Legislative Alerts

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE DECEMBER 7, 2018

2018 Session Continued – November 27

When the 2018 Session adjourned in June, it set a return date of November 27 in order to write bills to implement the constitutional amendments approved by voters on November 6. To that end, the General Assembly approved SB 824 this week to implement the constitutional amendment requiring a photo ID to vote. While in town, the General Assembly has considered hurricane relief and a few other matters that impact K-12 education.  Lawmakers will consider more legislation next week. They do not yet have an adjournment date.

 

SB 823 (S.L. 2018-138), Hurricane Florence / Supplemental Act, was approved by the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Cooper.  Key education components of the act include:

 

  • Funding: Appropriates $23.5 million to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to repair and renovate facilities damaged by Hurricane Florence for local school administrative units (LEAs), lab schools, and the Innovative School District. In addition, appropriates $1.5 million to DPI to repair or replace food, food nutrition equipment, and food nutrition supplies damaged by Hurricane Florence for local school administrative units (LEAs), lab schools, and the Innovative School District.

 

  • FAST NC: Authorizes DPI to transfer up to $350,000 from the State Public School Fund to Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina (FAST NC) to help students and teachers recover from the impact of Hurricane Florence.

 

  • Principal ADM Hold Harmless: Holds harmless principal salaries impacted by lower average daily membership when the principal’s school is located in a disaster area and the school was closed for at least 15 days from September 2018 to November 2018 as a result of Hurricane Florence.

 

SB 824, Implementation of Voter ID Constitutional Amendment, was approved by the General Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature or veto. The bill automatically becomes law if the Governor does not take action within ten days of receiving it.

Section 1.2(a) of this bill allows an employee identification card (ID) issued by a local government entity, including traditional and charter schools, to be used to vote in person at the polls. However, the local employee ID must be approved by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement (State Board). Each local school board must decide if they want to seek approval of their employee ID from the State Board. To gain approval, the head elected official or the lead human relations employee of the local government entity (i.e. school board) must submit a signed letter stating the following are true (Section 1.2(c)):

  1. The ID cards contain photographs of the employees taken by the employing entity or its agents or contractors.
  2. The ID cards are issued after an employment application process that includes methods of confirming the identity of the employee.
  3. The equipment for producing ID cards is kept in a secure location.
  4. Misuse of the equipment for producing the ID cards would be grounds for termination of an employee.
  5. Local officials would report any misuse of ID card equipment to law enforcement.
  6. The cards issued by the local entity contain a date of expiration effective January 1, 2021.
  7. The local government entity provides copies of standard IDs to the State Board for training purposes.

 

SB 469, Technical Corrections, was approved by the House on December 6 and was sent to the Senate for concurrence with House amendments.  Key education components of the act include:

  • Section 3: Expands eligibility for the 2018-19 principal bonus program’s “double bonus” if the principal supervised a school with a grade D or F for either 1) the 2016-17 school year, if the principal supervised the school for a majority of the 2017-18 school year or 2) the 2017-18 school year.
  • Section 18: Expands eligibility for the Principal ADM Hold Harmless (see SB 823 above) from schools closed for at least 15 school days due to Hurricane Florence to schools closed for at least 10 days.
  • Section 19: Permits public school buses to travel outside the State if the superintendent determines that the travel is the most direct route to and from a school.
  • Section 20: Adds local boards of education to the list of potential innovative school operators.
  • Section 22: Modifies the Disability Scholarship eligibility requirements by making eligible those students in nonpublic schools who were enrolled in a NC public school for the entire prior school year.
  • Section 22.5: Allows the board of directors of municipal charters in Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, and Huntersville to elect to become participating employers in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

 

Governor’s Crime Commission Special Committee on School Shootings
Two well attended public forums in Greenville and Greensboro took place in November. They were designed to allow the public to provide community comments and concerns. Having now met six times since April 2018, the Special Committee on School Shootings will now develop recommendations and submit a report to the Governor’s Crime Commission by the end of December.

House Select Committee on School Safety – December 6
The committee heard presentations by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent, Dr. Clayton Wilcox, and Mathews Police Chief, Clark Pennington. They shared ongoing efforts that are improving school safety, and lessons learned following a recent school shooting in the district.

This was the committee’s final meeting of the 2018 session. Members approved a report that included six legislative proposals for the 2019-20 General Assembly. Click here to see the draft report. One of the recommendations is to reintroduce several school safety bills that passed the House in 2018 and were not taken up by the Senate.

Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education – December 4
Members discussed the state of teaching in North Carolina. There were several presentations and panel discussions focusing on teacher recruitment, preparation, retention, and advancement. To learn more about the work of this commission click here.

State Board of Education (SBE) – December 6

Innovative School District (ISD) –  The Board approved Carver Heights Elementary School in Wayne County for operation under the Innovative School District starting in the 2019-20 school year.

FAST NC (Florence Aid to Students and Teachers of North Carolina) – FAST NC has raised $78,000 toward its goal to give “school materials, supplies, and resources that aid students in being prepared for instruction and aid teachers in the restoration of a high-quality learning environment.”  Three grants totaling $42,000 were recently awarded to replace destroyed science supplies and  instructional materials.   If you are in one of the 28 counties declared a federal disaster area as a result of Hurricane Florence, click here to learn how to apply for these funds.

Roberta Scott – Roberta Scott was recognized and thanked for her service this year as the Raleigh Dingman Award school board member adviser to the State Board of Education. Christian Overton, 2018 Raleigh Dingman Award winner, will replace Ms. Scott in January.

Combine Educator Talent-Related Functions – In response to a recommendation from the Ernst & Young organizational assessment, DPI is planning to combine Ed Prep, Licensure, and Educator Effectiveness under the Educator Recruitment & Support Division. This change should be finalized by July 31, 2019. Click here for more information on this topic.

Business Modernization – DPI business systems for HR, finance and payroll are near the end of their useful life and must be modernized. DPI officials estimate this modernization effort will cost $154 million over the next five years. $28.8 million has been appropriated to date for this effort. Click here for more information of this project.

School Calendar Flexibility

Columbus and Yancey County School Boards have shared with us their resolutions asking their county commissioners to pass a resolution in support of calendar flexibility. Please email a copy of your boards calendar flexibility resolution to rbostic@ncsba.org.

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Richard BosticNCSBA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE DECEMBER 7, 2018
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NCSBA Legislative Update – November 5, 2018

Tomorrow is the Day!

Wednesday morning, we will wake up and hopefully know the results of the 2018 election.  Below is what to watch for.

Constitutional Amendments

There are six constitutional amendments on the ballot.  Based upon polling data that we have been privy to, it appears the amendments on judicial selection and the ethics and election board are likely to be defeated.  Of the remaining four, the only one that has had majority support in the exit polling of likely voters is the one on victims’ rights.  The other three do not have majority support in the early voting exit polling but do have majority support in the overall polling.

