Legislative Updates & Alerts

NCSBA Legislative Update – September 2, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – September 2, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met on Tuesday, August 30, and Wednesday, August 31, for a planning and work session, followed by the Board’s monthly meeting on Thursday, September 1. During the September monthly meeting, Board members were presented with the following:

2021-2022 school year accountability data: Prior to the presentation of 2021-2022 school year accountability data, it was noted that 2018-2019 school year data would be included for context, not evaluation. Additionally, Board members were reminded that due to the COVID-19 pandemic both testing and accountability was waived for the 2019-2020 school year and accountability was waived for the 2020-2021 school year. While test scores have increased from the 2020-2021 school year, students are not back to pre-pandemic levels of proficiency. The following are highlights of 2021-2022 school year accountability data:

  • School growth scores (slide 47)
    • Exceeded: 28.8% (27.9% in 2018-2019)
    • Met: 40.8% (45.5% in 2018-2019)
    • Did Not Meet: 30.4% (26.7% in 2018-2019)
  • School performance grades (slide 54)
    • A: 5.6% (8% in 2018-2019)
    • B: 17.2% (29.3% in 2018-2019)
    • C: 35% (41% in 2018-2019)
    • D: 32.1% (18.2% in 2018-2019)
    • F: 10.2% (3.6% in 2018-2019)
  • Low-performing designation (slide 67)
    • Schools: 864 (488 in 2018-2019)
    • Districts: 29 (8 in 2018-2019)
  • The four-year cohort graduation rate was 86.2% (slide 8)
    • 86.5% in 2018-2019

Following the presentation, Board members praised the progress that schools have made while also acknowledging the work that still needs to be done. Vice Chair Alan Duncan said, “For anyone who seeks to criticize educators based on the release of this data, you are wrong…We should be praising and encouraging our educators and lifting them up.”

  • Click here to access the performance and growth data
  • Click here to access the graduation rate data
  • Click here for a further breakdown on the data on the state, region, district, and school levels
  • Click here for an article on the presentation and discussion of the data

Principal retention supplement: The 2022 State budget requires principals’ salaries to be based on school growth scores from the 2021-2022 school year, beginning on January 1, 2023. For the past several years, salaries have been based on school growth data from the best two out of three previous school years. This change in salary calculation is predicted to decrease pay for 15% of principals by amounts between $7,200 and $18,000 over a one-year period. In response to this legislative change, the Board approved the utilization of $4.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to supplement the salaries of principals whose pay will be negatively impacted. Click here to access the State Superintendent’s statement about the plan to address this principal pay issue.

Recommendations for changes to principal preparation requirements: The Board received an update on proposed revisions to principal licensure requirements. Over the past several months, DPI has gathered recommendations from various stakeholder groups based on the current principal licensure requirements, asking what should stay the same and what should change. During the meeting, DPI staff presented recommendations based on that stakeholder feedback, with the plan of requesting the Board’s approval at the October meeting. There was much discussion amongst Board members, with disagreements on whether to require a licensure exam and teaching experience. Following the discussion, Dr. Olivia Oxendine, who chairs the committee overseeing the process of reforming principal preparation requirements, said she would like to have more time to discuss these recommendations prior to sending them to the legislature for consideration.

School health support personnel report: The Board was presented with a report on school health support personnel that will be submitted to the legislature. The report compares the State’s student to health support personnel ratios with the nationally recommended ratios. It also lists barriers individuals face when entering each school health support profession and includes the following recommendations:

  • Reduce student ratios to the recommended ratios of each profession to aid manageability of student caseloads
  • Employ at least one social worker, psychologist, and nurse in each school to strengthen on site student support services teams
  • Fund competitive salaries to increase retention and recruitment
  • Create clearer job descriptions to protect school health support personnel from engaging in inappropriate job duties

Click here for the full report.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

During the planning and work session, Board members participated in small group discussions and were presented with the following:

Click here to access all planning and work session materials.

 

On Wednesday, the State Supreme Court heard arguments on funding the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. The objective of the Leandro Plan is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a sound basic education, as required by the State constitution. This hearing follows Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson’s finding that $785 million of State funds is needed “to properly fund years two and three” of the eight-year Leandro Plan.

Earlier this year, Robinson replaced Superior Court Judge David Lee. After this replacement, the State Supreme Court ordered Robinson to review Lee’s November 10, 2021, order prior to the Leandro case coming before the Supreme Court. Lee’s order called for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Leandro Plan. Robinson amended Lee’s order to instead call for $785 million, following an analysis of how much the State budget, which passed on November 18, 2021, funds the Plan. Robinson’s order, however, declined to direct the transfer of funds.

Members of the seven-justice Supreme Court questioned the parties on whether a trial judge had ever previously ruled that there was a statewide violation of the constitutional right to the opportunity to receive a sound basic education and whether the courts can order the transfer of the $785 million to state agencies for the Leandro Plan. Click here for an article that provides more details on the hearing, as well as background on the case. It is not known when the Supreme Court will release its decision.

Click here to access a recording of the hearing.

 

Last week, data was released showing that during the 2021-2022 school year, NC’s K-2 students outperformed students in other states on literacy skills. This article provides more context on the data.

 

The Committee met on August 15 and August 29. During the August 15 meeting, Committee members were given the following presentations on principals:

During this meeting, legislators voiced support for solving the issue of looming pay cuts for some principals beginning in January 2023, which is when the 2022 State budget requires principal salary to be based on school growth data from the 2021-2022 school year. (See “Principal retention supplement” under the SBE Planning/Work Session and Monthly Meeting section for more on how the SBE plans to resolve this issue.)

Click here to access all meeting materials.

During the August 29 meeting, Committee members were given the following presentations on school discipline:

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

We are now receiving federal updates on education-related issues, which we will be including in our legislative updates. The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent weekly education reports.

