Ramona Powers

North Carolina School Boards Association Elects New Leaders

North Carolina School Boards Association Elects New Leaders

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) elected officers and members to its governing Board of Directors during the delegate meeting of the 2023 Annual Conference for Board Member Development. NCSBA’s new president is Jennifer Thompson, Cherokee Central School; president-elect is Margaret Bradsher, Person County; vice president is Mac Hodges, Beaufort County; and treasurer is Debbie Marsh, Mooresville Graded Schools. Officers will serve a one-year term.

Members elected to serve a second two-year term on the NCSBA Board of Directors are Dr. Leslie Barnette, Catawba County; Sandra Bowen, Lee County; Chris Heagarty, Wake County; Carlos Riddick, Washington County; and Dr. Anne White, Perquimans County.

Members elected to serve a first two-year term on the Association’s Board of Directors are Dianne Bellamy Small, Guilford County; Kimberly McMichael, Rockingham County; Heather Rhyne, Lincoln County; and Lenora Sanders-Shipp, Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The Board of Directors establishes the mission and goals for the Association and ensures that NCSBA activities and programs remain focused on these goals. In addition, the officers and directors are the personal communications link between their regions and the Association.

Ramona PowersNorth Carolina School Boards Association Elects New Leaders
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Roanoke Rapids Board of Education Member Wins Prestigious Award

Roanoke Rapids Board of Education Member Wins Prestigious Award

Dr. Mike Williams of the Roanoke Rapids Graded Schools Board of Education is the 2023-2024 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship. To receive this esteemed award, which is given annually by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.

“Our 2023-2024 Raleigh Dingman recipient is like a North Carolina education superhero,” said NCSBA Executive Director Leanne Winner during the announcement. Williams started as a math teacher, then became a principal, and a superintendent for three school systems before serving on the Roanoke Rapids school board. Since retiring, he has contributed part-time to various education-related roles, including coaching principals, serving as a liaison, and acting as interim superintendent. Williams has continued to be actively engaged in state-level education, holding positions on many boards, all while remaining committed to his local community and family. “I believe our Raleigh Dingman winner will now make a difference for children across the state,” said Winner.

The Raleigh Dingman Award is the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina school board member. The award is named in honor of Dr. Raleigh Dingman, the Association’s first full-time executive director, and was first presented at the 1981 annual conference. In 2002 legislation was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly that provides for the Raleigh Dingman Award winner to serve as an ex officio advisor to the state board of education and to attend meetings and participate in deliberations of the state board. Williams will serve in this capacity.

Ramona PowersRoanoke Rapids Board of Education Member Wins Prestigious Award
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Cumberland Superintendent Named 2024 A. Craig Phillips NC Superintendent of the Year

Cumberland Superintendent Named 2024 A. Craig Phillips NC Superintendent of the Year

Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., superintendent of Cumberland County Schools, was named the 2024 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year. The award is jointly presented annually by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association.

As the 2024 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Connelly will compete for the National Superintendent of the Year honor at the American Association of School Administrators’ National Conference on Education in San Diego, CA, Feb. 15-17, 2024.

The following 2024 North Carolina Regional Superintendents of the Year, who all were nominees for North Carolina’s prestigious state award, were also recognized at the Nov.14 ceremony:

Region 1 | Northeast | Barry Williams, Gates County Schools

Region 2 | Southeast | Wesley Johnson, Clinton City Schools

Region 3 | Central | Rhonda Schuhler, Franklin County Schools

Region 4 | Sandhills | Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., Cumberland County Schools

Region 5 | Piedmont/Triad | Stephen Gainey, Randolph County School System

Region 6 | Southwest | Aaron Allen, Lincoln County Schools

Region 7 | Northwest | Matt Stover, Catawba County Schools

Region 8 | Western | Aaron Greene, Polk County Schools

Read the entire press release here.

Ramona PowersCumberland Superintendent Named 2024 A. Craig Phillips NC Superintendent of the Year
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Watauga County School Board Chair Named Champion of Education Award Winner

Watauga County School Board Chair Named Champion of Education Award Winner

Dr. Gary Childers, chairman of the Watauga County school board, has been awarded the Association’s 2023 Champion of Education Award. This award recognizes those individuals, businesses, community members, employees, or school board members who have demonstrated ongoing dedication to the success of our K-12 students and the betterment of public schools in North Carolina.

Dr. Childers has dedicated an impressive 50 years of service to students, families, and colleagues in Watauga County and throughout North Carolina. From starting as a middle school teacher to becoming the chair of the board of education, his journey reflects a remarkable commitment to education. His extensive leadership roles, numerous awards, and active involvement in community services showcase not only his professional excellence but also his unwavering dedication to the well-being of children and families. With his unquestioned integrity and thoughtful leadership, Dr. Childers stands as a beacon in strengthening public education and creating opportunities for a better life for all.

NCSBA presented the award to Dr. Childers during the November 14 awards ceremony of the Annual Conference for Board Member Development held in Greensboro.

