Legislative Updates & Alerts

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 22, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 22, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

NCDHHS has reported 21,618 positive cases for COVID-19 and 728 deaths from COVID-19 in all 100 counties (up from 17,129 cases and 641 deaths in 99 counties last week). Click here to access the DHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus. Additionally, NCSBA has been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

 

This Week at the Legislature

Both the House and Senate returned to somewhat of a normal week at the legislature. Committee meetings and voting sessions were held, and although it was the last week for meetings of the House Select Committee on COVID-19, working groups did not meet. Senate Leader Phil Berger announced that he plans for the Senate to be in session no longer than four to six weeks but is aware that the coronavirus could change those plans.

Despite the current circumstances, the NCSBA Governmental Relations team is still monitoring committee action, tracking education-related bills, and maintaining contact with legislators, as well as SBE staff and the Governor’s education team. Additionally, the GR team has been closely watching SB 719: Retirement Protection Act to ensure that changes to rule making are not retroactive.

On Monday, May 18 House Speaker Tim Moore expressed his interest in considering a bond referendum that would fund K-12 construction. This announcement follows the filing of HB 1088: Invest in NC Bond Act of 2020 last week, which the Speaker stated he was previously not aware of. Also this week, NCSBA initiated a meeting with school capital coalition partners.

On Tuesday, May 19 the House and Senate passed a joint resolution extending the bill filing deadline for budget-related bills to 4:00 pm on Tuesday, May 26. Senator Berger announced in a press conference that he expects budget losses to be as high as $4 billion due to lack of tax revenues. Legislative staff and the state budget office are expected to release consensus revenue numbers later today.

One bill to note that was filed this week that could affect districts’ budgets for the upcoming fiscal year is SB 809: Salary-Related Contrib/Debt Service Funds, which increases the State’s employer contribution rates budgeted for retirement for teachers and State employees from 14.36% to 14.78%.

The following education-related bills were introduced this week:

HB 1153: Iredell-Statesville Bd. of Ed/Election Method

SB 793: Expand Local Option Sales Tax for Education (HB 1113)

SB 794: Nash Bd. of Ed. Name Change

SB 800: Law Enforcement & Teacher Protection Act

SB 809: Salary-Related Contrib/Debt Service Funds

SB 818: Funds to DPI for ADM Growth

SB 819: Authorize Teacher-Gov’t Em’pee Housing/Bertie (SB 8)

The following education-related bills had legislative action this week:

HB 1079: Various Sales Tax Changes – passed the House and placed on the Senate calendar for Tuesday, May 26

SB 719: Retirement Protection Act – approved by the Senate Pensions and Retirement and Aging Committee and referred to the Senate Rules Committee

 

State Board of Education Meeting – May 21

The State Board of Education met for a called meeting on Thursday, May 21. Board members addressed the following:

State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced to the Board that LEAs will be able to choose which K-3 reading diagnostic tool they would like to use for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. Superintendent Johnson stated that DPI is preparing a list of reading diagnostic tools and an allotment policy to be brought before the Board for approval.

Remote Instruction Plan: The Board approved a new SBE policy requiring LEAs and charter schools to develop and submit a Remote Instruction Plan (RI Plan) for the 2020-21 school year no later than July 20, 2020. This policy is in response to SB 704: COVID-19 Recovery Act (SL 2020-3). The original policy includes 13 components for response, but Board members voted to add an additional component concerning response to needs of English learners, Academically and/or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) learners, and students identified as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. Per request of school districts, Board members also voted to include a component allowing districts to describe limitations preventing implementation of quality remote learning. The policy and RI Plan will be presented to school districts through a webinar on June 2.

Teacher licensure, evaluation, and education policy: Dr. Tomberlin, DPI Director of Educator Recruitment and Support, presented SBE policy revisions, including requirements for EPP admissions, clinical internships, and school administration prep programs. The revisions come from SB 704: COVID-19 Recovery Act (SL 2020-3). Dr. Tomberlin noted a few considerations for the Board, including potential issues for current Emergency License holders seeking a Residential License. Although EPP admissions requirements have been waived by state statute, many EPPs have not waived requirements because of the impact on accreditation. Dr. Tomberlin stated that DPI currently does not have a solution for mandating EPPs to accept candidates. Click here for a full list of policy revisions.

Board members approved one revision to the NC Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual. Section 16.3 was revised to align with Section 4.23(a) of SB 704: COVID-19 Recovery Act (SL 2020-3), which reduces the waiting period from six months to one month for TSERS retirees who retired on or after October 10, 2019 but before April 1, 2020 to return to work. DPI staff clarified that public schools wishing to utilize this exception should contact the NC Retirement System, not DPI.

The SBE approved an extension to the State of Emergency Leave policy until June 15, 2020. An additional revision was made to the policy to clarify that school district employees whose work calendars end before June 15 are not entitled to emergency leave for days that they were not expected to work.

The Board approved provisions and allotments for the distribution of the $75 million in CARES Act funds allocated to school nutrition through HB 1043: 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act (SL 2020-4). Dr. Lynn Harvey, DPI Director of School Nutrition and District Operations, stated that the USDA has confirmed the SBE’s use of the federal funds for meal distribution to students.

Board members approved policy and allotment amendments regarding use of federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds authorized by the CARES Act. Newly opened and significantly expanded charter schools are now eligible for a portion of funds.

Click here for all meeting materials.

 

Governor’s Press Releases

 

May 26-29 Legislative Meeting Calendar

Tuesday, May 26

2:00 pm – Senate: Commerce and Insurance – Legislative Offices Building, rm 643 (audio)

3:00 pm – House: State and Local Government – Legislative Building, rm 1228/1327 (audio)

 

Wednesday, May 26

11:00 am – Senate: Education/Higher Education – Legislative Building, rm 1027/1128 (audio)

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 22, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 15, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 15, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

NCDHHS has reported 17,129 positive cases for COVID-19 and 641 deaths from COVID-19 in 99 counties (up from 13,868 cases and 527 deaths last week). Click here to access the NCDHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus. Additionally, NCSBA has been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

 

This Week at the Legislature

Several interim study committees met this week, including the Working Groups of the House Select Committee on COVID-19. Session will reconvene on Monday, May 18, as House and Senate members have been in their home districts for the past two weeks.

Thursday, May 14 was the filing deadline for non-local bills for the 2020 short session. For a list of education-related bills that were filed, see the “Education Bills” section below.

House Select Committee on COVID-19, Education Working Group

The Education Working Group met on Thursday, May 14. The agenda consisted of presentations on public health considerations on reopening schools for the 2020-21 school year, school nutrition, and school connectivity and the homework gap.

Public Health Considerations on Reopening Schools – Dr. David Stegall, DPI Deputy Superintendent of Innovation, Dr. Beverly Emory, DPI Deputy Superintendent of District Support, and Susan Gale Perry, DHHS Chief Deputy Secretary, presented the following:

  • A draft of a high-level framework to reopen schools – the framework is a collaboration of stakeholders, DPI and DHHS work groups, and the Governor’s office (see slide 2)
  • Four approaches needed to reopen schools
    1. Increase social distancing, including:
      • Place desks six feet apart
      • Reduce class size
      • Stagger school hours or alternate days/weeks for students
      • Eat meals in classrooms
      • Limit group activities
    2. Implement hygiene protocols, including:
      • Minimize use of shared supplies
      • Incorporate handwashing breaks
      • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting
      • Recommend cloth face coverings
    3. Monitor staff and student health, including:
      • Daily symptom screening at school entrance
      • Accommodate high-risk staff
      • Have plans for removing sick students
      • Ensure access to school nurse services
      • Appropriate PPE for school nurses/health personnel
    4. Provide education, including:
      • Post signage for reminders of physical distancing
      • Communicate with families
      • Train staff on COVID-19 strategies

The CDC has also released guidance on reopening schools. Click here and here for these additional resources.