 

Tuesday, September 6

9:30 am – Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee – Legislative Offices Building, room 643 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – September 2, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – August 5, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – August 5, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met on Wednesday and Thursday this week and were presented with the following:

Draft teacher licensure model update: During the monthly chairman’s report, Board Chair Eric Davis and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt voiced their support for redesigning the State’s teacher licensure system. During the April Board meeting, the SBE received an initial update on the draft teacher licensure model that is being developed by the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC). This draft model has received a range of critiques to which Chair Davis and Superintendent Truitt stated the following:

  1. The current teacher licensure system needs to be overhauled because it offers few supports to teachers in their early years, provides no opportunity for teachers to increase their compensation, and does not contribute to the growth and development of teachers as professionals.
  2. The draft model would allow teachers to advance in their career without having to leave the classroom for an administrative position.
  3. The draft model does not threaten to withhold raises from teachers but rather provides multiple avenues for teachers to increase their compensation that are not offered in the current system.
  4. The draft model does not threaten to revoke a teacher’s license but instead aims to ensure that every student has access to a highly qualified teacher. The draft model would require teachers to demonstrate effectiveness for three years within two five-year renewal periods, while providing teachers with support to achieve this goal.
  5. This draft model is not merit pay, which is pay based solely on student testing. Only a minority of teachers teach in subject areas with standard student testing data. There are many teachers who are creating positive outcomes for their students who are not being recognized, and this draft model would identify that great work so that it can be rewarded and learned from.

Superintendent Truitt stated that this process is not close to being done and that feedback continues to be welcomed (feedback can be sent to pathways.feedback@dpi.nc.gov). It is expected that PEPSC will present an update on this teacher licensure model at the September SBE meeting. Chair Davis stated that even if the Board votes to approve a final model this fall, it is very likely to be “a preliminary final model with further iterations for improvement as we gather feedback from teachers and other stakeholders.” Ultimately, the General Assembly would have to fund the implementation of this new teacher licensure model, and Superintendent Truitt stated that the ideal goal is to send the model to legislators during the 2023 session. Click here to watch this part of the meeting. Click here to access an article on this draft teacher licensure model and the pushback it has received.

Virtual charter school enrollment waiver: The SBE approved a waiver allowing the State’s two virtual charter schools to enroll hundreds more students for the 2022-2023 school year than is allowed under current law. The schools are legally required to abide by the virtual charter school pilot program’s 2,592 enrollment cap for the 2022-2023 school year, but as of July 29, NC Virtual Academy had enrolled 3,425 students and NC Cyber Academy has enrolled 2,705 students.

Board member discussion on the enrollment waiver occurred during closed session. Prior to the Board’s vote on the waiver, Board Member Amy White, who chairs the committee overseeing charter schools, explained that DPI staff did not notice the discrepancy in enrollment numbers until July 29 and that the waiver is in the best interest of students, given that the start of the school year is only weeks away. The Board approved the waiver, which allows each school to maintain its enrollment numbers, as of July 29, for the 2022-2023 school year only; prohibits enrollment of additional students during the 2022-2023 school year if some students withdraw, unless enrollment has dropped below the statutory cap; and requires the schools to submit timely enrollment waiver requests for future school years. All Board members voted in favor of the enrollment waiver except Board Vice Chair Alan Duncan.

Rural-urban differences in ELA progress and home internet access during the pandemic: DPI’s Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR) presented data showing that home internet access was 2.5 times more important for academic progress in English Language Arts (ELA) during the pandemic than in prior years. Students in the farthest rural areas experienced about 30% more ELA learning loss than students in cities or city adjacent areas. This rural-urban difference was largest in third grade, with data showing that rural students experienced about 60% more ELA learning loss than their urban peers. While the data did not allow DPI staff to estimate the independent value of home internet to student academic outcomes, the report concluded that the State should continue to increase home internet access, especially in rural areas. Geoff Coltrane, Governor Roy Cooper’s education advisor, explained that this is already in the works because the 2021 State budget appropriated roughly $700 million to broadband expansion. Click here to access the OLR white paper.

Promising Practices Clearinghouse update: The Board was presented with an update on the Promising Practices Clearinghouse, which was launched in January with the goal of sharing information about evidence-based practices across the State. The Promising Practices focus on six key strands: learning recovery and acceleration, district and school transformation, reforming accountability and testing, strengthening literacy, student support services, and human capital. Since January, DPI staff has organized data into these six strands, including data on work-based learning, teacher housing initiatives, and literacy. Click here to access the Clearinghouse website.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

On Monday, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt and DPI staff gave a presentation to the House Select Committee on an Education System for North Carolina’s Future. The presentation included information about State and federal education expenditures, research findings on the impact of the pandemic from the 2020-2021 school year, state-level plans for pandemic recovery, and diagnostic reading data.

Following the meeting, DPI corrected the reading data that had been presented. The corrected data shows that at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, students in kindergarten and first grade were 27% and 38% proficient in reading, respectively, and at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, students in kindergarten and first grade were 67% and 63% proficient in reading, respectively. Previously, the reading data chart labeled the data from the beginning of 2021-2022 school year as being data from the 2018-2019 school year. This article notes that the corrected data does not compare these 2021-2022 school year reading proficiency gains with previous school years, and that a final version of the data will be presented later this month.

The Committee also heard a presentation on Harnett County School’s contracted services from the district’s superintendent, Dr. Aaron Fleming, and the district’s Assistant Superintendent for Financial Services, Andrew Cox.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

We are now receiving federal updates on education-related issues, which we will be including in our legislative updates. The following are the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent weekly education reports.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – August 5, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 22, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 22, 2022

 

NCSBA’s 2022 Legislative Summary is here! Click here to read an in-depth summary of the State budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, as well as summaries of education bills that became session law.

 

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene next Tuesday, July 26, and adjourn next Thursday, July 28. During this time, they could take votes on overriding some of the governor’s vetoes, or they may take no legislative action at all. The governor did not veto any bills tracked by NCSBA for the 2022 legislative session. We will keep you updated on any action that occurs next week.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – July 22, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 15, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 15, 2022

 

On his last day to take action on the 2022-2023 fiscal year State budget (Monday, July 11), Governor Roy Cooper signed the budget into S.L. 2022-74 and released this statement: “Today, I signed the State budget (HB 103) that includes critical investments in education, economic development, transportation and the state workforce…Negotiations are occurring now and we are closer than ever to agreement on Medicaid Expansion, therefore a veto of this budget would be counterproductive.”

The total General Fund allocation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is $27.9 billion, which is said to be a 7.2% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year. For K-12 public education, the budget appropriates $11.3 billion, which is a 6.4% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year and 3.2% increase from the 2022-2023 fiscal year budget certified in the 2021 Appropriations Act.