NC Supreme Court

Jackson(I)/Earls/Anglin race pits incumbent Justice Barbara Jackson-R against Anita Earls-D and Chris Anglin-R.   As you might recall from this summer, there was a lot of effort to keep Anglin off the ballot.  Polls have consistently shown Earls ahead in this three-way race.

US House

The current makeup of the NC delegation is 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats.  Only three of the congressional seats have been rated as competitive this election cycle.

House District 9 (Pittenger seat) has Mark Harris-R vs. Dan McCready-D.  The most recently released poll has Harris at 45% and McCready at 44%.  This is definitely one to watch on election night.  To see more on this race and the trending data click here.

House District 13 had Ted Budd(I)- R vs Kathy Manning-D.  The latest poll for this race has Budd at 44% and Manning at 41%.  To see more on this race and the trending data click here.

House District 2 has George Holding (I)-R vs. Linda Coleman-D.  While polling data as recently as September showed this race to be neck and neck, the most recent poll has Holding ahead with 49% to 40%.  To see more on this race and the trending data click here.

NC Senate

The NC Senate is currently made up of 35 Republicans and 15 Democrats.  The Democrats need to win 6 additional seats to break the super-majority and 11 to take control of the Senate.  The Republicans need to maintain 30 seats to keep the super majority and 25 seats to hold a majority since the tie-breaking vote falls to the Lt. Governor, who is a Republican. Below are several resources on the most competitive seats in the NC Senate.

Click here for a document produced by the Free Enterprise Foundation.  They rank the competitiveness of seats based only upon prior performance of the district (i.e. presidential, congressional, etc. results) and NOT on the quality of the candidates.  The McKissick seat in top left is the strongest Democrat seat and the Open 29 (Dunn) seat is the most Republican seat.  Thus, working from the middle column out are your more competitive races based on prior performance of the district.

Click here for a document produced by Real Facts NC of Senate races to watch based on past performance of the district, the quality of the candidates and fundraising.  This analysis was done prior to the most recent campaign finance reports.

NC House

The NC House is currently made up of 75 Republicans and 45 Democrats.  The Democrats need to win 4 additional seats to break the super-majority and 16 to take control of the House.  Thus, Republicans can afford to lose 3 seats to maintain the super-majority and 14 seats to hold on to the majority. Below are several resources on the most competitive seats in the NC House.

Click here for a document produced by the Free Enterprise Foundation.  They rank the competitiveness of seats based only upon prior performance of the district (i.e. presidential, congressional, etc. results) and NOT on the quality of the candidates.  Representative Black’s seat in top left of the chart is the strongest Democrat seat and Representative McNeill’s seat is the most Republican seat.  Thus, working from the middle column out are your more competitive races based on prior performance of the district.

Click here for a document produced by Real Facts NC of House races to watch based on past performance of the district, the quality of the candidates and fundraising.  This analysis was done prior to the most recent campaign finance reports.

Third Extra Session – October 15

SB3, 2018 Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Act, was approved by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor.  Key education components include:

  • Funding: $60 million was appropriated to DPI to repair and renovate facilities damaged by Hurricane Florence for local school administrative units (LEAs), lab schools, and the Innovative School District. The funds do not require SBE approval. (Read State Board of Education/Hurricane Aid below for details of how the State Superintendent distributed the $60 million.)
  • Average Daily Membership (ADM): Directs the State Board of Education (SBE) to consider the highest student population during the first four months of school, rather than the current first two months for schools in disaster counties.

House Select Committee on School Safety
The Committee continued its public hearings across the state with stops in Belmont (Oct. 12), Wilmington (Oct. 19), Winston-Salem (Oct. 26), and Sanford (Nov. 2). At each meeting, the committee heard how the local school district is working to ensure the physical safety and mental health of their students and staff. Click here to review committee agendas and handouts for these hearings.

State Board of Education (SBE) – November 1

Innovative School District (ISD) – By a vote of 7-5, the Board voted to delay the selection of Carver Heights Elementary in Wayne County as the newest addition to the ISD. A majority of Board members wanted an additional month to receive more information about how this school was chosen from the six candidates.  Board members also mentioned the county’s opposition to the ISD and the county’s past ability to improve low-performing schools.

FY 2019-2021 Proposed Budget – The Board approved its 2019-21 expansion budget request. Each state agency was permitted to request a 2% increase over their 2018-19 base budget. The Board’s 2% request of $190.8 million does not include a principal and teacher pay increase, because the Board believes these increases should be in addition to the expansion request.

Some big-ticket items in the proposed budget are as follows:

  • $71.5 million (Recurring = R) for school support positions (nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, and school resource officers)
  • $30 million (R) to continue the department’s Business System Modernization effort
  • $20 million (R) for school nutrition – Includes $5 million to pay the student share of a reduced price lunch and $15 million to purchase locally-grown agricultural products
  • $18 million (R) for instructional materials and classroom supplies for personalized learning
  • $10 million (R) for school textbooks and digital learning resources

The Board also discussed its legislative agenda for the 2019-20 biennium that includes the following (no action was taken at this meeting):

  • Make permanent the 15 point A-F grading scale and create a focus group to review weighting of growth and other items
  • Revise the definition of “low-performing school” to not include schools meeting growth
  • Support principal pay, teacher pay and bonus adjustments
  • Continue principal pay hold-harmless extension
  • Restore state sales tax refund for schools
  • Support statewide school bond or needs-based capital fund
  • Allow school districts to apply to State Board for calendar and funding flexibility

School Psychologists – The Board approved the allowance of a Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential to fulfill the requirements of a continuing professional license as long as the national certification remains aligned with state licensing requirements.

Hurricane Aid – Superintendent Johnson reported that the $60 million (in SB3) for facilities damaged by Hurricane Florence were allotted to 12 school districts. Priority was given to those districts needing funds to reopen schools. Click here for allocations.

Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education – Oct. 16
The commission met in Fayetteville. Topics of discussion included:

  • The constitutionality of waiving numerous school days
  • Principal prep programs
  • School culture
  • School funding
  • Flaws in the current principal pay plan, such as the disincentive for high performing principals to move to low-performing schools

NCSBA Legislative Agenda

The 2019-2020 NCSBA Legislative Agenda will be presented to the Delegate Assembly for approval on November 12 at the Annual Conference. For a preview of the Legislative Agenda, please click here. This is a link to a webinar recorded by Leanne Winner on October 23.

 

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – November 5, 2018
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NCSBA HURRICANE INFO ALERT and LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – OCTOBER 11, 2018

To read DPI’s FAQ sheet on calendar & compensation issues related to Hurricane Florence, click here.