School Nutrition Operations – Dr. Lynn Harvey, DPI Director of School Nutrition and District Operations, presented the following:

  • DPI is currently operating under 21 federal waivers from the USDA
  • Additional funding is needed to continue the current meal program that transports meals to students using school buses – elimination of school buses will reduce meals from roughly 500,000/day to 125,000-150,000/day
  • DPI is seeking a state appropriation to cover the $7.6 million/week budget shortfall to continue providing the current expanded meal program through the summer – the goal is to not transition to the summer meal program, citing the congregate setting as a primary reason
  • Currently 75 of the 115 school districts are providing pay incentives to essential school nutrition personnel
  • DPI is proposing that the $75 million in federal funds allotted through HB 1043 be based on the same proportion of funds as if districts were reimbursed by school meal receipts and federal funds – SBE will consider the allotment at its meeting on Thursday, May 21
    • Working Group chairs requested a follow up about the SBE decision on the allotment and allotment policy

School Connectivity and the Homework Gap – Jeff Sural, Department of Information Technology (DIT) Director of Broadband Infrastructure Office, presented the following:

  • DIT and the Friday Institute have created a survey tool in hopes of identifying every household in the state who does not have connectivity
  • DIT is providing support and guidance to LEAs and DPI on convenience contracts and how to negotiate prices for cell service, hot spots, tablets, laptops, etc.
  • To date, there have been 180 wifi rangers for buses delivered to 36 counties
  • Representatives Corbin (Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Macon) and Hanig (Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico) emphasized their ongoing concern that remote learning is not feasible in their districts because of lack of broadband access and support

 

Sales Tax Bill

On Wednesday, May 13 the Revenue Laws Study Committee approved a bill for introduction in the 2020 Short Session entitled “Various Sales Tax Changes”. Part III of the bill affects K-12 education as follows (from bill summary by legislative attorney Trina Griffin):

  • Clarifies that the delivery of instruction or training by a public or private K-12 school to an enrolled student or as part of vocational training, regardless of whether it is conducted online in a live or pre-recorded format, is a nontaxable “educational service” and is not the sale of digital property.
  • Exempts sales of audio works or audiovisual works to operators of home schools if the work is a qualifying educational expense under G.S. 115C-595(a)(3).
  • Exempts sales of digital audio works or digital audiovisual works that consist of nontaxable service content when the transfer occurs contemporaneously and in real-time with the provision of the nontaxable service. Examples would include an exercise class, a music lesson, or a financial planning seminar live streamed via Zoom. However, pre-recorded or on-demand webinars would be taxable like any other video.
  • This bill is effective retroactively to October 1, 2019.

The bill was filed as SB 718 by Senator Newton, R-Cabarrus on May 13 and as HB 1079 by Representatives Howard, R-Davie; Ross, R-Alamance; Setzer, R-Catawba; and Szoka, R-Cumberland on May 14.

 

Education Bills

HB 1046: COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

HB 1047: Educ. Changes for Military-Connected Students (SB 706)

HB 1050: PED/Low-Performing School Districts (SB 725)

HB 1056: WC/COVID-19/Cover Essential Workers

HB 1057: WC/COVID-19 Front Line Coverage/Funds

HB 1069: Retirement Technical Corrections Act of 2020

HB 1071: State/Federal Funds for School Connectivity

HB 1074: Omitted Membership Service/TSERS/LGERS

HB 1079: Various Sales Tax Changes (SB 718)

HB 1084: Bob Jordan Teaching Fellows Restoration Act

HB 1085: Front Line State Employee Hazard Pay/Funds (SB 740)

HB 1088: Invest NC Bond Act of 2020

HB 1105: COVID/Supplementary G.R.E.A.T. Grant Period

HB 1113: Expand Local Option Sales Tax for Education

HB 1116: Enhancing Accessibility to Teacher Prof. Dev.

HB 1122: Provide Affordable Broadband Access to NC

HB 1123: Study of Retention of K-12 Teachers

HB 1126: Enabling Opportunity Scholarship Reporting

HB 1129: Ensure a Sound Basic Education 

HB 1130: Invest in a Sound Basic Education

HB 1131: Teacher Pipeline Development

HB 1132: Study on K-12 Student Retention

HB 1139: Local Boards of Education Budget Flexibility

HB 1146: Prof. Teachers & Admins. Accountability Act

HB 1148: Restore Master’s Pay for Certain Teachers

SB 706: Educ. Changes for Military-Connected Students (HB 1047)

SB 711: Eligibility Changes for Opp Scholarships

SB 718: Various Sales Tax Changes (HB 1079)

SB 724: PED Oversight/EPP Changes (HB 107)

SB 725: PED/Low-Performing School Districts (HB 1050)

SB 740: Front Line State Employee Hazard Pay/Funds (HB 1085)

SB 747: $15/Hour Min. Pay for Noncert. Sch. Employees

SB 749: RO Filling Stations for New Hanover Schools

SB 764: CTE Pilot for Guilford Co. Schools

SB 765: Education Omnibus

SB 766: Rebuild a Better NC Bond Act

SB 769: Municipal Broadband Expansion

SB 771: Restore Educational Sales Tax Holiday

SB 787: Restores Master’s Pay for Teachers

SB 791: Funds for NC Pre-K

 

Governor’s Press Releases

  • On Thursday, May 14 Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina’s key COVID-19 indicators prove that the state remains stable after transitioning into Phase 1 last Friday.

 

From NSBA – HEROES Act

On Tuesday, May 12 the House introduced HR 6800: Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which would provide the following:

  • $58 billion for K-12 education distributed to LEAs based on the Title I formula
  • $5 billion authorized for the E-Rate program, but only $1.5 billion appropriated

HR 6800 addresses non-binding guidance that would have required LEAs to determine the amount of CARES Act funds spent on private school students based on total enrollments. NSBA sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos explaining how this guidance disregards the requirement that CARES Act funds, specifically Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, are allocated to LEAs based on Title I funding for the most recent fiscal year. HR 6800 changes the allocation for private school students to be based on Title I funding and includes language intended to prevent the Secretary from altering future allocation guidance.

Before the introduction of HR 6800, NSBA had requested $200 billion for K-12 education:

  • $175 billion to the states
  • $13 billion to IDEA
  • $12 billion to Title I

Additionally, NSBA had requested $4 billion in E-Rate funding.

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 15, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 8, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 8, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

NCDHHS has reported 13,868 positive cases for COVID-19 in 99 counties, and 527 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the NCDHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus. Additionally, NCSBA has been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

 

This Week at the Legislature

On Monday, May 4 the NCSBA Governmental Relations team released a summary of the K-12 education sections of the COVID-19 session laws. Click here to access the summary.

Both the House and Senate did not hold sessions or committee meetings this week. The Education Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 is scheduled to virtually meet next Thursday, May 14 at 2:00 pm.

Workers’ Compensation Bills Filed

Several bills have been filed in the General Assembly addressing COVID-19 and Workers’ Compensation. NCSBA wants to call one of these bills to your attention.

HB 1057: WC/COVID-19 Front Line Coverage/Funds sponsored by Representatives Jackson (D-Wake), Boles (R-Moore), Setzer (R-Catawba), and R. Smith (D-Wayne) includes, unlike the other bills filed, extending workers’ compensation coverage to employees required to work during a pandemic for a business declared essential by executive order of the Governor or by order of a local governmental authority, including food service, retail, and other essential personnel. The Governor’s executive order includes K-12 public schools as an essential business for purposes of facilitating remote learning.

The bill adds pandemics to the list of reasons a worker can make a claim for workers’ compensation and places the burden of proof on the employer to demonstrate that the employee did not contract the associated disease while working. Specifically, the bill states that a “pandemic infection contracted by a covered person shall be presumed to be due to exposure in the course of the covered person’s employment.” The bill defines a covered person as “an employee required to work during a pandemic for a business declared essential by executive order of the Governor…”

While NCSBA is extremely supportive of all the efforts of school employees during this time,  this would create a very difficult if not impossible standard for school districts to deal with since COVID-19 is a virus that can be contracted in numerous ways and not necessarily while working. There is already coverage under the Workers’ Compensation Act that provides a fair opportunity for an employee diagnosed with COVID-19 to make a claim for benefits. It states that diseases shall be deemed to be an occupational disease “which is proven to be due to causes and conditions which are characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade, occupation or employment…” Meaning, the employee just has to prove that it’s more likely than not that COVID-19 was contracted at work. Shifting the burden of proof on these claims to the employer will create additional and substantial costs to school districts, either paying the claims directly for those who are self-insured, paying an increased number of deductibles, and/or increased coverage premiums, if coverage is attainable.