The budget provides raises for all school staff, including teachers, noncertified personnel, and principals. Teachers in their earlier years will be getting higher percentage increases than veteran teachers, with the exception of teachers in their 25th year. The budget also includes appropriations for school safety grants, school capital, and broadband expansion. For more information on education provisions included in the budget, click here to access NCSBA’s summaries.

In the press release about signing the budget, it was announced that Governor Cooper’s COVID-19 State of Emergency will be lifted on August 15, 2022. “The budget includes the changes in the law requested by the NC Department of Health and Human Services to ensure flexibility that is currently made possible by the Governor’s COVID-19 State of Emergency.”

Additional State budget links:

  • Click herefor the education appropriations from the budget money report
  • Click herefor the full budget money report
  • Click herefor the budget bill (HB 103)
  • Click here for House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger’s joint statement on the governor’s approval of the budget

 

During the last week of session, the legislature sent dozens of bills to Governor Cooper for his signature. Since last Friday, July 8, he has signed 21 bills into law (including the State budget), vetoed four bills, and let one bill become law without his signature. The following are three education bills that were signed into law.

SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) was signed into S.L. 2022-59 on Friday, June 8, and includes language that is identical to a provision included in the State budget, which was signed into law on Monday, July 11. SB 671 does the following:

  • Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies, using the same number of maximum days allowed during the 2021-2022 school year
  • For the 2022-2023 school year,
    • Allows PSUs assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
    • Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan
  • Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, if a LEA provides virtual/remote instruction, it is required to be provided through a new type of remote academy
    • Each approved remote academy will receive a separate school code
    • Students can only be enrolled with parental consent
    • Lists requirements for these remote academies and remote academy plans
  • Extends the pilot program for the State’s two virtual charter schools from eight to 10 years, ending the pilot with the 2024-2025 school year
    • At the end of the pilot program, allows the two virtual charter schools to apply to the State Board of Education (SBE) for a charter renewal

Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 159: Education Law Changes was signed into S.L. 2022-71 on Friday, July 8. HB 159 makes various changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided the waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements.

HB 159 also requires all PSUs to submit a school threat assessment survey to DPI’s Center for Safer Schools by November 15, 2022. The language in this section was also included in the State budget that was signed into law on Monday, July 11. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 177: Extend Spiking Moratorium/LGERS Surety was signed into S.L. 2022-70 on Friday, July 8. HB 177 was requested by NCSBA and the State Treasurer’s Office. The bill extends the pension-spiking litigation pause and the report deadline established in a 2021 session law. It is our goal that the report will include recommendations from NCSBA, the State Treasurer’s Office, and other organizations that will reduce the number of pension spiking cases and lawsuits. The bill does not allow the Treasurer’s Office to intercept funds during the litigation pause that would have otherwise been directed to a LEA. Click here for an official bill summary.

For more information on the other bills that Governor Cooper took action on, click here and here to access press releases. The General Assembly is scheduled to return on July 26 for a couple of days. During this time, they could take votes on overriding some of the governor’s vetoes, or they may take no legislative action at all.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – July 15, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 8, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 8, 2022

 

Governor Roy Cooper has still not publicly indicated what he plans to do with the 2022-2023 fiscal year State budget that passed the legislature last week. He can either sign it, veto it, or take no action and let it become law after 10 days. Since the budget was presented to him on July 1, he has until July 11 to take action. For more on last week’s legislative action on the budget and what it includes for education, click here to access last week’s legislative update.

 

During the last week of session, the legislature sent dozens of bills to Governor Cooper, and yesterday he signed 11 of those bills into law, two of which include education provisions.

SB 496: DOI Omnibus Bill (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson; Tom McInnis, R-Richmond) was signed into SL 2022-46 on Thursday. Section 6 of this bill requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner of Insurance with a list of all its insurable buildings, equipment and contents of the buildings, and their insurance values by October 1 each year. Section 6 also requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner with copies of insurance policies when purchasing insurance from an authorized company.

SB 265: Bond Information Transparency/LGC Toolkit II (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan) was signed into SL 2022-53 on Thursday. SB 265 requires local governments to provide additional disclosures regarding bond referenda and requires more monitoring and oversight of local governments’ financial operations. Click here for an official bill summary.

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met for its monthly meeting on Thursday. The agenda was relatively light, and Board members heard brief presentations on compelling evidence for effective summer programing, which used data showing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on student performance to make recommendations for summer learning programs, and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) updated rules and schedule of fee sharing for playoff games. These NCHSAA updates follow the implementation of a 2021 session law and a memorandum of understanding that require more transparency from the NCHSAA. SBE general counsel, Allison Schafer, explained that the SBE is not tasked with approving the updated rules, but if the Board has any objections to the rules, it can share that with the NCHSAA and/or take a vote to invalidate rules.

The Board was also presented with the results of a dual enrollment opportunity study that was required by the 2021 State budget (Section 7.85). The study looked at the three pathways of the Career and College Promise (CCP) dual enrollment program: College Transfer, Career and Technical Education, and Cooperative Innovative High Schools. In the 2019-2020 school year, approximately 30% of all 12th graders participated in one the CCP pathways, and the presentation identified differences in disparities and equitable participation across the pathways. There was also discussion on factors contributing to CCP pathway access and success, including strong secondary-postsecondary education partnerships. DPI staff is preparing a policy proposal to address this necessary partnership for the August SBE meeting. Click here for the full report and click here for an executive summary of the report.

Prior to concluding the meeting, Board Chair Eric Davis stated that the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit has retired, and that school staff, students, and families should now refer to the CDC’s Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools for information concerning COVID-19. Chair Davis explained that while the Toolkit is no longer in effect, DHHS staff will continue to update and share supplemental materials with school leaders as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – July 8, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2022

 

In the midst of an extremely busy week of voting on bills and tying loose ends, both the House and Senate passed the State budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. The budget was presented in a conference report, which could not be amended, and passed the House 85-27 and the Senate 38-9.

