Legislative Updates & Alerts

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 20, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 20, 2022

 

Following the longest “long” legislative session in North Carolina history, which began in January 2021 and went a few months into 2022, the “short” session is officially upon us. Yes, already! Both the state House and state Senate gaveled in on Wednesday around noon. There is hope that this legislative session will be the shortest “short” session in North Carolina history. The buzz around the General Assembly is that they will adjourn the session around July 1, which would not be a record. Either way, we’ll believe it when we see it.

The top priority for lawmakers is to approve changes to the second year of the two-year budget that was signed into law in November 2021. Speaker Moore said on the House floor Wednesday afternoon that House and Senate budget writers will most likely introduce the budget adjustments in a conference report.

A conference report is a pre-negotiated compromise and cannot be amended once brought to each chamber for a vote — it’s an up or down vote. This type of process may bring with it issues surrounding transparency. The compromise is negotiated in private, and the public often doesn’t get a first look at the document until just a few hours before the vote.

NCSBA spent Wednesday and Thursday this week meeting with legislators who made it to Raleigh for the start of session. Given Tuesday night’s primary election, many lawmakers stayed in their home district this week. More on that below.

 

General Assembly — It’s All in the Numbers

All 170 state legislative seats were on ballots across the state on Tuesday — 50 Senate districts, 120 House districts. Nine incumbents lost.

  • Two Republican senators lost after being “double bunked” with other incumbents.
    • Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, defeated Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga (Ballard chaired two Senate education committees)
    • Sen. Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico, beat Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan
  • Two Republican representatives lost after being “double bunked” with other incumbents.
    • Rep. Ben Moss, R-Richmond, defeated Rep. Jamie Boles, R-Moore
    • Rep. Jake Johnson, R-Polk, defeated Rep. David Rogers, R-Rutherford
  • Two Democratic senators lost in the primary to a non-legislator.
    • Sen. Kirk deViere, D-Cumberland, and Sen. Ernestine Bazemore, D-Bertie
  • One Democratic representative ran for a Senate seat and lost to a current senator.
    • Sen. Toby Fitch, D-Wilson, defeated Rep. Raymond Smith, D-Wayne
  • One Republican representative lost running for a Senate seat to a non-legislator.
    • Rep. Lee Zachary, R-Yadkin
  • One Republican representative lost in the primary to a non-legislator.
    • Rep. Pat Hurley, R-Randolph

Senate Republicans head to the November general election with a 13-1 seat advantage over Senate Democrats before a single ballot is cast because of races that are unopposed.

House Republicans head to the November general election with a 29-5 seat advantage over House Democrats before a single ballot is cast because of races that are unopposed.

Take a look at this article for more specifics on legislative races.

United States House of Representatives

  • Seven sitting state legislators won their congressional primary races.
    • Sen. Don Davis, D-Greene, will face Republican Sandy Smith in the 1st Congressional District.
    • Sen. Valerie Foushee, D-Orange, will face Republican Courtney Geels in the 4th Congressional District.
    • Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, will face Republican incumbent Rep. David Rouzer in the 7th Congressional District.
    • Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, will face Republican incumbent Rep. Richard Hudson in the 9th Congressional District.
    • Sen. Chuck Edwards, R-Henderson, will face Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara in the 11th Congressional District.
    • Sen. Wiley Nickel, D-Wake, will face Republican Bo Hines in the 13th Congressional District.
    • Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, will face Republican Pat Harrigan in the 14th Congressional District.