NCSBA sent an email to the bill sponsors yesterday and will be sending a similar email to all members of the General Assembly no later than Monday. There is also a coalition of primarily business interests that has formed to work on this issue, which NCSBA has joined.

NCSBA School Technology Video Campaign

Please continue to support NCSBA’s efforts as we work with state leaders to produce a multi-year payment plan for school technology. Click here to access our two videos highlighting the current need for school technology and the General Assembly’s responsibility in addressing the issue.

 

State Board of Education Meeting – May 6 & 7

The State Board of Education met for their monthly meeting this week. Board members addressed the following:

  • Changes to the NC Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual
  • 2019-20 high school senior grading/graduation policies
  • CARES Act funding

The Board approved revisions made to the NC Public Schools Benefits and Employment Policy Manual. Click here to view the changes, which affect sick leave, teacher contracts, earnings cap, and rehiring high-need teachers.

Board discussion centered around the possibility of reversing previous Board action that implemented a pass/withdrawal grading system for seniors’ spring course grades, which differs from students in grades 9-11 who have the option of choosing to receive a numeric grade or a pass/withdrawal grade. DPI staff stated that their initial goals with this policy were to focus on students’ graduation from a statewide perspective and support the mental health of graduating seniors. Pushback came from Board members who supported giving students the option to receive a numeric grade or a pass/withdrawal grade for their spring courses. Other members and advisors expressed concern that this change might place a burden on school districts, teachers who have not been maintaining numeric grades, and students who have graduated early. The Board ultimately voted to maintain the current policy.

The Board approved policy amendments regarding the use of federal Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. ESSER fund allocations are made to school districts, charter, lab, regional, and innovative schools based on Title I, Part A funds received in the most recent fiscal year. Click here to see the estimated minimum allotments.

Click here for all meeting materials.

 

Following last week’s release of an audit of DPI’s handling of federal grants, State Auditor Beth Wood stated that DPI will have to repay $18 million in federal money. Click here to access an article about the $18 million mistake.

 

Governor’s Press Releases

  • On May 6
    • Governor Cooper announced appointments to the DRIVE Task Force, which focuses on matters of equity and inclusion within education. NC State Board of Education member and Hertford County school board member Wendell Hall, who also serves on both the NCSBA and NCSBAC Board of Directors, was appointed to the Task Force.
    • Governor Cooper reported that additional school busses will be used to provide internet access to students in underserved areas as they continue to participate in online school.
  • On May 5 Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 138, which modifies the stay at home order and makes Phase 1 of easing COVID-19 restrictions effective Friday, May 8 at 5:00 pm.
  • On May 4
  • On May 2 Governor Cooper shared a statement applauding the legislature’s passage of COVID-19 relief bills.

 

  

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 8, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Alert – COVID-19 Legislation Summary

NCSBA Legislative Alert – COVID-19 Legislation Summary

On Saturday, May 2 the House and the Senate voted to approve two pieces of COVID-19 legislation, which were signed into session law by Governor Cooper today.

HB 1043: 2020 COVID-19 Recovery Act (Session Law 2020-4)
SB 704: COVID-19 Recovery Act (Session Law 2020-3)

NCSBA’s Governmental Relations team prepared a summary of each bill’s K-12 education sections. Click here to view the summary. Some provisions we want to call attention to are:

  • Section 2.1(6) of SB 704 (SL 2020-3) provides a new definition of “year-round school” for the 2020-21 school year, which allows for an exception to the August 17, 2020 start date in Section 2.11.(b). Local school boards that have published a 2020-21 year-round school calendar should review this new definition with their school board attorney.
  • Section 2.11 of SB 704 (SL 2020-3) lays out new requirements for the 2020-21 school calendar, including the development of a Remote Instruction Plan, a required additional five full instructional days from the already adopted calendar, five days that must be used for remote instruction, and the authority to start as early as August 17. One of the requirements of the Remote Instruction Plan requires that students with disabilities have equal access to remote instruction. You may want to consult with your board attorney who handles special education issues in developing this part of the plan.
  • Section 4.31 of SB 704 (SL 2020-3) establishes procedures for holding remote meetings, including a requirement that all persons subject to a quasi-judicial hearing consent to the meeting being held remotely. The NCSBA Legal Department is working on revisions to the NCSBA sample policy on remote meetings and is also drafting a policy for districts that do not currently use panels for quasi-judicial hearings to implement them when under a declaration of emergency. We suggest that you consult your board attorney before issuing any notices of remote quasi-judicial hearings to consider how to frame the consent. You may wish to go ahead and notify the person that if they do not consent to the hearing being held remotely that the hearing will be conducted in person.

 

The following sections were not included in the final versions of the legislation:

  • Delay K-3 Class Size Reduction/Adjust Program Enhancement Teacher Allotment Funding
    • Would have delayed the K-3 class size reduction requirement for one school year and reduced corresponding funding for program enhancement teacher positions for the 2020-21 fiscal year
  • Carryforward of Drivers Education Funds
    • Would have required that unexpended driver’s education funds not be reverted at the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year, but remain available until the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year
  • Budget Flexibility
    • Would have increased flexibility for local boards of education to transfer funds from one allotment category to another within certain limitations for the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 fiscal years
  • Intent of the General Assembly to refrain from using school growth scores from the 2019-20 school year to determine principal salaries form the 2020-21 fiscal year

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Alert – COVID-19 Legislation Summary
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 1, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 1, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

NCDHHS has reported 10,923 positive cases for COVID-19 in 98 counties, and 399 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the NCDHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus. Additionally, NCSBA has been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

 

This Week at the Legislature

The General Assembly convened on Tuesday, April 28 for the 2020 legislative short session. Both chambers passed bills in response to the coronavirus, HB 1043: Pandemic Response Act and SB 704: COVID-19 Recovery Act. House Speaker Tim Moore announced during today’s House session that House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on all money items, which will total close to $1.6 billion, but policy items are still being reconciled. One of the big bones of contention is over Medicaid expansion. Speaker Moore anticipates the approval COVID-19 legislation on Saturday, May 2. He also stated that, following legislation approval, the House will go home to work remotely for a few weeks.

House Bill 1043: Pandemic Response Act

  • Primary Sponsors: Representatives Bell, R-Wayne; Jackson, D-Wake; Lewis, R-Harnett
  • $1.7 billion
  • $291.7 million for K-12 schools

Senate Bill 704: COVID-19 Recovery Act

 

Policy items included in HB 1043, but not in SB 704:

  • SBE required to report recommendations for alternative interventions to summer instruction for at-risk students and students recommended for additional support (pg. 9)
  • Budget flexibility for local boards of education to transfer funds from one allotment category to another within certain limitations for the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 fiscal years (pgs. 14-15)
  • Delay K-3 class size reduction/adjust program enhancement teacher allotment funding (pgs. 15-16)
  • Allows unexpended funds for drivers education from the 2019-20 fiscal year to remain available until the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year (pg. 69)
  • Temporarily removes barriers to allow retirees of TSERS to return to work on a part-time, temporary, or interim basis during state of emergency related to COVID-19 (pgs. 77-78)

Click here for a chart comparison of K-12 education components of both bills.

 

State Board of Education Meeting – April 30

The State Board of Education met in a called meeting on Thursday, April 30. Board members addressed the following:

Board members approved additional emergency sick leave for public school employees, which was initially presented at the March 27 meeting. The approval extends the policy through May 31, 2020. It was noted that the policy may be readdressed in future weeks. Without adding additional changes to the policy, some Board members requested that DPI strongly encourage LEAs to provide remote working opportunities for noncertified employees.

Board members reviewed DPI’s completed certification and agreement for funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. It appears that disbursements will be based on 2019-20 Title I allocations. The SBE will take action on approving this item at its monthly meeting next week.

Board members were presented with an update on the State’s K-3 literacy diagnostic. The Board was told that the most recent contract with Istation, which maintains all collected data but does not gather new data for the next three months, remains in effect, but the three-year Istation contract that was signed last year has been terminated. The Superintendent stated that DPI will be working closely with the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and plans to establish a new contract before the start of the 2020-21 school year, per Read to Achieve requirements. Following the update, a testy exchange occurred between Board members and the Superintendent about the process, timeline, and panel members. The Superintendent acknowledged the questions and stated that his team is still in the initial steps of the process.