The total General Fund allocation for the 2022-2023 fiscal year is $27.9 billion, which is said to be a 7.2% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year. For K-12 public education, the budget appropriates $11.3 billion, which is a 6.4% increase from the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The budget provides raises for all school staff, including teachers, noncertified personnel, and principals. While the average raise for teachers is 4.2%, teachers in their first five years of teaching will receive a range of raises from 7.2% to 6.1%, but teachers with 15 or more years of experience will (for the most part) not get more than a 2.7% raise. The budget also includes appropriations for school safety grants, school capital, and broadband expansion. For more information on education provisions included in the budget, click here to access NCSBA’s summaries.

Even though the budget received bipartisan support, both House and Senate Democrats criticized the budget for not utilizing more of the billions of dollars in surplus projected by the State Revenue Consensus Forecast in May. Concerns were also expressed about teacher pay, additional funds going towards the voucher program, and the lack of funding for the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. To the question of how much funding is in the budget for the Leandro Plan, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said, “We looked at what the requirements are for funding education in North Carolina, and we appropriated dollars to do that. How that matches up with what a nonprofit from California (WestEd) determined is an appropriate amount, I couldn’t say.”

Governor Roy Cooper has not yet publicly commented on this budget. Now that he has received the budget, the Governor can either sign it, veto it, or take no action and let it become law.

Click here for NCSBA’s summaries of the budget’s education provisions.

Click here for the education appropriations from the budget money report.

Click here for the budget bill (HB 103).

Click here for the full budget money report.

Click here for an article on the education provisions of the budget.

Click here for Senate leader Berger’s press release on the budget’s passage.

Click here for House Speaker Moore’s press release on the budget’s passage.

The Governmental Relations Team is working on a more in-depth summary of the budget’s education provisions, as well as education bills that have become law during this legislative biennium. We will share this summary with you in the coming weeks.

 

Both the House and Senate passed a joint resolution to adjourn today, July 1, and reconvene July 26, 2022. The resolution lists specific days each month through the rest of year that they will reconvene and adjourn, but it is unclear if there will be legislative action during each of these sessions. The resolution also lists matters that may be considered when the legislature reconvenes, including veto override votes. We will be sure to notify you if the legislature reconvenes and takes action on education issues.

Statewide Education Bills with Action This Week

The conference report for SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) was adopted by the House (81-27) and Senate (44-0) and presented to the Governor. Although the State budget, which has also been presented to the Governor, includes identical language to SB 671, the conference report for SB 671 was adopted and passed in case the Governor vetoes the budget. SB 671 does the following:

  • Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies, using the same number of maximum days allowed during the 2021-2022 school year
  • For the 2022-2023 school year,
    • Allows PSUs assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
    • Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan
  • Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, if a LEA provides virtual/remote instruction, it is required to be provided through a new type of remote academy
    • Each approved remote academy will receive a separate school code
    • Students can only be enrolled with parental consent
    • Lists requirements for these remote academies and remote academy plans
  • Extends the pilot program for the State’s two virtual charter schools from eight to 10 years, ending the pilot with the 2024-2025 school year
    • At the end of the pilot program, allows the two virtual charter schools to apply to the State Board of Education (SBE) for a charter renewal

This new version of SB 671 no longer includes an enrollment cap for the new remote academies. Additionally, the charter school language no longer allows charter school applications to include a request to be a remote academy or existing charter schools to convert to remote academies.

Click here for an official bill summary.

The conference report for HB 159: Education Law Changes was adopted by the House (102-5) and Senate (44-0) and presented to the Governor. The new version of the bill includes the requirement that all PSUs submit a school threat assessment survey to DPI’s Center for Safer Schools by November 15, 2022. This requirement is also included in the State budget but was included in HB 159 in case the Governor vetoes the budget.

HB 159 makes various changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided the waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 1173: Elect SBE Members/Super as Chair of SBE (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin) was approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and House Rules Committee and was also added to the House calendar twice to receive a vote but was withdrawn both times. This bill is a constitutional amendment that would require the election of State Board of Education (SBE) members and make the Superintendent of Public Instruction the chair of the SBE.

The SBE currently has 11 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly for eight-year terms (eight members are from each of the State’s education regions and three members are at-large). Currently, the State Superintendent is elected to a four-year term and is the Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the SBE.

This proposed constitutional amendment would require SBE members to be elected from each of North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts and serve four-year staggered terms. If HB 1173 becomes session law, which would require a 3/5 vote in each chamber, it will be on the ballot in November. Click here for an official bill summary. Click here for an article on HB 1173.

A conference report for SB 496: DOI Omnibus Bill.-AB (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson; Tom McInnis, R-Richmond) was adopted by the House (109-0) and Senate (43-0) and presented to the Governor. Section 6 of the bill requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner of Insurance with a list of all its insurable buildings, equipment and contents of the buildings, and their insurance values by October 1 each year. Section 6 also requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner with copies of insurance policies when purchasing insurance from an authorized company. Click here for an official bill summary.

SB 265: Bond Information Transparency/LGC Toolkit II (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan) passed the House 111-1, the Senate voted 47-0 to concur with House changes to the bill, and it has been presented to the Governor. SB 265 requires local governments to provide additional disclosures regarding bond referenda and requires more monitoring and oversight of local governments’ financial operations. Click here for an official bill summary.

SB 346: Extended Learning for Elective Courses (sponsored by Representative David Willis, R-Union) was approved by the House Education K-12 Committee and the House Rules Committee, passed the House 112-0, and was not voted on by the Senate for concurrence prior to adjournment. Prior to approval, the House Education K-12 Committee replaced the previous contents of the bill with a bill that authorizes local boards of education to adopt policies establishing requirements for granting elective course credit for certain alternative Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities. Click here for an official bill summary.

Retirement Bills with Action This Week

The House voted 106-0 to approve the Senate changes to HB 177: Extend Spiking Moratorium/LGERS Surety, and the bill has been presented to the Governor. HB 177 extends the pension-spiking litigation pause and the report deadline established in a 2021 session law. The report will include recommendations from NCSBA, the NC Department of the State Treasurer, and other organizations that will reduce the number of pension spiking cases and lawsuits. The bill does not allow the Treasurer’s Office to intercept funds during the litigation pause that would have otherwise been directed to a LEA. NCSBA supports HB 177. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 1056: Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022.-AB/SL 2022-14 (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Carson Smith, R-Pender) and HB 1058: Ret. & Treasury Tech. Corrections Act of 2022.-AB/SL 2022-16 (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill; Carson Smith) were both signed into session law by the Governor.