United States Senate

  • Republican Ted Budd will face Democrat Cheri Beasley in November to fill the seat vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

 

Wednesday, May 25
11 a.m. — Senate Education/Higher Education Committee
Legislative Office Building (LOB), Room 544

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 20, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 13, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 13, 2022

 

The State Revenue Consensus Forecast was released this week and shows projections of a $4.24 billion (14.9%) budget surplus for the current 2021-2022 fiscal year and a $1.9 billion (6.8%) budget surplus for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. This surplus can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • State employment had returned to pre-pandemic levels by the summer of 2021 and had already exceeded the pre-pandemic forecast by March 2022
  • Significant stock market returns and corporate profits
  • Sales tax and corporate income tax collections are expected to exceed the previous forecast
  • Higher expected sales tax and use revenues

Despite this surplus, the forecast warns that there is an elevated risk of recession because of geopolitical uncertainty, and that inflation will remain high but decelerate during the 2022-2023 fiscal year. There is also uncertainty on consumer spending as inflation persists.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger released a joint statement on the revenue forecast, indicating that they plan to save much of the surplus: “it is crucial that we continue on this track of responsible and disciplined spending in light of the potential for a recession.” Governor Roy Cooper’s recommended State budget adjustments that were also released this week include an additional $2.3 billion for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which is over half of this current fiscal year’s surplus (more on this in the next section).

 

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper released his recommended State budget adjustments for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which includes an additional $1.35 billion for K-12 education. The release came a week before the General Assembly will convene for its 2022 legislative short session on Wednesday, May 18.

The Governor’s budget priorities include $525.8 million to fully fund year three of the Leandro Plan (as well as studies called for in year two that are currently not funded) and the following highlights:

Salaries

  • At least a 7.5% raise for all teachers over the biennium
    • State budget includes an average 2.5% raise in each year
    • Governor recommends adding 2.5% in the second year, making it 5%
    • This 5% raise would affect all school employees paid on the teacher salary schedule
  • Reinstatement of master’s pay for teachers
  • 5% raise for principals, central office, and noncertified school employees over the biennium
    • State budget includes a 2.5% salary increase in each year
    • Governor recommends adding 2.5% in the second year, making it 5%
    • For the 2022-2023 fiscal year, noncertified personnel would receive the greater of the 5% increase or the $15/hour minimum wage set in the State budget
  • Supplemental funds for teacher compensation
    • Adds another $75 million in supplemental funds for teachers, which was included in the State budget and excluded five counties based on a county’s respective tax base, median household income, and effective tax rate
    • Governor recommends including all counties and increasing the per-teacher allotment cap from $4,250 to $5,000

Bonuses

  • Teachers, instructional support personnel, assistant principals, and principals would receive either a $3,000 bonus (for those making less than $75,000) or a $2,500 (for those making more than $75,000)
  • Other school district employees, including all state and locally funded education employees, would receive either a $2,000 bonus (for those making less than $75,000) or a $1,500 bonus (for those making more than $75,000)
  • Half of the bonus will be paid in fall 2022 and half in spring 2023

Mental Health Support

  • Approximately 850 full time equivalent (FTE) school counselors, nurses, social workers, and psychologists
    • Each LEA will receive at least one FTE from these new funds
    • Flexibility for LEAs to strategically hire staff to best meet the needs of students
  • School safety grants to support students in crisis and provide school safety and mental health training
  • 115 year-long school psychologist internship positions at the equivalent of a starting teacher salary

Early Literacy and Teacher Assistants

  • Additional teacher assistants (TAs) to improve literacy and support K-3 students by more closely aligning with nationally recommended student-to-staff ratios
  • Early literacy
    • Eight regional coaches
    • One implementation coordinator
    • 115 early literacy specialists to support Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) science of reading training

NC Pre-K

  • Increases NC Pre-K reimbursement rates by 19% and administrative rates from 6% to 10%

School Construction

  • $500,000 to each public school unit (PSU) for construction and renovation of school facilities
  • Remaining funds will be allocated on the basis of average daily membership (ADM) for the 2021-2022 fiscal year

School Transportation

  • Increases funding for maintaining and operating school transportation fleets in order to fully fund rising costs, including fuel

Click here for all recommended budget adjustments and click here for the Governor’s plan for stronger schools. Click here for an article on the education sections of the Governor’s budget priorities.

NCSBA Support

NCSBA shares many of the Governor’s K-12 short session budget priorities, including additional TAs, pay increases and bonuses for all school employees, and additional mental health support personnel and funding flexibility (more on why this is important in the next section).