To view a map of NC districts closed or releasing early today, click here

 

General Assembly’s 3rd Extra Session – October 2
In a bi-partisan fashion, the General Assembly and Governor Cooper enacted two Hurricane Florence related bills into law:

  1. SB 2 – School Calendar & Pay/Hurricane Florence
  2. HB 4 – Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act

 

  • Public schools located in 28 counties designated as federally declared disaster areas (For the list of counties, click here) may:

(1) make up any number of instructional days or equivalent hours missed

(2) waive up to 20 instructional days or equivalent hours missed

(3) implement any combination of (1) & (2)

 

  • Public schools not located in federally declared disaster areas must make up two days or the equivalent number of hours missed unless their scheduled calendar will already meet 185 instructional days or 1025 instructional hours. An LEA that missed more than two days of school may:

(1) make up any number of instructional days or equivalent hours missed

(2) waive any number of instructional days or equivalent hours missed

 

  • The General Assembly appropriated $6.5 million from the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund “to supplement or replace lost compensation of school lunch employees due to school closures.

 

The General Assembly will reconvene Monday, October 15 to continue working on the recovery from Hurricane Florence.

 

State Board of Education (SBE) Meeting – October 3

The SBE heard a presentation on FAST NC (Florence Aid to Students and Teachers) from former State Superintendents Ward and Atkinson. Donations to FAST NC will help North Carolina’s public-school students and educators impacted by Hurricane Florence. The North Carolina School Boards Association is one of 31 Partner Organizations in this effort.

 

Donations to FAST NC may be made online through the existing NC Education Fund at  www.ncpublicschools.org/fastnc/

Donations may also be made by checks made payable to the NC Education Fund and sent to:

NC Education Fund
State Board of Education
6336 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699

 

Needs-Based Public-School Capital Fund
Superintendent Johnson announced the 2018 recipients of the Needs-Based Public-School Capital Fund grants for new construction.(see press release here) A total of $140.5 million went to ten Tier 1 counties and two Tier 2 counties. The amount awarded exceeds the $117.3 million appropriation for these lottery grants due to the transfer of $24 million from the Lottery Reserve fund balance.

House Select Committee on School Safety – 2 public hearings in September
Shelby meeting- DPI presented new information on the School Safety Grants Program:

  • School Resource Officers – DPI received 131 applications requesting $19.7 million. The Department awarded $12 million to 124 applicants to fund 360 SROs.
  • School Mental Health Support Personnel – DPI received 140 applications requesting $18.2 million. The Department awarded $10 million to fund 44 counselors, 80 social workers, 18 school nurses, and 15 school psychologists.
  • School Safety Equipment – DPI received 80 applications requesting $6.14 million. The Department awarded $3 million in grants to 63 school districts.
  • Training to Increase School Safety – DPI received 49 applications requesting $4.57 million. The Department awarded $3 million in 43 grants.
  • Students in Crisis – DPI received 35 applications requesting $4.58 million. The Department awarded $2 million in 23 grants.

 

Boone meeting – Speakers included Watauga County School Board members Jay Fenwick, Jason Cornett, and Ron Henries, and Superintendent Scott Elliott. Superintendent Elliott requested additional flexibility to use funds in a way that makes sense to individual systems.

 

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6692

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6677

 

Richard BosticNCSBA HURRICANE INFO ALERT and LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – OCTOBER 11, 2018
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NCSBA Legislative Update – September 7, 2018

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE SURVEY
The survey was emailed to all school board members on Tuesday, September 4, at approximately 2:25pm
from Leanne Winner. Completed surveys are due by 3pm, Monday, October 1, 2018. Survey responses
play a significant role in determining NCSBA’s top education legislative priorities for the next
two years. The committee approved the survey at its August 27 meeting.

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION (SBE)
Innovative School District – Sept. 5
Dr. Eric Hall, Deputy State Superintendent of Innovation, presented the State Board of Education
with a list of six schools (from a list of 14 qualifying low- performing schools) under
consideration for transfer into the Innovative School District (ISD) for the 2019-20 school year:
1. Carver Heights Elementary – Wayne County Public Schools
2. Gaston Middle – Northampton County Schools
3. Hillcrest Elementary – Alamance Burlington Schools
4. Williford Elementary – Nash-Rocky Mount Schools
5. Fairview Elementary – Guilford County Schools
6. Hall-Woodward Elementary – Forsyth County Schools
Dr. Hall plans to present a final list of 2-4 schools at the October meeting. The Board is
scheduled to approve the selected ISD schools in November.

SBE Members – Sept. 6
This was the last meeting for Chairman Bill Cobey, Becky Taylor, and Greg Alcorn. All three members
chose to resign from the Board. Governor Cooper
will have the opportunity to fill the unexpired terms of these members.

Board Vice Chairman Eric Davis was elected Chairman and member Alan Duncan was elected Vice
Chairman. Mr. Davis is the former chair of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Board of Education and Mr.
Duncan is the former chair of the Guilford County Board of Education.

LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES

House Select Committee on School Safety – Aug 30
The Committee met in Charlotte and heard from several local officials at its August 30 meeting in
Charlotte. Committee members also received an update from the Center for Safer Schools and a
presentation from three members of Generation Nation, a group that strives to develop young civic
leaders.

The next meeting is scheduled today, September 7, at 4pm in the Watauga High School auditorium in
Boone.

Child Fatality Task Force – Intentional Death Prevention Committee – Aug. 29 The Committee received
a report on the implementation of Raise the Age. The presentation included information on school
based complaints to the judicial system. Slide 5 of the presentation shows that the complaints from
schools have been slightly higher than 40 percent of the overall complaints
received. To view the full presentation, click here.
The Committee also discussed the legislation that was introduced during the biennium to require
school districts to provide employees training on suicide prevention. The Committee voted to
recommend to the full Child Fatality Task Force that they support the compromise legislation that
was presented by the State Superintendent which was based on a working coalition of which NCSBA was
part.

UPCOMING ELECTIONS
Tis the season for candidate forums with only 60 days until November 6. Below are a few suggested
questions to submit for events in your area that include legislative candidates:

Statewide School Construction Bond
1) A February 2018 High Point University poll shows 76% of North Carolina residents favor a
statewide bond referendum for public school construction and renovation. However, North Carolina
voters have not seen a bond referendum on a statewide ballot since 1996 – even though a 2016 DPI
report found the school construction backlog was more than
$8 billion dollars over the next five years. Would you support placing a school bond referendum on
the ballot to let the voters decide whether it’s a priority?

2) This year, General Assembly leaders have provided North Carolina voters an opportunity to amend
the State Constitution with six separate proposed constitutional amendments, yet state lawmakers
failed to even consider proposed legislation to allow North Carolinians to vote on a school bond
referendum. Do you believe the General Assembly should provide the public the opportunity to
determine whether a statewide school construction bond is a priority and a good use of their tax
dollars?

School Calendar Flexibility
1) The General Assembly revoked local control of school calendars in 2004. The current “one-size
fits all law” says traditional public schools can start no earlier than the Monday closest to
August 26. This makes it difficult to align the K-12 and community college systems, reduce summer
learning loss, schedule final exams before the Christmas break,

manage the state’s diverse weather, and it doesn’t account for the August 1 official start date for
fall sports. Do you believe local officials should have more control in setting the local school
calendar or should it be controlled by the General Assembly?