HB 1058 makes technical corrections and HB 1056 does the following:

  • Clarifies that the Local Government Commission can decline to review a LEA’s borrowing request under a guaranteed energy savings contract if the LEA did not submit procurement documents prior to sending out the request for proposal
  • Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), allows the Retirement System to correct errors for the “transfer benefit” to allow monies to be returned to supplemental retirement plans (the reversal would include lost earnings)
  • Makes changes related to the treatment of inactive employers and deadlines for reactivation under TSERS
  • Makes changes related to the establishment of a default option for employing units that fail to select an option for the transfer for remaining assets upon the discontinuation of the Department of State Treasurer-sponsored 403(b) plans
  • Makes changes related to the clarification of the eligibility for long-term disability benefits under TSERS

Official bill summaries: HB 1056 and HB 1058.

Local Education Bills with Action This Week

HB 995: Greensboro Deannex/Weldon City Bd of Ed Pay (primary sponsor: Representative Jon Hardister, R-Guilford) passed the Senate, was approved by the House on a concurrence vote, and was chaptered into SL 2022-33. The bill increases the compensation of the chair and members of the Weldon City Board of Education, allows the board to increase the monthly compensation of its members, and allows the board to establish an expense allowance for its members. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 982: Granville Board of Ed. Terms to Four Years (primary sponsor: Representative Terry Garrison, D-Vance) was modified and approved by the House Local Government Committee and referred to the House Rules Committee. The bill would change the terms for Granville County Board of Education members from six to four years, beginning with the 2024 election. Click here for an official bill summary.

NCSBA Bill Tracking Chart

Click here for a list of education bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.

 

President Joe Biden signed a bill into law that will extend free universal school meals through the summer. Federal school nutrition waivers were set to expire on June 30, 2022, but the Keep Kids Fed Act extended many of them. In addition to extending free student meals another three months, the Act also extends administrative and reimbursement flexibilities. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – July 1, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 24, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 24, 2022

 

During Thursday’s House session, Speaker Tim Moore stated that House and Senate budget leaders are in their final hours of negotiations. The budget adjustments are expected to be released and voted on next week. When the budget is released, it will be in a conference report, which means that it cannot be amended. We expect it to include salary increases, school safety provisions, and school capital funds. We will send out a legislative alert when the budget is released, highlighting key education provisions, followed by a more comprehensive summary in next Friday’s legislative update.

With the goal of wrapping of the legislative short session by July 1, we can expect next week to be busy at the legislature. The Senate is scheduled to start its week with a voting session on Monday at 7:00 pm. Speaker Moore said that he does not anticipate votes being taken in Monday’s House session, but if necessary, the House will also have a voting session at 7:00 pm.

Education Bill in Committee Next Week

HB 1173: Elect SBE Members/Super as Chair of SBE (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin) is scheduled to be heard in the House Education K-12 Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 28, at 1:00 pm (livestream). This bill is a constitutional amendment that would require the election of State Board of Education (SBE) members and make the Superintendent of Public Instruction the chair of the SBE.

The SBE currently has 11 members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly for eight-year terms (eight members are from each of the State’s education regions and three members are at-large). Currently, the State Superintendent is elected to a four-year term and is the Secretary and Chief Administrative Officer of the SBE.

This proposed constitutional amendment would require SBE members to be elected from each of North Carolina’s 14 congressional districts and serve four-year terms. If HB 1173 becomes session law, it will be on the ballot in November. Over the years, NCSBA has heard concerns from states with a similar structure/method as the one being proposed in this bill.

Statewide Education Bills with Action This Week

House conferees for SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) were appointed earlier this week and negotiations on a compromise bill are underway. The House conferees are Representatives Jefferey Elmore, R-Wilkes; Jason Saine, R-Lincoln; and John Torbett, R-Gaston. The Senate conferees are Senators Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga; and Don Davis, D-Pitt.

SB 671 contains virtual/remote instruction provisions, including, for the 2022-2023 school year,

  • Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies
  • Allows PSUs that were assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
  • Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan

The bill also creates a new type of remote academy for all PSUs, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 159: Education Law Changes (sponsored by Senator Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) failed to concur in the House, and House conferees were appointed: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes; and David Willis, R-Union. On the House floor, Representative Torbett explained that the House did not concur with HB 159 because it will become a K-12 education omnibus bill, and the House has several items it would like to add. The Governmental Relations team is working to find out what provisions will be added.

In its current form, HB 159 makes various “technical” changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided the waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements. Click here for an official bill summary.

SB 496: DOI Omnibus Bill.-AB (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson; Tom McInnis, R-Richmond) failed to concur in the Senate last week and House and Senate conferees were appointed. Section 6 of the bill requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner of Insurance with a list of all its insurable buildings, equipment and contents of the building, and their insurance values by October 1 each year. Section 6 also requires LEAs to provide the Commissioner with copies of insurance policies when purchasing insurance from an authorized company. Click here for an official bill summary.

Retirement Bills with Action This Week

HB 177: Extend Spiking Moratorium/LGERS Surety passed the Senate 37-0 and has been sent to the House for a concurrence vote. Prior to Senate approval, the Senate Pensions and Retirement Committee replaced the original contents of the bill with a bill that extends the pension-spiking litigation pause and the report deadline established in a 2021 session law. The report will include recommendations from NCSBA, the NC Department of the State Treasurer, and other organizations that will reduce the number of pension spiking cases and lawsuits. The bill does not allow the Treasurer’s Office to intercept funds during the litigation pause that would have otherwise been directed to a LEA. NCSBA supports HB 177. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 1056: Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Carson Smith, R-Pender) and HB 1058: Ret. & Treasury Tech. Corrections Act of 2022.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill; Carson Smith) both passed the Senate 37-0 and have been sent to the Governor for his signature.