 

The NC Child Fatality Taskforce released its annual report, which includes the following data facts and trends:

  • Suicide was the leading cause of death for children ages 10-14 in 2020
  • Suicide was the third leading cause of death for children ages 15-17 in 2020
  • The percentage of high school students who strongly agree or agree that they feel good about themselves continues to decrease
  • NC does not have nearly enough mental health support personnel in schools to meet the nationally recommended ratios

NCSBA continues to advocate for additional school mental health support personnel, with a focus on giving school districts the authority to decide which positions to fill based on student need.

Click here for the report and click here for an article on the report.

 

In addition to the 2022 short session budget priorities that we share with the Governor, NCSBA also supports continued use of remote/virtual instruction, improvements to the school calendar, and ADM hold harmless. Click here for NCSBA’s virtual instruction issue brief to learn more about why this is such an important issue. This legislative priority was proposed by NCSBA’s Legislative Committee and received overwhelming support from NCSBA’s Delegate Assembly.

 

House Select Committee on an Education System for North Carolina’s Future

On Monday, the Committee held a meeting that included a presentation on teacher compensation and benefits, Committee discussion, and a public comment period. The presentation compared State salary schedule structures, explained recent changes to teacher pay, compared teacher benefits to neighboring states, and provided considerations for modifications to teacher compensation and benefits.

Committee member discussion was initiated by Chair John Torbett, R-Gaston, who suggested the idea of replacing principals and assistant principals with executive educators who would teach a couple of classes a week but still manage all students. Multiple Committee members emphasized the need for school discipline, with Representative Rachel Hunt, D-Mecklenburg, noting the need to also expand mental health interventions. Click here for an article on the meeting.

 

Grants are available through the Fiscal Year 2022 School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) via the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). The program’s goal is to improve security at schools and on school grounds through evidence-based school safety programs and technology. Under this program, $53 million is available to states, local governments, Indian tribes, and their public agencies, including school districts, school boards, and law enforcement agencies.

Each application must be accompanied by an assurance that the application was prepared after consultation with individuals not limited to law enforcement officers (including licensed mental health professionals, social workers, students, parents, school violence researchers/academics (if practical), teachers, principals, and other school personnel) to ensure that improvements to be funded under the grant are consistent with a comprehensive approach to preventing school violence; protective of student privacy and ensure that students are not discriminated against on the basis of race, national origin, disability, religion, or sex; and, individualized to the needs of each school at which those improvements are to be made.

Applications are due by June 14. Click here for the announcement and submission guidelines.

Grants are also available for the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) STOP School Violence Program. Applications may be submitted that address one or more of the following areas:

  • Developing and operating technology solutions such as anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence
  • Multidisciplinary behavioral threat assessment and/or intervention teams; training school personnel and educating students on preventing school violence, including strategies to improve a school climate
  • Specialized training for law enforcement who work in schools and/or with school-age populations such as school resource officers (SROs) and probation officers
  • Hiring of school support personnel such as climate specialists, school psychologists, school social workers, school-based violence interrupters, and others directly supporting the prevention of school violence

Applications are due by June 14. Click here for the full grant announcement.

 

Both the House and Senate convene for the 2022 legislative short session on Wednesday, May 18 at noon. Click here to livestream the House session and click here to live stream the Senate session.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 13, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – May 6, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – May 6, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. The meeting included the swearing in of the Board’s newest member, John Blackburn, as well as presentations on the following:

DPI/SBE 2022 short session legislative priorities: The Board approved the 2022 short session legislative priorities, which total $59.1 million and include a school psychologist internship program, regional literacy support coaches and early learning specialists, and an increase in the school transportation fuel price reserve. Additionally, cost-of-living salary increases for teachers and public sector employees is a priority. Along with these legislative priorities, the Board also approved two complementary requests presented by Board member Wendell Hall, who chairs the committee that worked on the legislative priorities. Those requests are $15 million for 115 school social workers and $18 million for district improvement specialists to aid in the transformation of low performing schools.