2) North Carolina’s public charter schools are authorized to set their own school calendar. Low
performing public schools have the ability to create their school calendars. Clearly, the General
Assembly believes local control over the school calendar is a tool that can improve student
achievement. Yet, a vast majority of North Carolina’s traditional public schools have zero calendar
flexibility. The schedule is determined by lawmakers in Raleigh. Would you vote to provide local
officials with at least some calendar flexibility or do you support the current calendar law?

Please contact us if you would like assistance with questions on other topics.

EXTRA SESSIONS
First Extra Session – July 24: The General Assembly returned to Raleigh to debate and approve a
bill to clarify the names of constitutional issues on the November ballot and to strip the party
designation on the ballot for judicial candidates that changed political parties 90 days before
filing for office.
Governor Cooper vetoed both bills – the vetoes were overridden.
Second Extra Session – August 24: Lawmakers returned to Raleigh again to rewrite the two vetoed
constitutional amendment bills that had been rejected by a Superior Court three-judge panel because
they did not fully inform voters of what they were voting on. The General Assembly decided not to
appeal the ruling that the law retroactively stripping party designations violated the
constitution.

November 27 Session – Many insiders believe the General Assembly will use this session to provide
more details for the approved constitutional amendments. Lawmakers could also take up any other
issue they so choose.
Leanne E. Winner Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial
Richard Bostic Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6677
Bruce Mildwurf Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6692
Copyright © 2018 North Carolina School Boards Association, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email as a member of NCSBA.
Our mailing address is:
North Carolina School Boards Association PO Box 97877
Raleigh, NC 27624

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – September 7, 2018
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 29, 2018

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 29, 2018

 

 

SESSION ADJOURNS
Lawmakers adjourned the legislative session this afternoon and are returning to their home districts for the summer.  The adjournment resolution sets November 27, 2018, as the date they will return to Raleigh.  During this post-Thanksgiving session they will likely work on the constitutional amendments that are approved on November 6 and define them/write them up in the appropriate form.  They could also take up any of the remaining bills that are eligible this session, including bills that have been vetoed but have yet to receive override votes (such as HB 131 and HB 1055, see below).

NCSBA will be holding a legislative webinar July 2 at Noon that includes a review of the 2018 session.  Register here!

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – SB75 LOWER THE TAX CAP
The Constitutional Amendment lowering the income tax cap, SB 75, was revised and passed this week  Instead of the cap being lowered to 5.5%, as the amendment originally proposed, the maximum rate under the amendment will be 7%.  The amendment will appear on the November 2018 ballot.

SB 75 with the max rate of 5.5% was originally on the House calendar for Tuesday and then Wednesday.  At the behest of House leadership, the amendment was pulled from the Wednesday calendar and sent back to the House Finance Committee, where the revision was made to increase the cap from 5.5% to 7%.  This cap will be less restrictive.  The amendment went back to the House floor Wednesday and narrowly received the necessary three-fifths support (73-45). Despite some concerns, Senators followed suit and approved the amendment on Thursday (34-13).

SB 75 was the topic of discussion on the latest episode of the NC Public School Forum’s Education Matters television program.  Richard Bostic, NCSBA Assistant Director of Governmental Relations, was a featured speaker on the panel.  You can watch the episode here.

You can read more coverage of the tax cap amendment here.

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION NOMINEES
A House-Senate joint session was held Thursday to take action on Governor Cooper’s 3 nominees to the State Board of Education.  Two of the nominees were rejected: Ms. Sandra Byrd of Asheville (nominated to replace Wayne McDevitt representing the Western Region); and Mr. J.B. Buxton of Raleigh (nominated to take Trish Willoughby’s at-large seat).

Gov. Cooper’s 3rd nominee was a re-appointment- Mr. Reginald Kenan (representing the Southeast Region).  Mr. Kenan is a member of the Duplin County local board of education and has been on the State Board for 9 years.  His re-appointment was approved.

With two nominees having been voted down, Gov. Cooper will now have to resume the process of searching for new nominees.  The terms of both Mr. McDevitt and Ms. Willougby expired in March 2017 but both of them have been continuing to serve through their expired terms while replacements are sought.  Mr. McDevitt and Ms. Willoughby are the longest serving members of the State Board, having both served for 16 years.

You can read more coverage here.

NOTABLE BILL ACTION THIS WEEK

Vetoed by the Governor 
Overridden by the General Assembly
Have Become Law

  • HB374- Regulatory Reform Act of 2018 (S.L. 2018-114)
    • Section 26 repeals a section in a different bill that got rid of protections for public schools where road improvements are occurring.  The protection prevented cities from putting conditions on zoning or permit request approvals from schools to get around the requirement that they reimburse LEAs, charter schools, or private schools for road improvements around schools.  A budget technical corrections section repealed this protection.  Section 26 restores the original budget language.
    • Section 27(b) directs the SBE to put all its policies through rule-making; policies not put through rule-making expire May 30, 2019.  Section 27(a) directs the SBE to repeal a couple policies setting out its authority in relation to the State Superintendent.
  • HB 382- DOI Omnibus – AB (S.L. 2018-120)
    • Part 6 amends the bail bonds law to relieve sureties of their financial obligations solely because a defendant is arrested in another jurisdiction at any point before final judgment of forfeiture (up to 150 days after the failure to appear).  The prior law allowed for relief of the financial obligation only when the defendant was arrested in another jurisdiction on the day they failed to appear.
    • This relief does not provide any incentive to sureties that will make defendants’ return to court more likely, nor does it represent an appropriate excuse for missing court in the first place.  The only purpose of this change is to reduce the financial burdens on sureties when they fail to uphold their end of the bail bond contract.  The changes fly in the face of well-settled court precedent and provide no benefit whatsoever to the State.

Vetoed by the Governor
Override Vote Has Yet to Occur

  • HB 131
    • This is another bail bonds bill which the NC Council of School Attorneys, on whose behalf we lobby, had opposed.
    • It would further expand the situations where a surety is relieved of their financial obligations.
    • It has been sent to the House Rules Committee and could be taken up when lawmakers reconvene in November.  You can read the Governor’s veto message here.
  • HB 1055
    • This makes changes to the Teachers’ and State Employees retirement system.  Gov. Cooper vetoed HB 1055 because he believed it unnecessarily takes away retirement options from teachers/state employees.  It has been sent to the House Rules Committee and could be taken up when lawmakers reconvene in November.  You can read the Governor’s veto message here.

Signed By Governor/Enacted Into Law

  • HB1031- Local Ed. Funding Dispute Process (S.L. 2018-83)
    • Removes the option for local school boards to file lawsuits over current expense if mediation fails.  It would continue the mediation process but if the mediation is not successful instead of the board filing suit, an automatic funding formula would be triggered.
    • The formula is: Per-student local appropriations from the previous school year X 1+ the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for primary and secondary education X the ADM for the upcoming year.  If this formula is used 3 years in a row there would be an additional 3% added to the ECI.  It would not alter any existing local funding formulas.
    • Creates a working group to study a mechanism to resolve disputes related to capital outlay, which will include representatives from NCSBA and the Association of County Commissioners.
  • HB611- Employment Contract Exception (S.L. 2018-26)
  • HB670- Protect Educational Property  (S.L. 2018-72)
  • HB986- Various Changes to Education Laws  (S.L. 2018-32)

Resolutions That Passed


NCSBA Bill Tracking: click here.


Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial
 

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6677

Sean Holmes
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688 direct dial

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – June 29, 2018
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 22, 2018

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 22, 2018

SESSION TIMELINE
House leadership announced earlier this week that they anticipate the 2018 short session will be adjourning next Friday, June 29.  Republican leaders said both chambers will spend next week debating and voting on local bills, 5 or 6 constitutional amendments, and Governor vetoes.  After last week’s whirlwind of committee meetings and late night voting sessions, Speaker Tim Moore and President Pro-Tem Phil Berger assured their respective chambers that they will not be taking up anything controversial that could be vetoed for the remainder of the session.  Remember that constitutional amendments do not go to the Governor, they instead go to the voters (statewide referendum).CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – SB75 LOWER TAX CAP
The Constitutional Amendment to significantly lower the personal and corporate income tax rate cap- SB75– passed the House Rules Committee Wednesday after a lengthy debate.  Republican leadership wants to let the voters decide whether to decrease the maximum allowable income tax rate from 10% to 5.5%.  The current personal income rate is 5.49% and is scheduled to go down again next year to 5.25%.  The corporate rate is 3% and will go down to 2.5% next year.  Supporters make the case that the NC economy has been strong since enactment of recent tax cuts and that future sessions of the General Assembly cannot raise income tax rates above what they deem to be appropriate levels.

NCSBA has several concerns about this amendment.  Such a restrictive cap would tie the hands of the State to respond to economic recessions or other events that cause State revenue to drop.  It could also negatively impact debt service and make bond issues more expensive by jeopardizing NC’s AAA bond rating.

Having already passed the Senate, the amendment would need to receive support of three-fifths of the House, or 72 members, in order to go to the voters.  It is unclear when it will be put on the House calendar.  Please contact your House member(s) in opposition.  Click here 

Media Coverage
Note that this weekend’s episode of Education Matters will focus on education and business community concerns with this const. amendment.  NCSBA will be represented by Assistant Director of Governmental Relations Richard Bostic on the panel.

Education Matters will air at these times:
Saturday at 7:30 PM, WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)
Sunday at 8:00 AM, FOX 50 (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)
Sunday at 6:30 AM and Wednesday at 9:30 AM, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel (Statewide)

BILLS OF NOTE

HB131/HB382- BAIL BONDS
Last week two bills passed the General Assembly that make significant changes to the bail bonds forfeiture laws.  Provisions were added in the Senate to H 131 and H 382.  On behalf of the NC Council of School Attorney we have asked the Governor to veto both bills.  The purpose of the bond forfeiture system is to ensure the appearance of the bonded defendant in court and facilitate the administration of justice.  The amendments to NCGS §15A-544.5(b) and §15A-544.8(b) in House Bills 382 and 131 are contrary to that purpose and will significantly increase the likelihood that defendants will not appear in court to face justice.  They have the ancillary consequence of further burdening financial planning for school systems.  State law creates seven specific grounds upon which sureties may seek relief from their financial obligations on a forfeited bond.  These options are carefully balanced to ensure that sureties only receive relief when the defendants’ failure to appear has been remedied in a timely fashion or was impossible due to incarceration in another jurisdiction on the scheduled court date.  House Bills 382 and 131 upend this balance by providing gratuitous relief to sureties with no attendant benefit to the administration of justice.  The added language in NCGS §15A-544.5(b)(6a) and (b)(7) relieves sureties of their financial obligations solely because a defendant is arrested in another jurisdiction any time before final judgment of forfeiture (up to 150 days after the failure to appear).  This relief does not provide any incentive to sureties that will make defendants’ return to court more likely, nor does it represent an appropriate excuse for missing court in the first place.  The amendments’ only purpose is to reduce the financial burdens on sureties when they fail to uphold their end of the bail bond contract.  The changes fly in the fact of well-settled court precedent, and provide no benefit whatsoever to the State.  Finally, House Bill 131 also amends NCGS §15A-544.8(b) to provide broad relief to sureties for up to three years after final judgment.  That statute had provided a narrow justification for such relief if the surety could show “extraordinary circumstances.”  Courts have, appropriately, held that such language sets a high bar.  House Bill 131 removes the word “extraordinary” from the statute, upending decades of case law and leaving relief entirely to the discretion of judges with no guiding standard.  This will result in wildly disparate results across counties and drastically reduce the efforts sureties will put into finding missing defendants, all of which burdens the courts and hinders the administration of justice.  In addition, because of the time delays involved in relief under section 544.8 and the much lower standard created in these bills, school boards around the state will be left with no choice but to create trust accounts to hold bond forfeiture proceeds for three years, in case they have to pay them back years after collection.  This will be a massive administrative burden, especially on smaller counties.

SB15- ISD Changes and Capital Grant Clarification     In Senate Rules 
At the time we published last week’s update, it was uncertain what would happen to SB15.  We noted in previous updates the two major concerns with this bill- raising the cap on 5 schools that can be put into the ISD and making Reform Model and other turnaround schools eligible for inclusion in the ISD.  We were anticipating SB15 might come up on the Senate floor Friday for a concurrence vote.  Instead it was sent to the Senate Rules Committee.  Since the Senate has said no statewide bills will be considered for the rest of the session, we do not expect any further action on this bill.

HB374- Regulatory Reform Act of 2018     Awaiting action by the Governor
This bill was among the flurry of bills that passed last week while legislators were finishing up statewide bills.  There are a few education provisions.  The most notable is Section 26, a provision that repeals a section in a different bill that got rid of protections for public schools where road improvements are occurring.  The protection prevented cities from putting conditions on zoning or permit request approvals from schools to get around the requirement that they reimburse LEAs, charter schools, or private schools for road improvements around schools.  A budget technical corrections section repealed this protection.  Section 26 restores the original budget language.

Section 27 of HB374 deals with the SBE.  It directs the SBE to put all its policies through rule-making; policies not put through rule-making are expired May 30, 2019.  It also directs the SBE to repeal a couple policies setting out its authority in relation to the State Superintendent.

HB1031- Local Ed. Funding Dispute Process  Awaiting action by the Governor
This would remove the option for local school boards to file lawsuits over current expense if mediation fails.  It would continue the mediation process but if the mediation is not successful instead of the board filing suit, an automatic funding formula would be triggered.

The formula is:
Per-student local appropriations from the previous schoolyear X 1+ the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for primary and secondary education X the ADM for the upcoming year.  If this formula is used 3 years in a row there would be an additional 3% added to the ECI.  It would not alter any existing local funding formulas.

There is also a provision to have a working group study a mechanism to resolve disputes related to capital outlay, which will include representatives from NCSBA and the Association of County Commissioners.