HB 1058 makes technical corrections and HB 1056 does the following:

  • Clarifies that the Local Government Commission can decline to review a LEA’s borrowing request under a guaranteed energy savings contract if the LEA did not submit procurement documents prior to sending out the request for proposal
  • Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), allows the Retirement System to correct errors for the “transfer benefit” to allow monies to be returned to supplemental retirement plans (the reversal would include lost earnings)
  • Makes changes related to the treatment of inactive employers and deadlines for reactivation under TSERS
  • Makes changes related to the establishment of a default option for employing units that fail to select an option for the transfer for remaining assets upon the discontinuation of the Department of State Treasurer-sponsored 403(b) plans
  • Makes changes related to the clarification of the eligibility for long-term disability benefits under TSERS

Official bill summaries: HB 1056 and HB 1058.

Local Education Bills with Action This Week

HB 1169: Elect Thomasville City Schools Board Members (primary sponsor: Representative Sam Watford, R-Davidson) passed the House 103-0 and has been sent to the Senate. This bill would change the Thomasville City Schools Board of Education from appointed to (nonpartisan) elected members, beginning in 2023. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 995: Greensboro Deannex/Weldon City Bd of Ed Pay (primary sponsor: Representative Jon Hardister, R-Guilford) was modified and approved by the Senate Finance Committee and referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The modified version of the bill increases the compensation of the chair and members of the Weldon City Board of Education, allows the board to increase the monthly compensation of its members, and allows the board to establish an expense allowance for its members. Click here for an official bill summary.

NCSBA Bill Tracking Chart

Click here for a list of education bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.

 

Monday, June 27

5:30 pm – Senate Rules Committee – Legislative Building, rm 1027/1128 (livestream)

 

Tuesday, June 28

9:00 am – House Finance Committee – Legislative Offices Building – rm 643 (livestream)

1:00 pm – House Education K-12 Committee – Legislative Offices Building – rm 643 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – June 24, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 17, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 17, 2022

 

Budget Update

House and Senate leaders said that they plan to wrap up negotiations on the budget by next week, with votes expected sometime in the next two weeks. Once a budget agreement is met, House and Senate budget leaders plan to include Governor Roy Cooper in negotiations before publicly releasing the budget. When the budget is released, it will be in a conference report, which means that it cannot be amended. As we mentioned last week, we expect the budget to include pay increases and funding for school safety and capital projects.

Statewide Education Bills with Action This Week

SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) failed to concur in the Senate after passing the House on a 73-22 vote last week. The Senate members of the conference committee have been appointed: Senators Michael Lee, R-New Hanover; Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga; and Don Davis, D-Pitt. SB 671 contains virtual/remote instruction provisions, including, for the 2022-2023 school year,

  • Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies
  • Allows PSUs that were assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
  • Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan

The bill also creates a new type of remote academy for all PSUs, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. For more information on SB 671, click here to access last week’s legislative update. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 79: Clarify HS Insurance (sponsored by Senator Vicky Sawyer, R-Iredell) passed the Senate 45-0 and has been referred to the House Rules Committee prior to going to the House floor for a concurrence vote. HB 79 clarifies that PSUs must purchase catastrophic insurance for high school athletics and that PSUs have the option (instead of the requirement) to purchase this catastrophic insurance from the Commissioner of Insurance. It also requires the Commissioner of Insurance to offer accident insurance to PSUs. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 159: Education Law Changes (sponsored by Senator Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) passed the Senate 45-0 and has been referred to the House Rules Committee prior to going to the House floor for a concurrence vote. HB 159 makes various “technical” changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided the waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements. Click here for an official bill summary.

HB 169: State Health Plan Data Transparency.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Edward Goodwin, R-Chowan; Larry Potts, R-Davidson; Terence Everitt, D-Wake; Allison Dahle, D-Wake) passed the Senate 42-0 and has been sent back to the House for a concurrence vote. HB 169 allows the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees to access and utilize its own claims payment data while continuing to protect the confidentiality of the information. Click here for an official bill summary.

SB 265: Bond Information Transparency (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; Carl Ford, R-Rowan) was modified and approved by the House Local Government Committee and has been referred to the House Finance Committee. SB 265 requires local governments to provide additional disclosures regarding bond referenda and requires more monitoring and oversight of local governments’ financial operations. Click here for an official bill summary.

Local Education Bills with Action This Week

HB 993: School Calendar Flexibility/Stanly County (primary sponsor: Representative Wayne Sasser, R-Stanly) passed the House 97-3 and has been sent to the Senate. HB 993 would allow the opening date for Stanly County Schools to be no later than the Monday closest to August 15 (instead of the Monday closest to August 26).

HB 1162: Make Catawba Board of Ed. Elections Partisan (primary sponsors: Representatives Jay Adams, R-Catawba; Mitchell Setzer, R-Catawba) passed the House 63-40 and has been sent to the Senate. HB 1162 changes the elections of the Catawba County Board of Education, Newton-Conover City Board of Education, and Hickory Public Schools Board of Education from nonpartisan to partisan.

Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, Subcommittee on Interscholastic Athletics

The Subcommittee held a meeting on Thursday with State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis, Vice Chair Alan Duncan, and General Counsel Allison Schafer. Legislators asked various questions about the recently approved memorandums of understanding (MOU) for high school interscholastic athletics with the NC High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and the Carolina Athletic Association for Schools of Choice (CAASC). The MOUs are required under HB 91: Accountability and Fair Play in Athletics/SL 2021-184, which was a result of an investigation into the NCHSAA over the past few years concerning lack of transparency and accountability. They are effective July 1, 2022, and have four-year terms.

Some legislators continued to express concerns regarding NCHSAA’s financial transparency, as well as transparency around meetings of the NCHSAA. Since NCHSAA does not have to abide by the State’s open meetings law, legislators are worried that there will be continued lack of accountability to the public. Chair Davis assured legislators that the State Board will make sure that NCHSAA’s meetings are conducted in an open fashion, and if not, request additional legislation, if necessary. Click here to access all meeting materials, including the NCHSAA and CAASC MOUs, and click here for an article on the meeting.

 

The deadline to file bills was weeks ago, but there were still two more education bills filed this week.

Statewide Bill

HB 1173: Elect SBE Members/Super as Chair of SBE (primary sponsors: Representatives Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford; Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin) is a constitutional amendment that would require the election of State Board of Education (SBE) members and make the Superintendent of Public Instruction the chair of the SBE.