Board members approved a response letter to an audit by the NC State Auditor that was released on Wednesday. Findings include:

  • Fiscal monitoring results not communicated timely
  • Inadequate award communication
  • Ineffective monitoring of several federal programs including Title I spending
  • Errors in reported state per pupil expenditures

Click here to read more about the findings and DPI’s response to the findings. The SBE’s response letter states that it plans to support and monitor DPI’s efforts in improvement, noting the DPI has “many outstanding employees who provide great service…in supporting the education of our children.” The late addition of the letter to the SBE agenda led to heated remarks from the Superintendent to the Board.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced the creation of the Schools Reopening Task Force (SRTF). The Superintendent stated that all action so far has been reactive to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the goal of SRTF is to be proactive. We would like to note that Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools board member Dana Caudill Jones is a member of the task force.

Click here for all meeting materials.

Click here for more coverage of the meeting and exchanges between Board members.

 

Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group

The Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group met on Thursday, April 30. The following was presented.

Goals for Reopening Schools

  • Increase social distancing
  • Implement hygiene protocols
  • Monitor workforce and student health
  • Protect vulnerable populations
  • Provide education to build awareness and combat misinformation

Click here for more on the draft plan for reopening schools. DPI and DHHS are requesting feedback on these preliminary goals, which can be sent to David Stegall at david.stegall@dpi.nc.gov. There is not a hard deadline for feedback, but the Working Group will be meeting again on Thursday, May 14.

Hope4Healers (919-226-2002) Updates

  • Helpline expanded to childcare staff, in addition to health care professionals, first responders, etc.
  • Equipped with 24/7 call line support, allowing callers to speak to a live person
  • Partnership with NC Psychological Foundation

Access to Internet

  • Received $75,000 in donations to purchase up to 280 Wi-Fi hotspots for buses to help bring Wi-Fi to communities in need – from AT&T, Duke Energy, and Google
  • Districts to receive these hotspots were identified and have been notified this week by Regional Case Managers

 

Governor’s Press Releases

 

U.S. Secretary of Education Report on IDEA Waiver Authority

On Monday, April 27 U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released a recommended waiver report under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. NSBA reported that the Secretary did not recommend Congress to pass additional waiver authority concerning the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). NSBA sent the Secretary a letter describing the challenges school districts are experiencing in providing FAPE to children with disabilities pursuant to IDEA, which were not addressed in her recommended waiver report. NSBA stated that it is committed to working with Congress to provide temporary flexibility and additional funding for IDEA in the wake of this pandemic.

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 1, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 24, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 24, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

Breaking News: Governor Roy Cooper just announced at a 2:00 pm press conference that public school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year. On Thursday, April 23 Governor Cooper extended North Carolina’s stay at home order through May 8 and released a three-stage plan for reopening North Carolina.

NCDHHS has reported 8,052 positive cases for COVID-19 in 93 counties, and 269 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the NCDHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus. Additionally, NCSBA has been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

 

New NCSBA Video/Marketing Campaign for School Technology

We are less than a week away from what is anticipated to be an unpredictable and bizarre legislative short session, which will begin with lobbyists and the public prohibited from the legislative buildings until at least May 8. One of the things we have learned from schools shutting down statewide is that additional funding is needed for school technology. Yesterday, the SBE/DPI requested $146 million dollars for remote teaching and digital learning resources.

School technology has been a top priority for local school boards and other public education advocates for years, particularly since the courts ruled in 2008 that various state agencies unconstitutionally diverted almost $750 million dollars away from school technology for nearly ten years. Since that judgment, the State has only paid back $18 million, or 2.5%, of the amount owed.

Now is the time for state leaders to develop a responsible multi-year plan to invest in school technology and pay down the judgment. To bring attention to this important issue, NCSBA developed two videos, a new webpage, and is kicking off a social media marketing campaign to inform parents, educators, lawmakers, business leaders, and the general public. Here is the link to the webpage with both videos: https://www.ncsbac.org/support-student-access-to-school-technology/.

Please show your support by sharing the videos/webpage through social media and rallying your communities to reach out to legislators.

 

From the House Select Committee on COVID-19

The Education Working Group met at 2:00 pm on Thursday, April 23. The Working Group unanimously voted to adopt the Education Omnibus/COVID-19 bill. Click here to view a bill summary, which highlights sections, such as school calendar, that have been added to the bill since last week. New bill sections include:

  • Section 3.8 School Calendar and Attendance – Will allow public school units to begin the school year as early as August 17, 2020. Expresses the GA’s intent to provide two weeks of supplementary jump start instruction in August 2020 for at-risk students and those recommended for additional support, which was requested by the SBE and DPI.
  • Section 4.1 Budget Flexibility – Provides increased flexibility for local boards of education to transfer funds from one allotment category to another within certain limitations for the 2019-20 and the 2020-21 fiscal years.
  • Section 4.2 Delay K-3 Class Size Reduction/Adjust Program Enhancement Teacher Allotment – Delays the K-3 class size reduction requirement for one school year and reduces corresponding funding for program enhancement teacher positions for FY 2020-21.
  • Section 5.2 Intent of General Assembly on 2019-2020 School Growth Scores and Principal Salaries – Expresses intent of the GA to refrain from using 2019-20 school growth score data for the 2020-21 Principal Salary Schedule. Data may be used from the 2018-19 school year or earlier.

It was stated that Working Group chairs will resolve any differences with Senate members concerning the bill prior to the General Assembly’s convening on Tuesday, April 28.

The Working Group was also  presented with K-12 budget requests from DPI and SBE. These budget requests were presented for discussion only, and no votes were taken. K-12 budget requests include:

  • School nutrition services
  • Supplemental pay for child nutrition and transportation employees
  • Remote learning resources
  • Exceptional children services
  • Cybersecurity infrastructure and services
  • Re-entry resources for student physical and mental health
  • Jump Start/Summer Bridge program

The K-12 budget requests totaled $377,096,215. Click here to see dollar amounts for each request.

 

The Continuity of State Operations Working Group met at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 21 and 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 23. The Working Group reviewed and amended a draft bill entitled “COVID-19 Time Sensitive Matters”. Bill sections that may be of interest to school boards are as follows:

  • Section 13.5 Carryforward of Drivers Education Funds – Unexpended and unencumbered Drivers Education funds from FY 2019-20 shall not revert but remain available until the end of FY 2020-21. This section was added to the draft bill by an amendment from Representative Torbett.
  • Section 21 Temporarily Remove Barriers to Allow Retirees of TSERS and LGERS to Return to Work on a Part-Time, Temporary, or Interim Basis During State of Emergency Related to COVID-19 – Will temporarily change the six month separation requirement for Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) retirees to a one month separation and applies to individuals retiring on or after October 1, 2019 but before April 1, 2020. Temporarily lifts the earnings caps for TSERS and Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS) retirees from March 10, 2020 until expiration. Representative McNeil had prepared (but did not run) an amendment that would tie the hiring of retirees before six months to a specific COVID-19 issue. It is expected that this will be addressed in the Pensions and Retirement Committee, as the bill moves through the legislative process.
  • Section 27 Remote Participation in Open Meetings – Amends the Emergency Management Act to specifically authorize official meetings of public bodies to be conducted via remote, simultaneous communication during periods of declarations of emergency for public health reasons. Representative Harrison added an amendment to require a telephonic option for remote meetings that are simultaneously streamed live online.

The provision outlines specific requirements for conducting remote meetings and allowing public access. If a quasi-judicial hearing is held remotely, it requires all persons subject to the hearing to consent to it being held remotely. NCBSA believes that this requirement is problematic, given the prescriptive timelines in statute for many of the hearings held by local boards of education. We are working with the legislature to try to alleviate potential problems.

The amended bill was adopted by a unanimous vote and forwarded to the April 28 session. Chairman Bell said further amendments would be considered next week during the session, including adding back a section on agency regulatory relief that was deleted from Thursday’s draft bill.

 

The Economic Support Working Group met at 10:00 am on Tuesday, April 21. The Working Group heard a presentation from Jeff Sural, Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office in the Department of Information Technology (DIT). Sural reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that 94.8% of NC households have access to broadband, but only 78.3% of NC households have subscribed to broadband service (2017/18 Census data). It is estimated that 197,139 households with children lack internet access. DIT and DPI estimate that at least 100,000 hotspots are needed to provide student internet access. Sural provided the Working Group with maps of broadband availability and adoption (use of service) across the State. To find free or affordable high speed internet service or public Wi-Fi access locations, use the DIT website: ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband. At the conclusion of the presentation, Representative Szoka stated that the COVID-19 crisis has shown that “high speed broadband service is more infrastructure than optional service” and that there is a role for government to work with industries providing service.