Below are bills mentioned in previous updates that are still awaiting action by the Governor:

ONLINE SALES TAX
In a 5-4 decision on June 21, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states canrequire e-commerce companies to collect sales tax on purchases made by their state residents.  Prior to this ruling, a business had to have a physical presence in the state before it was required to collect sales taxes.  This case was prompted by the passage of a 2016 South Dakota law that required companies registered with the state to collect and remit sales tax if it had annual remote sales exceeding $100,000 or had more than 200 separate remote transactions in the state in a calendar year.  South Dakota sued four retailers for not complying with the law, thus the name of the court case, South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., et.al.

North Carolina may need to update its sales tax statutes before implementing the sales tax on internet sales.  While still in session during the last week of June, the General Assembly could take up Senate Bill 81 that was modeled after the South Dakota internet sales tax law.  This bill passed the Senate in 2017 and is in the House Finance Committee.

This decision could generate additional sales tax revenue at the state and local level.  An estimate from the federal Government Accountability Office projected that the potential revenue gains from expanded remote sales tax collection for North Carolina could be $223M (low-end estimate) to $358M (high-end estimate).

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial
Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile
Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial
Sean Holmes
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688
Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – June 22, 2018
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 15, 2018

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 15, 2018

SESSION WINDING DOWN
Lawmakers are holding a rare Friday session today as they work to finish up the 2017-18 session soon.  Activity on Jones Street was busy throughout the week, with dozens of bills moving out of committees and both chambers.  The plan is to finish up statewide bills that go to the Governor today, consider local bills and constitutional amendments next week, and do any veto overrides the following week.

Make sure to pay attention to your emails for action alerts as bills move throughout the day today. 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – LOWER THE TAX CAP
A Senate proposal to let the voters decide on lowering the maximum income tax rate allowed by the NC Constitution cleared a House committee this week.  SB75 would lower the income tax cap in the NC Constitution from 10% to 5.5%.  The current rate is 5.49% and is scheduled to go down more next year to 5.25%.  If the amendment goes to the voters and passes it would mean that no future session of the General Assembly could raise the rate higher than 5.5%.  The Senate passed the amendment last year so if the House successfully passes it before session ends it would go on the November 2018 ballot.  Constitutional amendments do not go to the Governor.

NCSBA has several concerns about such an amendment.  Chiefly, a drop of this magnitude (4.5%) would tie the hands of the State to respond to economic recessions or other events that cause a drop in State revenue.  Such a restrictive cap could also negatively impact debt service and make bond issues more expensive by potentially jeopardizing NC’s AAA credit rating.  NCSBA believes that at the very least the tax cap should be set at 7.75%, which is what the top marginal rate had historically been before the General Assembly collapsed the marginal rates down to a flat rate in 2013.

The amendment is now in House Rules.  NCSBA is working with members of the committee to try to change the amendment to get it up to 7.75%.  Please contact members of the House Rules Committee and ask them to oppose the amendment or increase the cap to 7.75%.  Click here to find and contact members of that committee.

Click here to read more about the House Finance Committee’s discussion.

BILLS OF NOTE THIS WEEK 

Still Need Legislative Action as of 1:00 PM 
HB1031- Local Ed. Funding Dispute Process.  The bill to change the current budget dispute process between boards of education and county commissions passed the House floor Wednesday and Senate Rules today.  It is on the Senate calendar for today.

The bill would remove the option for a school board to file suit in superior court over current expense if mediation fails.  The new process under the bill would continue the mediation process but if the mediation is not successful instead of the board filing suit an automatic funding formula would be triggered.  The formula would be the amount appropriated per student the previous school year multiplied by 1+ the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for primary and secondary education x the ADM for the upcoming year.  If this happens 3 years in a row there would be an additional penalty of adding 3% to the ECI.  It would not alter any existing local funding formulas.  Disputes over capital could still go through the court process after mediation.

NCSBA had expressed concern on the original bill that if the commissioners gave nothing for school capital then the formula would derive nothing.  HB1031 was revised to include a provision to have a working group study a mechanism to resolve disputes related to capital outlay, which will include representatives from NCSBA and the Association of County Commissioners.

SB15- ISD Changes and Capital Grant Clarification.  This makes various changes to the ISD statute.  It narrowly passed the House yesterday and is likely to be taken up by the Senate today.  The original version ALSO had a provision on LEAs employing superintendents’ spouses.  This language was stripped from this and put into another bill instead (HB611 see below).

NCSBA has concerns about 2 provisions in SB15:

  • There is language that removes the cap of 5 schools and allows the ISD superintendent the option of selecting up to two additional low-performing schools for the ISD beginning 2021-22.  We have no idea if this model works or not.  This upcoming school year will be the first for a school to operate under this model.  We have a couple of years in which this provision could pass once they have shown they can be successful.  This expands what should be a pilot before it has even started.
  • It also allows for schools that adopted a turnaround model such as a Restart to be put into the ISD. This means the LEA may not have a chance to try to improve the school on it’s own.

We are working to try to get these provisions changed.  The only way the bill can be changed is if the Senate votes to not concur in the House changes (the House added this language) and the bill gets sent to a conference committee.

SB15 also makes some other changes to the ISD law dealing with career status teachers, the selection timeline, and other areas of the ISD law.

Passed Both Chambers and Sent to Governor
SB335- Budget Technical Corrections
Lawmakers quickly put out and passed the annual budget technical corrections bill this week.  There are several areas that impact public education.  One that caused great alarm was Section 7.4(a) and (b) would strike language that protected LEAs in their request to cities for reimbursements for road improvements.

This is being repealed in HB374.

Click here to read more on this issue.

SB125- Various Changes to Education
The House Education Committee stripped out the original language of this bill and inserted an item on public education.  The provision encourages local boards of education to adopt student attendance recognition programs and establish guidelines for those programs.

HB611- Employment Contract Exception
This bill legalizes employment relationships between any NC local school board and the spouse of the superintendent, if that employment relationship has been approved by that board in an open session.  Earlier versions of this language, including a provision in SB15, had limited this authority to counties/cities below a certain population level.  That language was stripped out of SB15 and this version moved instead.

HB670- Protect Educational Property
This would make it a Class H felony to communicate a threat of mass violence on educational property.  NCSBA supports this bill in line with the school safety survey that was sent to school board members in March.

HB986- Various Changes to Education Laws
The Senate Education Committee took the original contents of the bill- to establish DPI reporting requirements on LEAs complying with the cursive writing and multiplication table curriculum mandates- and tacked on several additional K-12 provisions.

  • Direct SBE to repeal the existing mental health policy and then have DPI develop a content standard for a mental health training program that includes the provisions of HB285.  This would create one set of school employee training requirements for youth mental health/suicide awareness instead of multiple training requirements.  It would also allow for remote training programs.
  • Require LEAs to place students who score a level 5 on end-of-year math tests in be placed in an advanced math course the following years.  This was put in on the House side. 
  • Direct the State Board of Education to provide information from annual performance reports for educator preparation providers in a user-friendly format that allows comparability of data, and remove requirements for UNC to incorporate that information into the Teacher Quality Dashboard.
  • Require the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to study and make recommendations on ways to reduce testing not otherwise required by State or federal law.
  • Create a “Renewal School System” model that authorizes Rowan-Salisbury to apply to the SBE to have all its schools operate with various charter-like exemptions from State laws/regulations.