While there was agreement on the legislative priorities, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt differed from the Board in how and when to ask for the two complementary requests. Truitt did not deny the need for school social workers, but she did note that school districts currently have federal COVID-19 funds that could be used to hire social workers. Additionally, Truitt stated that she is not sure if DPI is currently prepared to support more low performing schools. Board Vice Chair Alan Duncan told the Board that the recommended ratio of social workers in schools is one for every 250 students, and that NC is closer to one social worker for every 1,300 -1,400 students. Duncan stated, “We do know there is a significant need for social workers.” Click here for an article that includes Board discussion on these legislative priorities and complementary requests.

Children’s behavioral health in NC: The Board was presented with information on children’s behavioral health by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) staff who stated that student mental health challenges have been increasing over the past decade and noted that the COVID-19 pandemic worsened an already growing challenge for children. North Carolina data shows that approximately 3,600 children have lost a parent/caregiver to COVID-19, and that the rate of children discharged from emergency departments with a behavioral health condition increased by approximately 70% in the pandemic. DHHS staff explained the importance of children feeling close to people at school as it relates to their mental health and laid out a coordinated action plan to address the child behavioral health crisis. Click here for the presentation.

Lead and asbestos remediation in public school units (PSUs) and childcare facilities: The State budget appropriated $150 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to be used for lead and asbestos remediation and abatement programs for PSUs and childcare facilities. DHHS and DPI are required to work together to develop these programs. At the meeting, the Board approved temporary rules to implement initial tests for lead in water, lead paint, and asbestos. When asked about the legislative requirement that PSUs match one dollar for every two dollars of State funds provided for lead paint and asbestos abatement, DPI staff stated that while it is a concern, the current focus is on the initial testing. Click here for the temporary rules, click here for public comments on the rules, and click here for the FAQ.

Click here to access all meeting materials. Click here for an article on the meeting.

 

In less than two weeks, the 2022 legislative short session will begin. Because of the late passage of the State budget in November 2021, we do not expect there to be too many modifications to the budget during the session. However, NCSBA’s Governmental Relations Team is pushing for the following during this legislative session:

  • Additional mental health support personnel (school nurses, social workers, and counselors)
  • Flexibility with the new school psychologist allotment that allows school districts that are unable to recruit and hire a qualified school psychologist to use those funds for any mental health support personnel
  • Funding for recently approved cooperative innovative high schools
  • Salary increases to keep up with rising inflation
  • Additional teacher assistants to improve K-3 literacy and address learning loss caused by the pandemic
  • Average daily membership (ADM) hold harmless
  • Continued use of remote/virtual instruction – After June 30, 2022, LEAs will lose some authority on how and when remote/virtual instruction can be provided
  • Modify the school calendar to improve student learning and performance

If you have questions or concerns about this list of short session priorities, please contact Bruce Mildwurf at bmildwurf@ncsba.org.

 

Monday, May 9

5:00 pm – House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future – Legislative Offices Building, rm 544 (live stream)

 

Please note that we may not be sending legislative updates on a weekly basis while the General Assembly is not in session.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – May 6, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – April 29, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – April 29, 2022

 

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson found that $785 million in State funds is needed “to properly fund years two and three” of the eight-year Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. This announcement follows Robinson’s replacement of Superior Court Judge David Lee last month, and the State Supreme Court’s order that Robinson review Lee’s November 10, 2021, order prior to the Leandro case coming before the Supreme Court.

Lee’s order called for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Plan. Robinson amended Lee’s order to instead call for $785 million, following an analysis of how much the State budget, which passed on November 18, 2021, funds the Plan. Robinson’s amended order also removes the requirement that the State Controller transfer the $1.7 billion from the General Fund, since that requirement had already been blocked by the State Court of Appeals.

The State Supreme Court has not yet set a date to hear the Leandro case. Click here and here for articles on the amended order.

 

SB 654/SL 2021-130 required the State Superintendent to create a Working Group on Virtual Academies that includes various stakeholders to make recommendations related to virtual academies. The Working Group’s report was submitted to the General Assembly in March. The report states that NC has been providing students with opportunities to access “high-quality, purposeful virtual learning” for over 20 years, and that schools are currently using virtual instruction to meet the needs of families.