 

The General Assembly will convene for its 2020 legislative short session at 12:00 pm on Tuesday, April 28.

 

From the State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met at 10:00 am on Thursday, April 23. The Board approved the following:

DPI released guidance instructing public schools to not attempt to complete the 2019-20 educator evaluation process online because (1) the evaluation tool is not equipped for online observation, and (2) there is currently variability in teachers’ access to online instruction training. Because of these circumstances, DPI advised the Board to adopt certain actions regarding teacher evaluations. Click here to read the five recommended actions. Board members discussed releasing more information and clarification regarding the recommended action that states that “SBE and NCDPI will use the most recent, valid summative rating for any teacher who did not receive a summative evaluation in the 2019-2020 school year.” There was concern that progress made over the 2019-20 school year may not be accounted for in teachers’ ratings.

Much discussion centered around the application of the final version of the statewide grading policy presented by DPI staff. The grading policy will allow students in grades 9-11 to choose between receiving a numeric grade or Pass(PC19)/Withdrawal(WC19) for each final course grade. Students will make this decision at the end of the semester after being advised by their teacher/school, in consultation with their parent/guardian. Numeric grades will be calculated into the cumulative GPA, while PC19/WC19 grades will not impact GPA. Additionally, the grading policy states that students in grades K-5 will receive no final grade, students in grades 6-8 will receive PC19/WC19 final course grades, and no student will receive a failing grade.

Click here for all meeting materials.

Click here to view State Board of Education statutory modification recommendations to the General Assembly.

 

From the Governor

Governor’s Press Releases

  • On April 24 Governor Cooper announced that public school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year.
  • On April 23 Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 135, which extends the stay at home order through May 8 and continues restrictions on mass gatherings, social distancing, and visitation at long term care facilities.
  • On April 20
    • Governor Cooper announced North Carolina’s approval for the new Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program, which will provide more than 800,000 children with additional food benefits.
    • Governor Cooper participated on a call with Vice President Pence and other governors and gave an update on the work of the NC’s Testing Surge Workgroup.
  • On April 17 Governor Cooper announced NCDHHS’s partnership with state academic partners to examine and understand COVID-19 cases with mild or no symptoms.

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Alert – April 24, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 17, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 17, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team continues to follow action being taken by local, state, and federal government in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). NCSBA has also been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

NC DHHS has reported 5,859 positive cases for COVID-19 in 93 counties, and 152 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the NCDHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus.

 

From the House Select Committee on COVID-19

The Education Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Thursday, April 16. The meeting began with review of statutes related to K-12 funding flexibility and K-3 class size issues.

  • K-3 Class Size Reductions
    • Delay the current phase for K-3 class size reductions and program enhancement funding for LEAs by one year
  • LEA Funding Flexibility
    • For the remainder of the 2019-20 school year and the 2020-21 school year, allow LEAs funding flexibility similar to what was permitted in 2013 by prohibiting transfers only from the career and technical education, students with disabilities, and Read to Achieve allotments, and allowing flexibility to transfer from all other allotments
    • For the 2020-21 school year, allow LEAs flexibility to use textbooks allotment to purchase digital learning devices
  • Principal Salaries
    • If the 2020-21 salary scale includes a higher rate of pay based on growth, use growth data up to the 2018-19 school year to control principal salaries through the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year, and do not use any data from the 2019-20 school year

If local school board members have opinions in support of or opposition to these statute modifications, it is important that they communicate with their legislative delegation.

Working Group members were also presented with a 9-page omnibus draft bill, which is a consolidation of last week’s education issues that require immediate attention. The draft legislation was presented for discussion only. There were no amendments and no votes. It was indicated that K-3 class size reductions, LEA funding flexibility, principal salaries, and other concerns will be added to the draft bill. Click here to access the draft bill summary to see the issues addressed. The Education Working Group was told by the chairs that it will be voting on a comprehensive education bill next week. It was also announced that the chairs would be discussing potential changes to the school calendar.

Click here to view a list of statutes that the Education Working Group has recommended to be modified in the upcoming short session.

 

The Continuity of State Operations Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 14.  The Working Group reviewed a chart of potential legislative actions submitted by state agencies, local government associations, and the committee co-chairs. On pages 3 and 4 of the chart, the following proposals for clarifying the Open Meetings law (Chapter 143, Article 33C) are listed:

  • Clarify authority to meet remotely – full council, other board meetings, public hearings
  • Flexibility with open meeting laws and remote participation
  • Public meeting/public hearing requirements – consideration of some virtual options

 

From the State Board of Education

The State Board of Education met at 12:30 pm on Thursday, April 16 for an emergency meeting. The following legislative requests were approved:

The Board also discussed approval of SBE policy modifications in response to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It was indicated that the U.S. Department of Education has not clearly stated whether the 2019-20 or 2018-19 ADM numbers are to be used for allotment distribution. The estimate linked below is based on the 2019-20 ADM, so please note that this could change before being finalized.

During discussion of the CARES Act funding, State Superintendent Mark Johnson notified the Board of an SBE request sent to the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) on Wednesday, April 15 for $250 million in coronavirus relief. Superintendent Johnson stated that the Board did not know about the request before it was sent by Chairman Eric Davis on the Board’s behalf. Chairman Davis responded by saying that the request will be discussed at a future meeting. Four Board members confirmed their lack of knowledge of the $250 million OSBM request and asked to be sent a copy.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

Click here to view State Board of Education statutory modification recommendations to the General Assembly.

 

From the Governor

Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group

The Governor’s Education & Nutrition Working Group held a meeting on Thursday, April 16. The following information was presented.

Mental Health Resources

  • Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463)
    • Connects North Carolinians to mental health and resilience supports
    • Available 24/7 to speak with a live person
  • Hope4Healers Helpline (919-226-2002)
    • Provides mental health and resilience supports for health care professionals, emergency medical specialists, first responders, other staff who work in health care settings, and their families
    • Currently a reach-out/follow-up model – working towards more immediate contact

Resources

 

Governor’s Press Releases

 

Additional Resources

NSBA Efforts

The following excerpt was published in NSBA’s weekly newsletter on April 10.

“NSBA joined a number of other national K-12 groups in asking Congress to provide an additional $200 billion for K-12 education relief to help offset declining local and state revenues and meet other related student and school needs through Title I, IDEA, and the E-rate program. We intend to continue urging Congress to provide these needed resources as part of the next emergency bill, but the request may not be considered until the CARES Act’s emergency K-12 funds are distributed by the Department of Education to state and local education agencies.”

 

North Carolina 2020 Census Tracker

Carolina Demography has been tracking North Carolina response rates to the 2020 Census. As of April 12:

  • North Carolina’s national rank of census responses is 36 out of 50 states and DC, which is a one rank increase from the previous week
  • 9% of North Carolina households have completed the census, which is below the national average of 47.9%

We ask that local school board members highlight this information to constituents, noting that federal funding, including education funding, relies on this data. The links below contain information about the week ending on April 12.

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Alert – April 17, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 9, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 9, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team continues to follow action being taken by local, state, and federal government in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). NCSBA has also been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

DHHS has reported 3,651 positive cases for COVID-19 in 91 counties, and 65 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the DHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the state’s response to the coronavirus.

From the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction

The SBE held an emergency conference call meeting at 2:30 pm on Thursday, April 9. Agenda items included:

The SBE approved waiver requests to the General Assembly regarding assessments, assessment-related identification and decisions, school grades and report cards, and assessment-related pay. Click here to see the full list of SBE/DPI waiver requests to the General Assembly.

The SBE also approved the development and implementation of a transportation funding formula that will protect school districts from a reduction in their 2020-21 transportation allotments when being compared to the 2019-20 levels.

The state’s contract extension with Istation requires Istation to “preserve and maintain (1) all systems created pursuant to the State’s June 7, 2019 Contract with Istation and (2) all data generated on Istation by the State, its constituent education units, educators, and students between June 7, 2019 and March 31, 2020”. The contract is extended until June 30, 2020 and will cost a total of $243,310. Under the contract, there will be no state-level Istation data collected, but individual school districts and schools can create contracts with Istation for continued use of formative assessments. This Board-approved contract is much different than the prior proposal, which would have continued state-level assessments until July 31, 2020 and cost a total of $1,178,142. Click here to access a draft statement regarding the SBE’s approval of this contract extension.