NCSBA MONDAY LEGISLATIVE WEBINAR CANCELLED
Please note that there will be NO LEGISLATIVE WEBINAR on Monday, June 18.

BILLS
Click here to access all the NCSBA-tracked bills that had action this week as of this morning.

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Sean Holmes
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – June 15, 2018
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HB 1031

Dear School Board Members/Superintendents/Board Assistants:

Tomorrow the House Judiciary 1 Committee will consider H1031:  Local Ed Funding Dispute Process.  This bill is based upon the report from the Program Evaluation Division and approved by the Joint Program Eval Oversight Committee.  The bill would change the current budget dispute process between boards of education and county commissions where first there is mediation and if mediation fails then the school board can file suit in superior court.  The new process under the bill would continue the mediation processbut if the mediation is not successful instead of the board filing suit an automatic funding formula would be triggered.  The formula would be the amount appropriated per student the previous school year multiplied by 1+ the Employment Cost Index (ECI) for primary and secondary education x the ADM for the upcoming year.  If this happens 3 years in a row there would be an additional penalty of adding 3% to the ECI.

NCSBA has expressed concern continuously that this funding formula does not work for capital disputes.  If the county commissioners essentially appropriate nothing for school capital then then the formula would derive nothing.  On the flip side if a county appropriated a large sum the previous year it could create a large appropriation in the subsequent year.  Both NCSBA and the County Commissioners Association have expressed concerns about how this plays out for capital.  The two organizations have been in constant conversation to try to come up with an alternative that both sides can agree upon but have not reached any compromise.

If you are concerned about this or any other part of the bill, I would encourage you to contact the members of the committee (especially if you have a member who represents your school district) before their meeting at 1 pm Wednesday.  The members of the committee are below.


 

Chairman Rep. Davis
Vice Chairman Rep. Duane Hall
Vice Chairman Rep. Jackson
Vice Chairman Rep. Stevens
Vice Chairman Rep. R.Turner
Members Rep. ArpRep. Farmer-ButterfieldRep. HowardRep. G. MartinRep. McNeillRep. MeyerRep. RogersRep. Steinburg

 


Click on each person’s name to pull up their contact info.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at lwinner@ncsba.or or Sean Holmes at 919-747-6688.

Leanne

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
(919)747-6686

Richard BosticHB 1031
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 8, 2018

 

ARMING SCHOOL EMPLOYEES
HB960, which was scheduled Thursday for a vote on the House floor, was removed from the calendar because of an amendment Rep. Larry Pittman put forth to allow armed school employees to voluntarily provide security services if they are trained and possess a concealed carry permit.  NCSBA opposes this amendment per the results of the survey sent to school board members in March when 70% said they opposed arming teachers.  This bill is back on the calendar for Tuesday, June 12.  Please contact your House member(s) before Tuesday and let them know that you oppose arming school employees except SRO officers.  Click here to find your House members and contact information. 

As currently written, HB960- Local Law Enforcement/Citizen Academies, would authorize local programs for citizens to do specific tasks for their law enforcement agencies to help with community safety and security.  The citizens would have to go through a training program and background check.

BUDGET VETO/OVERRIDE 
On Thursday the Senate quickly overrode Governor Roy Cooper’s Wednesday veto of the 2018-19 budget.  This came less than 24 hours after the veto was issued.  The override margin was 34-13.  It is expected that the House will override the veto Monday or Tuesday.

Governor Cooper cited the public education section as one of the problematic areas, calling the funding inadequate.  “We have to invest more in public education,” Gov. Cooper said during a news conference announcing his veto.

This is the second consecutive year that Gov. Cooper has vetoed the General Assembly’s budget bill.  If you want to read more and watch the Governor’s news conference on his decision to veto click here. If you want to read about the leadership of the General Assembly’s response to the veto click here.

MUNICIPAL CHARTER BILL
HB514, which allows four Charlotte suburbs to apply to run charter schools, is now law (SL 2018-3).  The bill passed a final Senate vote 27-17 Monday night and then was approved in a concurrence vote by the House 64-53 on Wednesday.  Since the bill was a local bill it did not go to the Governor.

HB514 will set a new precedent for the state by letting the towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, Cornelius, and Huntersville apply to be chartering entities.  If approved to run a charter school, the town could use tax money to fund both current operations AND capital.

The Senate Education Committee had added an amendment to allow employees of these “municipal charter schools” to participate in the Teacher and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS).  Concern was later raised this provision made the bill a statewide bill that would have to be sent to the Governor.  In an effort to keep HB514 a “local” bill, the employee eligibility language was removed on the Senate floor.  Ultimately, six Republican Senators joined all of the Democrat Senators to vote against HB514.  They were Senators Dan Barrett, Tamara Barringer, Kenny Earl Britt, Rick Horner, Tom McInnis, and Jerry Tillman.  On the House side, Republican House members William Brisson, Ted Davis, Josh Dobson, Jeffrey Elmore, Kyle Hall, Craig Horn, Julia Howard, Stephen Ross, and Mitchell Setzer broke ranks to join the Democrats to vote in opposition.

NCSBA is concerned that this is a concept that other towns and cities could pursue in future years.  Now that this law has been enacted, it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, for future legislatures to tell local delegations that their municipalities cannot have the same authority to create their own “municipal charter school.”  Additionally, Section 38.8 of the State budget act now authorizes cities to use tax dollars for public schools including to enter into leasing agreements for real property and mobile classroom facilities.  HB 514 takes it a step further and permits specified municipalities to open/operate public charter schools. There are also a number of unanswered questions and potential consequences, including, but not limited to:

  • What, if any, retirement plan will employees of the municipal charter participate?  What other benefits would or would not be available to employees of the municipal charter?
  • What happens if there is a time when less than a majority of student enrollment live in the municipality?   Is this a violation of the public purpose clause in the constitution?
  • Can the town contract with an Education Management Organization (EMO) to run the school or must all employees be employees of the town?
  • What would this do to pre-existing schools run by the LEA that are located in or near the municipality that taxpayers have already paid?
  • What effect would this have on traditional charter schools in the area?
  • Do the citizens of the municipality have a voice in whether the school is established or not?

This issue has made the national news in an article published this week by US News and World Report.  Click here to read that report.