The following are highlights from the report:

  • The number of fully virtual academies in the State has increased from 11 in the 2019-2020 school year to 61 in the 2021-2022 school year
  • The number of hybrid virtual academies has increased from 25 in the 2019-2020 school year to 45 in the 2021-2022 school year

The following are Working Group recommendations:

  • Allow school districts that do not have a virtual academy but wish to develop one to apply for a school code
    • (SB 654/SL 2021-130 prevents a school that did not have a school code to operate a virtual academy prior to May 1, 2021, from continuing to use virtual instruction after June 30, 2022)
  • Virtual academies established in a traditional K-12 school should be viewed the same as other schools within that district and should not be required to renew their school status
  • All courses taken in a virtual format should be coded to allow performance tracking, including courses taken virtually through an in-person school or through a virtual school

 

Last Friday, Governor Roy Cooper announced that $5 million in federal funds will be used to expand Youth Mental Health First Aid training. This training teaches adults who work with youth, including teachers and school staff, how to identify and support youth ages 12-18 who are experiencing challenges related to mental health and substance use.

Kody H. Kinsley, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said “Recovering stronger together from this pandemic means prioritizing behavioral health and the well-being of our children and families. We are grateful for this investment in both areas, which supports early intervention programs that will make a critical difference in many teenagers’ lives.”

Additional federal funds will be used to expand the Tech Team initiative, which trains students on how to address information technology issues, and the NC Education Corps, which is helping to accelerate learning recovery for public school students through high-impact literacy tutoring.

 

On Monday, the bipartisan Hunt-Lee Commission released its final report that contains 16 recommendations to improve public education in the State, including growing the school leader pipeline and bridging student transitions from middle to high school.

The Hunt-Lee Commission was created by the Hunt Institute in August 2021 to “address stark differences in student outcomes, many of which have been made worse by the pandemic.” The Commission is named after four-term NC Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. and Institute Board members (former) NC Senator Howard Lee and NC Senator Michael Lee.

The report’s recommendations fall into three categories:

  • Build on what we have
  • Invite and test new ideas
  • Implement proven solutions

Click here and here for articles on the report.

 

In just 2 ½ weeks, the 2022 legislative short session will begin. Because of the late passage of the State budget in November 2021, we do not expect there to be too many modifications to the budget during the session. However, NCSBA’s Governmental Relations Team is pushing for the following during this legislative session:

  • Additional mental health support personnel
  • Flexibility with the new school psychologist allotment for school districts that are unable to recruit and hire school psychologists
  • Funding for recently approved cooperative innovative high schools
  • Salary increases to keep up with rising inflation
  • Additional teacher assistants to improve K-3 literacy and address learning loss caused by the pandemic
  • Average daily membership (ADM) hold harmless
  • Continued use of remote/virtual instruction
  • More local control over the school calendar

If you have a legislative priority for the short session that is not included on this list, please contact Bruce Mildwurf at bmildwurf@ncsba.org.

 

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

On Monday, the Committee held a meeting at Morehead City Primary School in Carteret County. Click here for the Carteret County Schools Superintendent’s presentation and click here for a recording of the meeting.

 

Both the House and Senate will hold session on Wednesday, May 4, but we do not expect any activity.

Additional Education Meeting

On Wednesday, May 4, and Thursday, May 5, the State Board of Education will have its monthly meeting. Click here for the meeting live stream.