Local Bill

HB 1169: Elect Thomasville City Schools Board Members (primary sponsor: Representative Sam Watford, R-Davidson)

NCSBA Bill Tracking Chart

Click here for a list of education bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.

 

Following a school nutrition update during the State Board of Education’s (SBE) meeting on June 2, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt and SBE Chair Eric Davis sent the State’s U.S. senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, letters urging them to support federal legislation that would extend school nutrition waivers through September 2023. These waivers, which expire on June 30, 2022, have allowed free meals to be have provided to all children during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided increased reimbursement for school meals.

During the June SBE meeting, DPI’s Director of School Nutrition Services, Dr. Lynn Harvey, explained that local education leaders are bracing for increased food, supply, fuel, and labor costs when these waivers expire. Additional repercussions include a return to stigma experienced by children who receive free or reduced-price meals and an increase in students who are hungry.

The letters sent to Burr and Tillis explain, “The loss of these waivers will devastate school meal programs and threaten their sustainability. School meals will be jeopardized for thousands of North Carolina students who depend upon them as their primary source of food during the week.” Click here for an article on the letters.

 

Following the submission of roughly 3,500 applications for State Superintendent Catherine Truitt’s Parent Advisory Commission, the names of the 48 Commission members have been released. “This Commission is focused on giving parents a seat at the table and strengthening parent and family involvement in education,” Truitt said. “This commission is a consistent and routine way to ensure we are addressing challenges and improving outcomes for all of North Carolina’s students using feedback from those who know students best.

The Commission consists of six parents/guardians from each of the State’s eight education regions:

  • Two traditional public schools
  • One charter public school
  • One homeschool
  • One private school
  • One at-large public-school member from the largest county in each region, including: Buncombe, Catawba, Cumberland, Guilford, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Pitt, and Wake

Click here for DPI’s press release, which includes the list of members by region and school type, and click here for an article, which includes State Board of Education discussion about the Commission.

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – June 17, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 10, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 10, 2022

 

 

This week we saw our first real glimpse that this legislative short session might be nearing an end. When the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met on Wednesday, committee chair Senator Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga, said that it could be the last meeting of that committee during this session.

Additionally, on Tuesday, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, stated that the goal is for the House and Senate to reach a budget agreement by next Friday, June 17. Once a budget agreement is met, House and Senate budget leaders plan to include Governor Roy Cooper in negotiations before publicly releasing the budget. As a reminder, the budget will be introduced in a conference report, meaning that the budget could not be amended once it is released. Senior budget writers have kept a tight lid on budget details, even from other legislators, but we anticipate it will address pay increases, school safety, and capital projects.

Virtual Instruction Bill

SB 671: Virtual Educ./Remote Acad./Virtual Charters (sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) was introduced this week, passed the House 73-22, and has been sent to the Senate for a concurrence vote. The original contents of the bill were replaced with following:

  • Allows public school units (PSUs) to continue providing remote instruction for severe weather and other emergencies (removes June 30, 2022, expiration date)
  • For the 2022-2023 school year,
    • Allows PSUs assigned a separate school code by May 1, 2021, to continue providing virtual instruction
    • Allows PSUs that submitted a virtual instruction plan to DPI for the 2021-2022 school year to continue providing virtual instruction according to that plan (removes June 30, 2022, expiration date)
  • Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, requires all PSUs to provide virtual/remote instruction through a new type of remote academy
    • Each approved remote academy will receive a separate school code
    • LEAs cannot enroll more than 15% of the total student enrollment in remote academies
    • Students can only be accepted with parental consent
    • Lists requirements for these remote academies and the remote academy plans that must be approved by the State Board of Education
  • Allows charter school applications to include a request to be a remote academy and allows existing charter schools to convert to remote academies
  • Ends the pilot program for the State’s two virtual charter schools at the end of this 2021-2022 school year
    • Transitions each of them to a five-year contract, with eligibility for a 10-year renewal
    • Allows each school to increase enrollment up to 20%

Overall concerns about SB 671 include its lack of flexibility and optionality for LEAs to operate remote academies. It is also unclear why there is a 15% student enrollment cap on LEAs when parental consent for enrollment is required. Click here more on NCSBA’s stance on this issue.

Click here for an official bill summary. Click here for an article on the bill.

Additional Education Bills

HB 159: Education Law Changes (sponsored by Senator Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) was introduced during the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee meeting on Wednesday. The previous contents of the bill were replaced with a bill that makes various “technical” changes to education laws, including extending the principal licensure waiver from August 31, 2022, to August 31, 2024. This extension was a request of DPI based on a 2021 session law that provided this waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal and exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements.

HB 79: Clarify HS Insurance (sponsored by Senator Vicky Sawyer, R-Iredell) was also introduced during the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee meeting on Wednesday. The previous contents of the bill were replaced with a bill that clarifies that public school units (PSUs) must purchase catastrophic insurance for high school athletics. PSUs have the option (instead of the requirement) to purchase this catastrophic insurance from the Commissioner of Insurance. The bill requires the Commissioner of Insurance to also offer accident insurance to PSUs. Click here for an official bill summary.

Parents’ Bill of Rights

HB 755: Parents’ Bill of Rights (sponsored by Senators Phil Berger, R-Rockingham; Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) was sent to the House for a concurrence vote last week after passing the Senate on a 28-18 party-line vote. There has been no action on the bill this week.

NCSBA Bill Tracking Chart

Click here for a list of education-related bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.

 

Tuesday, June 14

9:30 am – Senate Rules Committee – Legislative Building, rm 1027/1128 (livestream)

1:00 pm – House Local Government Committee – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (livestream)

Thursday, June 16

9:00 am – Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, Subcommittee on Interscholastic Athletics – Auditorium, Legislative Building (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – June 10, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – June 3, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – June 3, 2022

 

Parents’ Bill of Rights

HB 755: Parents’ Bill of Rights (sponsored by Senators Phil Berger, R-Rockingham; Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga; Michael Lee, R-New Hanover) passed the Senate on a 28-18 party-line vote, with one Democrat joining Republicans in support of the bill. HB 755 has been sent to the House for a concurrence vote.

HB 755 is a 9-page bill that creates new rights for parents regarding their child’s education and lists numerous existing rights. The bill prohibits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3 curriculum and requires parents to be notified if their child chooses to change their name or pronouns or if they seek mental health services. Many of the parental rights and school requirements listed in the bill lack clarity, which will likely cause subjective interpretation and challenges with implementation.