INNOVATIVE SCHOOL DISTRICT CHANGES/SUPERINTENDENT SPOUSES
A bill to make some changes to the Innovative School District (ISD) and allow qualifying local school boards to employ the spouse of the local superintendent passed the House K-12 Education Committee Tuesday.  ISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Hall requested several amendments to the existing ISD statute, and SB15 includes these provisions.  They include:

  • Removes the cap of 5 schools and allows the ISD superintendent the option of selecting up to two additional low-performing schools for the ISD beginning 2021-22.  (NCSBA has concerns about this section).
  • Schools that adopt a turnaround model such as a Restart are no longer exempt from inclusion in the ISD.  (NCSBA has concerns about this section).
  • Career status teachers in an ISD school will now retain his/her career status once the school goes back to the governance of the LEA.
  • Change the dates for the SBE to select an ISD school and for the local board of education to respond.  Currently, the SBE must select an ISD school by December 15 of the calendar year and then the local school board has two months to decide to accept the transfer or close the school.  SB15 changes those dates so that the SBE must select a school by November 15 and then the local board must make a decision on accepting the transfer or closing the school one month later- December 15.
  • If the local school board decides to close the school instead of accepting the ISD transfer, SB15 would require the board to submit a closure plan to the SBE.
  • Give the ISD operator first priority in using funds for capital at the school.
  • Expand the timeline for the ISD operator and the local school board to adopt a memorandum of understanding to 45 days (from, 30 days).
  • Allows, instead of requiring, innovation zone schools to become an ISD school if they do not meet certain benchmarks.

As noted above, NCSBA has concerns about two of the sections in this part of the bill.  We are working with Dr. Hall and the SBE to modify the language but still achieve the identified goals.

SB15 also contains a separate provision that clarifies the law surrounding employment by the school district of a superintendent’s spouse.  SB15 would specifically allow for employment of superintendents’ spouses in county LEAs with a population of 65,000 or fewer and in city LEAs with a population of 15,000 or fewer.

SB15 could be taken up in the House chamber as early as Monday night.  If passed it would need to go to the Senate for a concurrence vote.

OTHER NOTABLE BILLS
Omnibus School Safety Legislation
The House on Monday unanimously passed HB938, a comprehensive bill to try to improve school safety.  HB938 would:

  • Require peer-to-peer support programs in all schools with grade 6 and above.
  • Mandate that all public school buildings undergo annual facility vulnerability assessments.
  • Require each LEA to submit an annual report on school resource officers (SROs).
  • Establish training requirements for SROs.

Threat Assessment Teams
HB934 passed the House Wednesday.  This bill would require all local school boards to pass policies creating and providing for threat assessment teams in the LEA.  A threat assessment team would include individuals with expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration, and law enforcement that
conducts threat assessments in the LEA.  It also contains the same language on peer-to-peer support programs in grades 6 and above as is contained in HB938.

National/State Mottos in Schools Act
HB965 passed the House 94-15 Wednesday.  This bill would require all public schools to prominently display both the State motto “To Be Rather Than to Seem,” and the National motto “In God We Trust.”  Examples of “prominent” places where the mottos should be displayed would be an entry way, cafeteria, or other common area.  Only $25,000 would be appropriated to LEAs for this mandate in 2018-19.

Advanced Math Courses
HB986 would require LEAs to offer advanced math courses in grades 3 and up.  It would direct that if a student scores a level 5 on their EOG/EOC they shall be placed into this advanced math course for the next academic year.  This bill passed a House committee and the House floor.  It is now under consideration in the Senate.

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE WEBINAR JUNE 11
Registration is open for NCSBA’s next legislative webinar on June 11 at Noon.  During this free webinar we will give an update on recent legislative activity and look ahead to the coming week.  Click here to register for the June 11 webinar.

BILLS
Click here to see a list of bills with action this week that NCSBA is tracking.

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Sean Holmes
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – June 8, 2018
read more
NCSBA Legislative Update – June 1, 2018

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 1, 2018

BUDGET
Lawmakers completed their work on the 2018-19 budget this morning, as the House gave final approval to the package by a vote of 66-44.  The Senate voted separately to give final approval to the plan on Thursday morning 36-14 mostly on party lines (one Democrat voted yes).  Because the budget was put into a conference report (SB99), there were several unique features to this year’s budget process- the various spending subcommittees did not meet to take up their sections (there was just one joint meeting of each chamber’s full appropriations committees); each chamber voted separately on the full package (as opposed to the first chamber sending it over to the other chamber); and no amendments were allowed. This allowed for a quick process where the budget was sent to the Governor less than 96 hours after being released.

Each chamber spent multiple hours debating the measure, with most of the Senate debate occurring Wednesday afternoon and most of the House debate occurring Thursday afternoon.  The House debate in particular featured a few tense moments of heated discussion.  You can read more about the debate here and here.

It is unclear what Governor Cooper will do now that the budget is heading his way but he has 10 days to sign, veto, or let it become law without his signature.

Attached please find a review of the major budget provisions for K-12 public education.

MUNICIPAL CHARTER BILL
HB514 passed out of the Senate Education Committee this week.  This bill allows a handful of cities/towns to establish and run charter schools.  When the House passed it last year the bill only gave this authority to the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill.  The Senate Education Committee added the towns of Cornelius and Huntersville to the bill before sending it to the Senate floor.  It passed an initial vote in the Senate Thursday by a vote of 30-20.  Senators Dan Barrett (R-Iredell), Tamara Barringer (R-Wake), Danny Earl Britt (R-Columbus), Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), and Rick Horner (R-Nash) joined all Democrats in opposing the bill.  It will be taken up for a final vote on Monday.  If passed, it would need to go back to the House for a concurrence vote.

NCSBA has significant concerns about this bill.  In conjunction with a provision in the budget (see budget summary attachment), HB514 would create a significant policy shift in the operation and funding of our state’s public schools.  It would set a precedent that impacts students, districts, and communities across the state.

Sec. 38.8 of the budget allows cities to levy property taxes to enter into leasing agreements for real property or mobile classroom units for use as school facilities for public schools.  Currently, cities are not authorized to use property tax revenue for schools.  HB514 then permits the city to operate a public charter school.  Additionally, it has been the policy of this state to bar governmental entities from appropriating taxpayer dollars for capital for charter schools.  This concept has not been properly vetted and has too many potential risks and unintended consequences.

SCHOOL SAFETY LEGISLATION
A comprehensive bill to try to improve school safety passed out of the House K-12 Education Committee Wednesday.  HB938 includes many of the recommendations from the House Select Committee on School Safety.  It is scheduled for a vote in the House today.  HB938 would:

– Require peer-to-peer support programs in all schools with grade 6 and above.

– Mandate that all public school buildings undergo annual facility vulnerability assessments.

– Require each LEA to submit an annual report on SROs.

– Establish training requirements for SROs.

NCSBA LEGISLATIVE WEBINAR   June 4
Registration is open for NCSBA’s next legislative webinar on June 4 at Noon.  During this free webinar we will give an update on the budget and recent legislative activity.  Click here to register for the June 4 webinar.

Leanne E. Winner
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6686 direct dial

Bruce Mildwurf
Associate Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 606-3916 mobile

Richard Bostic
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
(919)747-6677 direct dial

Sean Holmes
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
(919) 747-6688

 

Richard BosticNCSBA Legislative Update – June 1, 2018
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