 

Please note that we may not be sending legislative updates on a weekly basis while the General Assembly is not in session.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – April 29, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – April 8, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – April 8, 2022

 

The State Board of Education (SBE) met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week. At the end of the meeting on Thursday there was an announcement that the Board would reconvene on Friday at 3:30 pm. This afternoon, the Board briefly met to take action on an issue concerning a charter school. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Board was presented with the following:

NC Pathways to Excellence for Teaching Professionals update: The Board received an update on a draft teacher licensure model that includes a new teacher salary structure. This model was developed by the Human Capital Roundtable with support work from subcommittees of the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC). DPI staff began the presentation by emphasizing that this is not a final model but rather an example of a model based on work done over the past year. The model is a seven-tier licensure process that is tied to competency, skill, and effectiveness, rather than time. When addressing concerns that this model is essentially merit pay, DPI staff clarified that this model aligns the organizational structure/goals of schools with teacher compensation systems. Previously, with merit pay “we took some ideas and we layered them on top of a century-old organizational structure and compensation structure and expected something different to happen.” Additionally, Superintendent Catherine Truitt stated, “this is not a model that ties teacher compensation to test scores…there are multiple ways for teachers to move up via effectiveness.” Click here for the presentation and click here for an article on the model.

Full-time equivalency (FTE) of public-school students formula: In the State budget, the General Assembly tasked the Board with establishing a formula for determining the FTE of a student enrolled in a public school unit for the purposes of providing State funds on a per pupil basis. DPI staff’s presentation began by explaining that the current average daily membership (ADM) accounting is an average that is not intended to look at each individual student. The FTE formula defines the minimum amount of instructional time that a student needs to be scheduled to be considered full-time. In response to funding concerns expressed by local superintendents, DPI staff stated that at this point, the task is not to use this FTE formula for funding. Additionally, Superintendent Truitt stated that when legislators were publicly asked about the FTE formula, the response was that they believe that schools are being funded in the best way now, but they still want to examine other possibilities. Truitt also stated that she did not think to request input from superintendents and other education leaders because the task was to develop a formula, not to submit recommendations. The Board’s local superintendent advisor, Dr. Brent Williams of Lenoir County, explained that the concern stems from not wanting to damage the collaboration between school systems and community colleges by potentially creating a competition for students. Click here for the presentation, click here for the report, and click here for an article on the formula.

Parent Advisory Commission update: Following Board questioning at last month’s meeting on Superintendent Truitt’s new Parent Advisory Commission, the Board received an update. Truitt stated that DPI had received roughly 3,500 applications for the 48-member Commission, but only 693 of those applications were fully complete. Truitt provided a list of DPI staff that will be reviewing the applications, which can be found in this article. Once staff gets the number of applications down to 150, Truitt will join the evaluation process and focus on representation and voice. Truitt has faced criticism from some Board members for the inclusion of many non-public school parents/guardians on the Commission. The Commission will consist of six parents/guardians from each of the State’s eight education regions:

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

DPI/SBE legislative priorities: DPI staff presented the Board with proposed legislative priorities for the 2022 short session. Legislative priorities total $15.6 million and include a school psychologist internship program, school turnaround coaches, and an increase in the school transportation fuel price reserve. Additionally, cost-of-living salary increases for teachers and public sector employees would be a priority. Board member Wendell Hall, who chairs the committee working on the legislative priorities, stated that he wants to see items such as funding for social workers and additional school turnaround coaches added to the list. Click here for the presentation and click here for an article on these legislative priorities.

Revisions to school administrator licensure requirements: The Board was presented with an update on proposed revisions to principal licensure requirements. Per request of the SBE and DPI, a 2021 session law exempted principals granted a license for any school year from 2010-2011 to 2020-2021 from certain statutory licensure requirements and provided a waiver for certain individuals in the process of becoming a licensed principal. Over the past several months, DPI has gathered recommendations from various stakeholder groups on the current principal licensure requirements, asking what should stay the same and what should change. During the meeting, DPI recommendations were presented to be considered for Board approval at a future meeting. Following Board approval, the recommendations would be submitted to the General Assembly for consideration prior to the August 30, 2022, expiration date of the current exemption and waiver. Click here for the presentation, which includes DPI recommendations on slide 13 concerning a licensure exam, having a masters of school administration, a yearlong internship, and educator experience.

Also at this month’s meeting, Board Chair Eric Davis announced the appointment of John M. Blackburn to the Board. Blackburn will represent the Northwest region and replace former Board member Todd Chasteen who resigned in February.

Click here to access all meeting materials. Click here for an article on the meeting.