Click here to access all meeting materials, including additional recommendations and actions taken in response to COVID-19.

 

From the NC General Assembly – House Select Committee on COVID-19

The Education Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Thursday, April 9. Legislative staff presented statutory requirements in four areas that may require legislative action as a result of COVID-19’s impact on our state. Click on the links below to see a description of the concerns, whether legislative action is needed, and the chairs’ recommendations. The presentation was for discussion only; no votes were taken.

Highlights of Graduation and Testing Recommendations

  • For 2020, waive CPR requirement for graduating seniors
  • Waive requirements for K-3 formative/diagnostic tests not yet completed for 2019-20 school year
  • Waive requirement to administer WorkKeys for the spring 2020 semester
  • Waive school performance scores and grades for 2019-20 school year
  • Continue current identifications of low-performing schools based on 2018-19 data
  • No school selected to enter the ISD in 2020-21 school year
    • Exempt 2019-20 data from three-year cycle assessment – data will include 2018-19, 2020-21, 2021-22 school years
  • Allow principals to make 2019-20 third-grade promotion decisions in the same way as other grades
  • Waive reading camps in 2020 but require reading assessments for all fourth-grade students in 2020-21 school year
  • Waive Read to Achieve reporting requirements for 2019-20 school year
  • Eligibility for principal recruitment bonuses in 2020-21 will be based off of 2018-19 data
  • No action is needed to address teacher reading and math bonuses, as well as bonuses for teachers in AP, IB, AICE, and CTE, because there was no budget passed to fund them
  • Advanced math placement, which is statutorily based on EOC/EOG scores, will instead be made in the same manner as other courses in 2020-21 school year

 

The Continuity of State Operations Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, April 7. Charles Perusse, Director of the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM), gave an update on the fiscal and economic status of the state.

OSBM Actions

  • Moved agency funding allotments from quarterly to monthly during April, May, and June
  • Closely monitoring cash management – the state is currently in good condition
  • Have not imposed any hiring restrictions on state agencies
  • Provided spending flexibility to agencies that depend on receipts
  • Tracking expenditures and lost revenues to be reimbursed with federal funds

Federal Funds

  • Enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) = $13 million to $15 million per week (estimated $700 million per year)
  • Coronavirus Relief Fund = $4.07 billion for state and local governments
  • Disaster Relief Fund = not yet known
  • Education Stabilization Fund = $849 million for K-12 and higher education (no distribution formula yet)

Economic Outlook

  • Expect GDP to contract slightly in Q1 and substantially in Q2, become flat in Q3, and recover in Q4
  • Expect 10% unemployment by the end of 2020 (unofficially, could go as high as 13%)
  • A consensus forecast with the legislative economists will be published by mid-May
  • The delay in income and franchise tax payments to July 15 will shift revenue from this fiscal year to next fiscal year
  • There will be revenue loss in sales taxes and income taxes from business closures

Short Session

  • Before COVID-19, the fund balance at the end of FY 2019-20 was estimated to be $2.3 billion – after COVID-19, the estimated fund balance is unknown
  • Revenue loss and COVID-19 expenditures will be offset by an estimated $2.2 billion from the Coronavirus Relief Fund and $330 million from Enhanced FMAP for FY 2019-20

 

From the Governor

The Governor’s office asked that NCSBA share the following document with our members: Promotional Toolkit – NCDHHS Child Care, Meal Sites & Educational Resources. The document encourages you to share this with parents and families.

Governor’s Press Releases and Executive Orders

  • On April 9 Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 131, which increases requirements and recommendations for social distancing, strengthens long-term care facility rules, and eases the process of filing unemployment insurance claims.
  • On April 8
    • Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 130, which provides emergency statewide expansion of hospital services, hospital beds, emergency childcare services, healthcare personnel, and access to telehealth.
    • Governor Cooper announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted the state approval to provide North Carolinians who need to quarantine in response to the coronavirus with housing alternatives, such as dorms, hotels, and trailers.
  • On April 7 Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 129, which gives flexibility for law enforcement training schedules during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • On April 6 a group of North Carolina experts released a model providing guidance and estimates concerning the state’s current social distancing measures.

 

Additional Resources

Message from Governor Bev Perdue

Former NC Governor and public-school teacher, Bev Perdue, wrote an op-ed piece calling for the state to follow the lead of teachers who continue to adjust to online teaching and learning. Governor Perdue states that inequities are currently at the forefront, and technology is not only essential now but will continue to be essential for all students following this pandemic. Click here to read the full article.

Please remember that North Carolina still owes school districts $730 million in school technology funds per a 2008 fines and forfeitures court judgement.

 

John Locke Foundation Online Education Discussion

On Monday, April 6 the John Locke Foundation hosted a virtual discussion about COVID-19 and online education. Lauren Acome, Head of NC Virtual Academy (a K-12 charter school with 2,700 students from 97 counties), and Catherine Truitt, the Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Chancellor of Western Governors University NC, were both part of the discussion.

The conversation centered around modernization and innovation of teaching in K-12 public schools. Acome explained that schools need to embrace technology and digital learning and gave advice on how parents can help their students during this time of online learning: create a schedule, designate a workspace, set daily and weekly goals, have students show parents work, and be patient with the online process. Truitt expressed the need for equal access to internet and devices, as well as the use of technology for individualized learning. To read more and to watch the discussion, click here.

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Alert – April 9, 2020
read more
NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 3, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Alert – April 3, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team continues to follow action being taken by local, state, and federal government in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). NCSBA has also been updating its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

DHHS has reported 2,093 positive cases for COVID-19 in 86 counties, and 19 deaths from COVID-19 in North Carolina. Click here to access the DHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the State’s response to the coronavirus.

From the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction

The SBE held its monthly Board meeting on Thursday, April 2. While there were presentations about the state’s response to the coronavirus, the SBE also received updates from each Board committee. Click here to access the meeting agenda and materials.

DPI staff presented its COVID-19 Accountability Workgroup Report, which contains state statutes and SBE policies that the group identified as requiring consideration or action based on the approval of NC’s waiver request of assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019-20 school year. The approved waiver would affect:

  • Read to Achieve program
  • Principal and teacher bonuses based on growth and test scores
  • ACT administration
  • CTE testing
  • Identification of qualifying schools for the Innovative School District
  • SBE policy requiring that students’ scores on EOCs or NC Final Exams count toward at least 20% of their final grade
  • State statutes requiring use of EOG/EOC test scores or individual student scores for student placement recommendations

The SBE was also presented with teacher bonus reports, which will be submitted to the General Assembly. Dr. Tomberlin of DPI noted the following two takeaways from the Fourth and Fifth Grade Reading Teacher Bonus Report and the Fourth through Eighth Grade Math Teacher Bonus Report:

  1. There are high percentages of teachers in small NC districts earning reading and math bonuses this year (can be found on Table 1 of both reports), which other districts can learn from
  2. Teachers who earn the bonus have much lower attrition rates than those who don’t earn the bonus

 

Last week the SBE approved a distribution model for the $50 million of flexible funding directed by Governor Cooper to public schools. The model allocates 50% of the $50 million based on the percentage of low wealth students and 50% of the $50 million based on ADM. Click here to see what each LEA and charter school will receive based on low wealth and ADM.

 

From the Governor

Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group

The Governor’s Education & Nutrition Working Group held its third meeting on Thursday, April 2. The following information was presented.