Prior to the Senate vote, bill sponsors explained that HB 755 promotes parental involvement and control in their child’s education. On the Senate floor, Democrats voiced concerns about the bill, including the burden it will place on teachers, the harm it will do to LGBTQ+ students, and the potential economic impacts it could have on the State. Senator Michael Garrett, D-Guilford, promoted SB 860: Parents’ Bill of Rights, which is sponsored by himself and Senators Sydney Batch, D-Wake, and Toby Fitch, D-Wilson, and co-sponsored by the entire Senate Democratic caucus.

Click here for an article on the bill and its passage.

School Safety

On Wednesday, the House Education K-12 Committee heard a presentation on school safety from Karen Fairley, Executive Director of the NC Center for Safer Schools. At the start of the meeting, Committee Chair John Torbett, R-Gaston, stated the importance of updating the Committee and the public on what the State does to maintain safety in its public schools, following last week’s school shooting in Ulvade, Texas.

Highlights from the presentation include:

  • There was a total of 907 credible safety tips submitted to the State’s Say Something Anonymous Reporting System (SSARS) during the 2021-2022 school year
    • Highest on the list was planned school attacks, with 254 credible reports
    • Next was suicide/suicide ideation, with 185 credible reports
  • 98 school districts are actively using SSARS
    • School districts are required to have an anonymous reporting system, but it does not have to be SSARS
  • Roughly 33% of public schools have not submitted a School Risk Management Plan, which is required by State law

When asked about what type of funding the Center needs to advance its mission and vision, Fairley responded with funding for threat assessment teams, school resources officers, and school safety grants for equipment and staff trainings.

Click here for an article on the meeting.

Retirement Bill

HB 1056: Ret. & Treasury Admin. Changes Act of 2022.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives Allen McNeill, R-Randolph; Carson Smith, R-Pender) passed the House 112-0 and has been sent to the Senate. This bill does the following:

  • Clarifies that the Local Government Commission can decline to review a LEA’s borrowing request under a guaranteed energy savings contract if the LEA did not submit procurement documents prior to sending out the request for proposal
  • Under the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS), allows the Retirement System to correct errors for the “transfer benefit” to allow monies to be returned to supplemental retirement plans (the reversal would include lost earnings)
  • Makes changes related to the treatment of inactive employers and deadlines for reactivation under TSERS
  • Makes changes related to the establishment of a default option for employing units that fail to select an option for the transfer for remaining assets upon the discontinuation of the Department of State Treasurer-sponsored 403(b) plans
  • Makes changes related to the clarification of the eligibility for long-term disability benefits under TSERS

Click here for an official bill summary.

 

This week the State Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. Presentations to the Board included:

2022 Teacher Working Conditions Survey results: Board members were presented with these survey results and reminded that this is the first of two presentations, with a deeper data dive in October 2022. There was a record 91.96% participation rate in this year’s survey. Highlights of the survey results include:

  • School leadership is the top condition that affects willingness to continue teaching at a current school
  • 86% of teachers say they plan to remain teaching in NC and 90% of principals say they plan to remain as school administrators in NC
  • 57% of educators have spent up to half of their instruction time reteaching prior grade academic standards
  • The need for social/emotional learning is clearly evident across responses from teachers and principals
  • The top five issues of most concern are:
    1. Addressing disparities in student learning
    2. School staffing shortages
    3. Assessing student performance and needs
    4. Social/emotional support for students
    5. Health and safety of teachers and staff

Click here for highlighted results and click here for the presentation. Click here for all survey results, which include individual school results for 98% of schools (must reach the 40% response rate threshold). Click here for an article on the survey results.

School nutrition updates: The Board received updates from Dr. Lynn Harvey, DPI’s Director of School Nutrition Services. Dr. Harvey stated that the federal waivers that have allowed free meals to be provided to all children during the COVID-19 pandemic will expire on June 30, 2022. These waivers also provided increased reimbursement for school meals and flexibility in purchasing and contracts. Dr. Harvey explained that local leaders are bracing for the impacts of losing these waivers as food costs, supply costs, fuel costs, and labor costs continue to rise. Additional repercussions include the stigma experienced by children who receive free or reduced-price meals and an increase in students who are hungry. Board member Dr. Olivia Oxendine expressed concern about how students are legally required to attend school but are not provided with free meals while at school. She compared this to the fact that students are provided with free transportation to and from school.

Estimates of additional time needed for student recovery: DPI’s Office of Learning and Recovery (OLR) presented data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on public school units and students in a new light. The OLR took data on the effect sizes of the pandemic on student learning and translated that into school months needed for learning recovery, which can be viewed in this document. Presenters noted that this data does not consider learning that occurred during the 2021-2022 school year. This presentation was a part of the OLR’s Whitepaper Series, which unpacks the plethora of data on how students were impacted by the pandemic into focus points that are more easily understandable and can help district and school leaders combat the effects of the pandemic on student learning. Click here for an article on this data.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

On Wednesday, the State Supreme Court released an order saying that it will hear arguments on the transferring of $785 million to fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan during the week of August 29, 2022. The release of this order follows Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson’s finding that this amount of State funds is needed “to properly fund years two and three” of the eight-year Plan.

Robinson replaced Superior Court Judge David Lee earlier this year. After this replacement, the State Supreme Court ordered Robinson to review Lee’s November 10, 2021, order prior to the Leandro case coming before the Supreme Court. Lee’s order called for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Plan. Robinson amended Lee’s order to instead call for $785 million, following an analysis of how much the State budget, which passed on November 18, 2021, funds the Plan.

Click here for an article on the order that also includes background on the case.

 

The following is a list of education-related bills that were filed this week. We should not see any more bills filed, since the deadline to file bills has passed.

Local Bills

Click here for a list of education-related bills that NCSBA is tracking for this legislative biennium.

 

Tuesday, June 7

1:00 pm – House Local Government – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (livestream)

Wednesday, June 8

11:00 am – Senate Education/Higher Education – Legislative Offices Building, rm 544 (livestream)

 

 

 

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Rebekah Howard
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association
rhoward@ncsba.org

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – June 3, 2022
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