Ramona PowersWatauga County School Board Chair Named Champion of Education Award Winner
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2023 County Commissioners of the Year

2023 County Commissioners of the Year

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) presented its prestigious County Commissioners of the Year Award to the Perquimans Board of County Commissioners.

The board was recognized during the awards ceremony of the Association’s 2023 Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 14. The Perquimans County Board of Education nominated their commissioners for the award and described experiencing a transformation driven by strategic leadership over the past five years. The collaboration among key leaders, including a re-elected chair of commissioners, a new county manager, and school superintendent, has not only resulted in phenomenal growth in student achievement but also a significant overhaul of school operations. This success is underpinned by teamwork and partnership, clearly demonstrated through increased current expense funding for three consecutive years. This commitment is further evident in the collaboration with local agencies and businesses, showcasing a dedicated effort to make Perquimans County the preferred place to live, learn, prosper, and play.

The County Commissioners of the Year Award is given to a board of county commissioners that is nominated by the local board of education in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.

Ramona Powers2023 County Commissioners of the Year
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Wilson County’s Communicating with Confidence Recognized Statewide

Wilson County’s Communicating with Confidence Recognized Statewide

The Innovation and Excellence in Public Education Award was awarded to Wilson County for its Communicating with Confidence program. This award was established to recognize the exemplary work of school boards that have found creative solutions to district challenges.

Created by the Wilson Education Partnership and led by Executive Director Robin Williams, the Communicating with Confidence initiative helps students regain social skills and confidence lost during the pandemic. The program’s success is evident as it expanded from a pilot in one class to multiple English III classes across all five high schools, impacting 300 juniors and fostering meaningful connections between students and business leaders.

For its exemplary work, the district was recognized during the November 14 awards ceremony of the Association’s annual conference in Greensboro.

Ramona PowersWilson County’s Communicating with Confidence Recognized Statewide
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Students Win Big in Statewide Contests

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) announced the winners of three statewide student contests held in conjunction with the NCSBA Annual Conference for Board Member Development: an elementary school poster contest, middle school video contest, and high school video contest. The conference was held in Greensboro November 13-15.

The high school video contest teams placing first, second, and third attended the awards ceremony held on November 14 at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Cash prizes were sponsored by the Association and Fairbanks, LLC.

  • First Place and $3,000 – Mooresville High School video 4, Mooresville Graded Schools
  • Second Place and $2,000 – Richmond County 9th Grade Academy, Richmond County
  • Third Place and $1,000 – Mooresville High School video 3, Mooresville Graded Schools

In addition, judges identified 10 videos to receive honorable mention. All finalist and honorable mention videos are available for viewing at http://www.ncsba.org/training/student-contests.

The middle school video contest winning video was from Grandview Middle School, Hickory Public Schools.

The elementary poster contest recognized first-, second-, and third-place winners in two grade level groups: K-2 and 3-5. Each winner received a certificate and art kit that will be presented to students during an upcoming local school board meeting. Poster contest winners were as follows:

In the K-2 category

  • First Place – Amille Williams, 1st grade, Everetts Elementary STEM Academy, Halifax County
  • Second Place – Emma Hernandez, 2nd grade, Virginia Cross Elementary, Chatham County
  • Third Place – Multi-student, Kindergarten, Collettsville Elementary School, Caldwell County

In the Grades 3-5 category

  • First Place (Tie) – Clara Anne Knox, 3rd grade, Shoals Elementary, Surry County
    Arizona Lane, 3rd grade, Virginia Cross Elementary, Chatham County
  • Second Place – Carly Bree Honeycutt, 3rd grade, Endy Elementary School, Stanly County
  • Third Place – Hannah Kang, 5th grade, Camden Intermediate School, Camden County
Ramona PowersStudents Win Big in Statewide Contests
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Crisis Communication Benefits

Crisis Communication Benefits

Schools have always been vulnerable to reputation-challenging problems that may occur in a moment’s notice. Schools are among the most public-facing organizations, employing a lot of people in operations that encompass – besides education – childcare, security, transportation, food services, building services and more. And for good reason, schools are under intense public scrutiny.

The past three-plus years and the COVID-19 pandemic, though, challenged school leadership to an unprecedented degree.

And, driven in large part by social media, the adjustments and changes in response to the pandemic came amid one of the most tense, socially and politically charged atmospheres imaginable.

It’s little wonder that when schools seek help for communications we see a wide range of issues. But the situations we encounter all have one important factor in common. The school leadership team must talk about it. They can’t ignore it. It isn’t going away. And the people the schools care about the most – the teachers, staffers, parents and students – are waiting to hear what’s going to be done about this.

While each situation requires its own communications strategy, with tools and tactics tailored to that situation, there are some basic principles and best practices that apply.

Effective crisis communications: The best practices

First, you can’t communicate your way out of a challenge. You must act your way out. But you also need to communicate those actions in clear, concise language.