Access to safe, affordable childcare and out-of-school time care options

  • As of April 1, ~3,800 providers applied to remain open (about 66% of facilities)
  • Received ~1,600 calls to date and connected 996 families with care for 1,200 children
  • Launched an enhanced referral process to encourage that a family will get a response of a confirmed opening within 3 hours
  • Financial assistance available in April and May for essential workers whose income is below 300% FPL and who attest to having no other childcare options
  • About 9 LEAs are currently operating at least one site in their district and 9 are planning to start operating

 

Access to nutritious food while schools and childcare programs are closed

  • In the last week, 3 million meals were served by ~1,000 meal sites (average of 611,000 meals a day)
  • USDA approved several additional waivers:
    • Allow parental/guardian pick-up of meals in Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and School Nutrition programs
    • CACFP waivers related to monitoring – working group is continuing to approve submitted plans from CACFP institutions to exercise flexibility
    • Allow non-area eligible sites to be approved based on emerging demographics around business closure and unemployment
    • SNAP emergency max monthly allotments for March and April

 

Access to structured learning while schools and childcare programs are closed

  • Over the past two weeks:
    • 125,792 page views on DPI’s remote learning website
    • 9,442 participants in virtual remote learning professional development
    • 1,300 hotspots/devices distributed to students
  • The UNC-TV and DPI partnership “soft” launched on Monday – UNC-TV airing blocks of instructional programming by grade level on the NC channel and online
  • Aggregating the remote learning survey results and will communicate with districts and partners our “next steps” as a result of the feedback
  • Working with the Friday Institute to provide video support to teachers on topics, such as how to support social and emotional learning and children with disabilities
  • Teachers needing additional support can be matched up to mentors/coaches

 

If you have concerns about these issues that you would like the Working Group to address, please email Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org.

 

Governor’s Press Releases and Executive Orders

  • On March 31 Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 124. The order prohibits utility disconnections; provides guidance about restrictions on evictions; and urges telecommunications providers, banks, and mortgage servicers to provide customers with assistance and flexibility.
  • On March 30 the Governor signed Executive Order 123, which extends the NC Early Childhood Advisory Council.
  • On March 30 Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 122, which calls for the transfer of state property to aid healthcare workers, local governments, and schools.
    • By request, surplus property including computers owned by the state may be requested by governments and school districts, and the state will supply them to try to bridge the digital divide during school closures.”
  • On March 29 Governor Cooper announced that the first payments of COVID-19 unemployment benefits will be paid this week.

Governor Roy Cooper’s statewide stay at home order that was issued on Friday, March 27 in Executive Order 121 began at 5:00 pm on Monday, March 30 and will remain in effect until April 29.

 

From the NC General Assembly – House Select Committee on COVID-19

The Education Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Thursday, April 2. The agenda consisted of presentations from the NC Independent Colleges & Universities, the University of North Carolina System, and North Carolina Community Colleges.

Dr. Hope Williams, President of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities,  reported the following:

  • Student teaching and counselor interns and students in pre-internship field experiences cannot complete their required weeks
  • Students seeking admission to education preparation programs (EPPs) in fall 2020 cannot take the required Praxis Core test
  • Students seeking admission into EPPs in fall 2020 may not have the required 2.7 GPA, since most spring 2020 classes have become pass/fail
  • Legislative Requests:
    • Waiver of the legislated number of weeks required for student teaching and counselor internships, and for pre-internship field experiences, for spring and summer 2020
    • Waiver of Praxis Core test for EPP admission for the 2020-21 academic year
    • Waiver of the 2.7 individual and 3.0 cohort GPA for students entering EPPs in the 2020-21 academic year
    • Delay implementation of sanctions on EPPs by one year

 

Dr. William Roper, Interim President of the University of North Carolina System, requested the following:

  • Regulatory flexibility for ed prep programs
  • Waive state retirement 6-month break in service requirement for health care and education workers to reenter workforce

 

The Continuity of State Operations Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 2:00 pm on Tuesday, March 31. Amber Harris, Director of Governmental Relations for the NC Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), spoke to the committee about the challenges faced by counties during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her presentation was taken from a March 31 memo to the State Operations Working Group written by NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard. The key points of the memo for school boards are as follows:

  • Open Meetings Laws – The law is not clear about mechanisms to vote remotely and allow public comment and participation.
  • Internet Access – Because a large amount of public school children already lack access to reliable internet, “counties want to help the private sector build permanent or temporary infrastructure to get their internet services to the school children who now have to work from home.”
    • Erin Wynia, Chief Legislative Counsel for the NC League of Municipalities, told the Committee that broadband access could be increased with the passage of the FIBER NC act.
  • County Budget Impact – Counties will experience great difficulty in balancing their budgets for fiscal year 2020-21.
    •  “Sales tax makes up 14-20% of a county’s budget. The economic impact of COVID-19 will likely severely reduce sales tax revenues, and the full impact is unknown.” Counties received $2.3 billion in sales tax revenue in fiscal year 2018-19.
    • “At a time when counties will most need property tax revenue to provide mandated services, many will relax collection efforts on delinquent bills and may adjust property tax rates in response to the crisis.”
    • Although water and sewer services are necessary during this crisis, counties cannot endure the budget loss that will be caused by suspension of disconnection for nonpaying customers.
  • Budget Timelines
    • “Counties will need flexibility for budget deadlines and audit ramifications imposed under the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act.”
    • “While GS 115C-429 requires the local board of education to submit its entire budget to the board of county commissioners by May 15, there will be uncertainty in the timing and what to include in the budget. The county will, in turn, be challenged to know its full revenue picture and may be unable to pay for all of the local board of education’s needs and requests.”

 

The Economic Support Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 10:00 am on Tuesday, March 31. One presentation that may be of interest to education nonprofits was delivered by Thomas Stith, North Carolina District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Mr. Stith reported on programs that assist small businesses that have closed or reduced operations due to COVID-19. Mr. Stith’s presentation highlighted the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program that is available to small businesses, including private nonprofit organizations. To receive these loans, a business must:

  • Have a credit history acceptable to SBA
  • Have the ability to repay the loan (this will be determined by SBA)
  • Provide collateral if the loan is over $25,000

A small business or nonprofit can borrow up to $2 million in a 30-year loan, and the interest rate would be 2.75% for nonprofits. The loan funds can be used for payroll, fixed debts, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid if not for disaster (in this case COVID-19). While applying for a loan and awaiting payment, the small business or nonprofit can apply for an Emergency Economic Injury Grant of up to $10,000. This grant does not have to be repaid.

 

Also during the meeting, the NC Travel Industry Association stated that it is in strong opposition to allowing an early start to school in August to make up for classroom time that is being lost because of the coronavirus. Executive Director Vince Chelena explained that “This would be a second wave of destruction to hit our coastal communities…If this were to happen, it’s game over for family-owned and small businesses.”

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Alert – April 3, 2020
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NCSBA Legislative Alert – March 27, 2020

NCSBA Legislative Alert – March 27, 2020

The Fight Against the Coronavirus

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team continues to follow action being taken by local, state, and federal government in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Click here to access last week’s alert containing vital actions that had been taken thus far. NCSBA also continues to update its webpage containing information and resources about the coronavirus.

During a Friday afternoon press conference, Governor Roy Cooper issued a statewide stay at home order that will begin on Monday, March 30 at 5:00 pm and will remain in effect for 30 days.

NCSBA encourages school board members to communicate with their legislative delegation and representative on the State Board of Education during this extended period of uncertainty and statewide school closures. It’s critical for them to hear from the locally elected education policy makers about the challenges facing your districts and the immediate needs to help students, staff, families, and administrators successfully get through this difficult period.

From the State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction

The SBE held conference call meetings on March 23 and March 27. During the March 23 meeting, Board members unanimously approved the submission of a one-year waiver of federal student assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019-2020 school year from the U.S. Department of Education, which was then submitted by DPI and later approved.

Topics discussed during the March 27 meeting include:

  • Grading guidance recommendations
  • Approval of an amendment to the state’s contract with Istation
  • Options for distributing the $50 million allotment directed to public schools by Governor Cooper
  • State of Emergency Leave policy

DPI presented guidance on remote grading and learning, which is broken up into grades K-5, grades 6-11, and grades 12-13. The document also includes DPI recommendations for SBE policy amendments and a plan to graduate the class of 2020. Regarding 2020 graduation, the following guidance will be used:

  • Students will receive grades for fall courses as already stored, and those grades will count toward GPA – for year-long courses, the fall term grade will be counted toward GPA
  • Students will receive a Pass or Withdrawal for spring courses based on their learning as of March 13 (the last day before remote learning began)
  • If a student has an F as of March 13, the district/school shall provide opportunities for the student to improve to a passing grade
  • If an Occupational Course of Study (OCS) student completes 157 of the 225 hours of “paid work hours” graduation requirement, the student will receive a Pass

Most discussion centered around the approval of an amendment to extend the state’s contract with Istation. The current contract expires on March 31, 2020 and the new contract would begin April 1 and terminate on July 31, 2020. While Vice Chair Alan Duncan initially suggested that the Board vote to table the issue until clarity is given from the NC General Assembly on what waivers will be granted regarding Read to Achieve (RtA), Superintendent Mark Johnson was persistent in the passage of the amendment. Johnson reassured Board members of his efforts to be completely transparent and explained that Istation agreed to provide remote learning curriculum during this time free-of-charge (the current contract is only for Istation’s diagnostic tool). He also emphasized that the contract with Istation can be terminated at any time, that the state has a four-term payment schedule with Istation rather than a lump-sum payment, and that these state funds are required to be used for RtA and cannot be diverted elsewhere. Dr. Tara Galloway of DPI also noted the large increase of Istation users since students began remote learning. Istation is not only being used as a diagnostic tool but also a curriculum provider. Ultimately, the Board voted 8-2 to approve the tabling of an Istation contract extension until the General Assembly is given the option to consider a waiver.

