iii) safety equipment in schools, and (iv) subsidizing the School Resource Officer Grants Program
  •  $35 million appropriated per year over the biennium

Section 7.44 Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program (pages 110-112)

  • Expands the Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program to all school districts and no longer limits districts from having more than five participants per year
  • Lists requirements for applications, award of funds, selection of teacher assistants, and local reporting

Section 7.44A Teacher Apprentice Grant Program (page 112)

  • Establishes the Teacher Apprentice Grant Program to provide grants to local school districts to award funds for (i) tuition at educator preparation programs for eligible 2023 NCSBA teacher apprentices and (ii) salary supplements for teacher apprentices who become teachers in the district
  • Awards up to $4,600 per semester for up to four academic years

Section 7.45 Economically Disadvantaged Public School Support Funds (page 114)

  • Requires DPI to establish the Economically Disadvantaged Public Schools Support Program to provide funds to support the efforts of qualifying economically disadvantaged public schools to continue to exceed growth in subsequent school years
  • Clarifies that the funds associated with this Program will supplement and not supplant local funds

Section 7.55 CTE Modernization & Expansion (page 118)

Of the funds appropriated to DPI, up to $2,000,000 in nonrecurring funds for each year of the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium shall be used to create a grant program for modernization of Career and Technical Education programming, materials, training, and professional development for courses conducted in grades six through 12

Section 7.58 Eliminate Student Copay for Reduced-Price Meals (page 119)

  • Funds appropriated from the General Fund to DPI for reduced-price school meal copays shall be used to provide school breakfasts and lunches at no cost to students of all grade levels that qualify for reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program in the current school year
  • If the funds are insufficient to provide school meals at no cost to students qualifying for reduced-price meals, allows DPI to use funds appropriated to the State Aid for Public School fund Section

7.59 CEP Meal Program Expansion Pilot (pages 119-120)

  • Requires DPI to establish a pilot to expand public school participation in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program to increase student access to free school breakfast and lunch
  • Requires the pilot to be available for the 2024-25 fiscal year with the intent of continuing the pilot through the 2025-27 biennium

7.73 Limited Teacher Licensure Changes  (page 133-134)

  • Changes the three-year limited license for teachers from nonrenewable to renewable
  • Requires teachers who are renewing a limited license to submit an affidavit from the employing local board of education that is signed by both the principal and the superintendent for the school to which the teacher is currently assigned
  • Requires the affidavit to validate specific criteria

7.74 Out-of-State Teacher License Reciprocity (pages 134)

  • Modifies the requirements for an out-of-state license applicant by requiring the State Board of Education to grant a Continuing Professional License (CPL) to a teacher licensed in another state with substantially similar licensure requirements who has at least three years of teaching experience and is in good standing with the other state

Section 8A.6 Expand Eligibility for Opportunity Scholarships (pages 187-196)

  • Makes all NC K-12 students eligible for Opportunity Scholarships
  • Replaces opportunity income requirements with a sliding scale based on household income as follows:
  • Incomes not in excess of 100% of the amount required to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – 100% of tuition per student
  • Incomes not in excess of 200% of the amount required to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – 90% of tuition per student
  • Incomes between 200% and 450% of amount required to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – 60% of tuition per student
  • Section 8A.6 (e) creates accountability for the Opportunity Scholarship program through standardized testing. Tests shall be administered to all eligible students enrolled in grades three and 3 higher whose tuition and fees are paid in whole or in part with a scholarship grant as follows:
  •  a. The nationally standardized test designated by the Authority in grades three and eight.
  • b. The ACT in grade 11.
  • Prohibits local boards of education to require more credits to graduate than what is required by the State Board of Education (currently, 22 credits).

For the 2032-33 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, $520.4 million will be appropriated to the Program

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association

Christina DavoileNCSBA State Budget Alert – September 20, 2023