Second, follow the fundamentals of effective crisis communications. At Hennes Communications, we depend on our Damage Control Playbook and its five simple concepts:

  1. Tell the truth.
  2. Tell it first – if you don’t, someone else will.
  3. Tell it all – if you don’t, someone else will. We realize that sometimes, for very legitimate reasons, you can’t tell it “all.” Student privacy must be paramount, for example. And as we experienced in communicating about a pandemic, you also can’t know it “all.” Change will continue. Tell people that. One more important caveat: Don’t provide any information until you know it is true to the absolute best of your ability to know that in the heat of the moment. One of the most damaging errors, from a communications and reputation standpoint, is to have to walk back “facts” that you’ve shared with the public. As we saw with the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, the result is extreme frustration and distrust on the part of your community.
  4. Tell it fast.
  5. Tell it to the people who matter most. Your teachers, staff, students and parents are eager to hear from you.

Third, “no comment” is no answer. Tempting as it may be, “no comment” equals a guilty plea in the court of public opinion. Because, after all, if you have a story to tell, why aren’t you telling it?

An insurance policy for your reputation: the crisis communications plan

Your greatest uninsured asset is the reputation you’ve spent years building. Build insurance for your reputation by preparing for the worst with a crisis communications plan.

Districts and schools are required to develop comprehensive emergency management plans meeting North Carolina law requirements.  While communication with emergency services, staff, parents and other parties is a key part of these plans, districts also should consider the development of a comprehensive crisis communications plan.

At its essence, a crisis communications plan establishes who says what, who you’re saying it to, when and how.

When working with districts to develop a crisis communication plan, we place a great deal of emphasis on the “what” – messages for your most important audiences that have been approved by the superintendent, principals, legal, human resources, communications – by all the key players – for a variety of crisis scenarios.

We identify the crisis scenarios by conducting a vulnerability audit with schools. We gather in one room with the heads of different departments and disciplines that cut across the organization and ask, what keeps you up at night? What potential crisis are you worried about?

In an hour or so of brainstorming, the group usually comes up with 50 or 60 potential crises.

We rate which are most likely. From that most likely list, we choose the most potentially damaging – to your day-to-day operations and your reputation.

That usually yields about a dozen potential crises that are most likely to happen and most damaging.

Then, we write messages designed to talk about the crisis immediately, as it’s happening, with accompanying social media posts, particularly for Twitter and Facebook.

Having a crisis communications plan positions you to react quickly when the crisis hits because you don’t have time then to think about what you want to say and get your leadership team to approve it. Your school community is waiting to hear from you. These planned, approved messages get your voice out there in those crucial early cycles of a crisis. They establish you’re working on the problem. And we’ve found they are crucial in protecting and maintaining your reputation.

The plan also establishes a crisis communications team, with complete contact info – including mobile phones. With backups for the primary contacts, because the crisis will hit while your crisis team leader is on vacation. And a clear delegation of responsibilities for each team member.

The plan identifies your key members and how you’ll reach them, from phone calls, to email, to social media. Protocols and procedures are included for activating the crisis communications team, with immediate first, second and third steps.

And the plan delves into social media, with passwords for your sites listed, instructions for use of social media, guidelines for monitoring, etc.

Want to survive a crisis? Have a plan for doing so before the crisis.

Thom Fladung is managing partner at Hennes Communications, the preferred provider of crisis management services to the Arizona School Boards Association, Florida School Boards Association, Indiana School Boards Association, North Carolina School Boards Association and Ohio School Boards Association. For more information, contact Thom at fladung@crisiscommunications.com or 216-213-5196.

Ramona PowersCrisis Communication Benefits
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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
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NCSBA Building Named for Long-Time Executive Director

NCSBA Building Named for Long-Time Executive Director

The North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) Board of Directors has named its office the Dr. Edwin Dunlap Jr. Building in honor of its long-time executive director. Dunlap, who has served in the position since 1994, announced his retirement in March effective January 2021.

Ed Dunlap Portrait

Portrait of Ed Dunlap unveiled during the 2020 Annual Conference.

“Given all of Dr. Dunlap’s significant achievements, the board of directors believed that a parting plaque on the wall would not fully express our gratitude for his vision and leadership of this outstanding, thriving association,” said NCSBA Immediate Past President Brenda Stephens during a presentation at the virtual NCSBA Annual Conference on November 6. Stephens also announced that the board granted Dunlap the honorary title of executive director emeritus at its March meeting.

When Dunlap joined the association in 1979 at the age of 29, he was the third employee. NCSBA now has a team of more than 30 staff members who work out of the newly dedicated 45,000-square-foot office building, which was built in 2000 on Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh. With the help of Dunlap’s visionary leadership, the North Carolina School Boards Trust was established in 1982 and has since become one of the most successful risk management programs in the National School Boards Association (NSBA) federation. NCSBA formed the North Carolina Academy of School Boardsmanship in 1985 to help train and develop school board members. The North Carolina School Boards Action Center was created in 2013 to enhance the association’s advocacy efforts. Dunlap has also overseen the growth of NCSBA’s various policy and superintendent search services.

NCSBA Landmark

Artists rendition of landmark signage.

“I’ve had an absolutely wonderful career here. I don’t know anything that I had rather have done,” said Dunlap, who is the longest serving executive director in the NSBA federation. Leanne Winner, the association’s director of governmental relations since 1998, will move into the executive director position upon Dunlap’s retirement.

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