The Board was also presented with three models of how to distribute the $50 million flexible funding directed by Governor Cooper to public schools. The three models are:

  • 50% of the funds are distributed based on the number of poverty children per the Title I Low Income poverty data. The remaining funds are distributed based on allotted ADM.
  • 50% of the funds are distributed based on ADM multiplied by a low wealth percentage, and 50% of the funds are distributed based on allotted ADM.
  • The number of poverty children per the Title I Low Income poverty data and 50% of the funds are distributed based on ADM multiplied by a low wealth percentage.

The Board voted to approve the model that distributes 50% based on the percentage of low wealth students and 50% based on ADM.

The final item on the Board’s agenda was a State of Emergency Leave policy. The goal of this policy is to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 and to protect the health of public school employees. The policy designates mandatory, “high risk”, and non-mandatory employees and lists reasons for each type of employee to use paid State of Emergency Leave. Up to 168 hours of State of Emergency Leave may be granted by employers during the month of April. Part-time employees with irregular schedules will receive a pro-rated share of the 168 hours. Additionally, up to 96 hours of State of Emergency Leave are available for all employees who requested leave during the school closure period of March 16 – March 31, 2020 for reasons listed in the policy. The policy is available to public school employees from April 1 to April 30, 2020 but may be extended by the SBE.

Click here to access all Board meeting materials.

 

From the NC General Assembly

House Select Committee on COVID-19

The Education Working Group of the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met at 1:00 pm on Thursday, March 26.

The Select Committee first heard from Geoff Coltrane, Senior Education Advisor to Governor Cooper, who discussed action taken by the Governor thus far in addressing the impact of the coronavirus on K-12 public schools. The Select Committee was also presented with actions taken by the SBE and DPI. Much of the information provided in these presentations has been covered in their respective sections of this week’s and last week’s Legislative Alerts.

Some additional points that were made include:

  • The $50 million flexible funding allotment that Governor Cooper directed to public schools on March 24 includes charter schools
  • Over 9,000 individual teachers have registered for DPI’s remote learning training
  • With only 35% of LEAs responding, there are 875 teachers that have reported not having internet access due to lack of broadband

Click here to access the presentations.

The Select Committee also heard from Brian Gwyn of the Legislative Analysis Division who discussed how state statutes are affected by the cancellation of EOGs and EOCs. Although General Assembly action was not required to cancel these assessments, action will be required to amend statutes that rely on usage of testing data. Click here to access Mr. Gwyn’s presentation that notes the affected state statutes. Mr. Gwyn noted that this list of statutes is a work in progress.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

The House Select Committee on COVID-19 invites submission of public comments. Click here to submit comments.

The General Assembly is still set to convene in the 2020 short session on Tuesday, April 28. Click here to access the General Assembly’s webpage concerning the coronavirus.

 

From the Governor and the Department of Health and Human Services

  • On March 20
    • Governor Cooper issued a press release announcing his letter sent to President Trump on March 18 requesting food insecurity and health insurance waivers for North Carolinians.
    • Governor Cooper’s administration extended the state tax deadline to July 15, however, interest will still be charged for payments received after April 15.
    • Governor Cooper sent North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation a letter sharing federal funding priorities.
  • On March 21 the Governor announced the signing of Executive Order 119 on March 20. The press release highlights provisions waiving childcare restrictions and DMV registration requirements.
  • On March 23
  • On March 24
    • Governor Cooper directed $50 million to schools for teaching and feeding students during COVID-19.
    • Governor Cooper issued a press release announcing his letter sent to President Trump on March 22 requesting a major disaster declaration for North Carolina, which would provide more individual assistance.
  • On March 25 DHHS reported the first COVID-19 associated deaths.
  • On March 26 Governor Cooper issued a press release stating that his request for a federal disaster declaration for COVID-19 had been granted.
  • On March 27
    • The Governor announced that parents can text “FOODNC” (or “COMIDA” for Spanish speakers) to 877-877 to find nearby free meal sites for children who need food assistance.
    • Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 121, which places North Carolina under a stay at home order, effective Monday, March 30 at 5:00 pm for 30 days.

 

DHHS has reported 763 positive cases and 3 deaths from the coronavirus in North Carolina. Click here to access the DHHS webpage that keeps North Carolinians updated on the State’s response to COVID-19.

 

Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group

The Governor’s Education & Nutrition Working Group held its second meeting on Thursday, March 26. Richard Bostic, NCSBA’s representative on the Working Group, shared several of the challenges school districts have faced in the past two weeks. Some of the issues discussed during the meeting are as follows:

Childcare

  • 45% of licensed childcare centers and 80% of licensed childcare homes are still open.
  • A childcare hotline, 1-888-600-1685, is available for workers in critical industries, like health care, to connect with childcare centers. The hotline has had 1,000 calls since March 20, and 665 callers have been referred to childcare centers.
  • 8 school districts currently offer emergency school-based care for critical workers. 8 more school districts plan to offer childcare.

Child Nutrition

  • 3 million meals have been served since March 16.
  • USDA has approved numerous waivers, such as parental/guardian pick up of child nutrition meals and meal service times.
  • All school districts’ nutrition plans have been approved.
  • Parents can find the nearest meal site in three ways:
    • Text “FOODNC” to 877-877 – when a response text is received, enter home address to find meal site
    • Call toll-free at 1-866-348-6479
    • Click on USDA Summer Meal Site Finder at usda.gov/SummerFoodRocks

Remote Teaching

  • 9,000 educators have taken classes on remote teaching since March 18
  • The $50 million made available by Governor Cooper may be used for broadband access

 

If you have concerns about these issues that you would like the Working Group to address, please email Richard Bostic at rbostic@ncsba.org.

 

From the College Board

For the 2019-20 school year, the College Board is making the following changes to Advanced Placement exams:

  • 45-minute online free response exams are being developed
  • Content will focus on what was covered in courses by early March
  • Exams can be taken on computer, tablet, or smartphone
  • Exams can also be hand-written and submitted by photo
  • Solutions are being worked on to address students that do not have internet or device access
  • Free AP review classes are available as of Wednesday, March 25

To learn more, click here to access the College Board website.

 

From Congress

Congress approved H.R.748: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the coronavirus. The bill provides $13.5 billion for K-12 education stabilization. There is an additional $3 billion included in the bill for governors to use in addressing needs of both K-12 and higher education. According to the bill, LEAs and states using these funds “shall to the greatest extent practicable, continue to pay its employees and contractors during the periods of any disruptions or closures related to the coronavirus.”

The bill also provides the following funding:

  • $25 million for distance learning, telemedicine, and broadband
  • $15.5 billion for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program
  • $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs
  • $750 million for Head Start early-education programs
  • $100 million in Project SERV grants to clean and disinfect affected schools, and provide counseling and distance learning
  • $69 million for schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education
  • $5 million for state health departments to provide guidance on safe practices for disinfecting homes, schools, and day-care facilities

According to Education Week, “the bill does not include dedicated funding through the federal E-Rate program to provide students with internet-connected devices and internet connectivity at home if their school buildings have closed. Dedicated aid for remote K-12 learning is something that several senators and educators have asked for in the last several days. In order to access the state education stabilization fund in the final Senate bill, states would first have to agree to provide funding to education in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 that’s at least the same as the average of their education over the three prior fiscal years. However, DeVos could waive that requirement for states.”

 

 

 

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

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Alert – March 27, 2020
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