 

As of Friday, April 8, all 115 local school districts have approved mask optional policies (one has a mask optional policy with certain stipulations, and one has a pending effective date). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

On Monday, the Committee held a meeting at Stanly Middle School in Gaston County. Click here for an article on the meeting, which includes recordings of presentations and public comment, and click here for the Gaston County Schools Superintendent’s presentation.

 

 

Please note that we may not be sending legislative updates on a weekly basis while the General Assembly is not in session.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – April 8, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 25, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – March 25, 2022

 

On Monday night, the State Supreme Court issued an order granting the request of plaintiffs and defendants to review Superior Court Judge David Lee’s November 10 order calling for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. Judge Lee’s order was denied by the State Court of Appeals on November 30, saying that Judge Lee does not have the authority to appropriate State funds. Both parties appealed that decision to the State Supreme Court.

Also on Monday night, State Supreme Court Chief Justice, Republican Paul Newby, issued an order reassigning the Leandro case from Judge Lee, who is a registered Democrat, to Superior Court Judge Michael Robinson, who is a registered Republican. The order does not cite a reason for Judge Lee’s removal but click here for an article that provides an explanation and analyzes the issue.

The State Supreme Court’s order says that prior to the Leandro case coming before the Court, the Superior Court judge, who is now Michael Robinson, has no more than 30 days to determine what effect, if any, the new State budget has on the November 10 order. Judge Robinson now has the authority to amend Judge Lee’s November 10 order prior to it being submitted to the State Supreme Court for review.

On Thursday, Judge Robinson announced a timeline for action on the Leandro case leading up to the April 20 deadline for submitting an order to the State Supreme Court. By April 4, the defendant (the State) must provide a report on how much of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan is funded by the State budget. Then all other parties will have a chance to respond, and Judge Robinson will hold a hearing on April 13 to decide whether to amend Judge Lee’s order before submitting it to the State Supreme Court. Click here and here for articles on the timeline that include statements from attorneys representing parties in the case.

Click here and here for articles on the two orders issued on Monday night, which also include background on the Leandro case.

Prior to the State Supreme Court’s order, the attorney representing House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger submitted a filing on February 28 asking the State Supreme Court to not take up the Leandro case. Both legislative leaders had previously said that they are not parties in the case but in December 2021 they filed a notice of intervention and argued that Judge Lee exceeded his authority in ordering the transfer of over $1.7 billion.

 

As of Friday, March 25,

  • 114 school districts have mask optional policies (one has a mask optional policy with certain stipulations and two have pending effective dates)
  • 1 school district has a mask mandate

The number of districts that have adopted optional mask policies has increased by two since last Friday, March 18.

NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ mask policies as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

House Select Committee on an Education System for North Carolina’s Future

On Monday, the Committee held a meeting at the Union County Professional Development Center and heard presentations from local education leaders. Click here for the presentations and click here for an article on the meeting, which includes video recordings of the meeting. Click here for the YouTube link of the meeting.

During the public comment period, Committee members heard remarks from former NC Representative Craig Horn who encouraged the Committee to consider outcome-based education, improve teacher preparation and support, and reform accountability.

 

 

Please note that we may not be sending legislative updates on a weekly basis while the General Assembly is not in session.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – March 25, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 18, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – March 18, 2022

 

The following is from DPI’s Division of School Business:

G.S. 115C-84.2(a2) specifies that a report on the start and end dates of the instructional calendar for students for the next academic year be provided to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education by April 1 of each year. To make this deadline, the start and end dates of the instructional calendar for students for each school must be in PowerSchool before April 1.

A report of the 2022-2023 school start and end dates will be shared with public school units (PSUs) for verification and to identify the statutory exception authorizing an earlier start date for schools with a start date earlier than August 29, 2022.

Reminder: It has come to our attention that districts may have or be planning to adopt calendars not compliant with the calendar law. Pursuant to G.S. 115C-84.2(a)(d) the opening date for students shall be no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26 and the closing date for students shall be not later than the Friday closest to June 11. Unless the district has received an approved calendar waiver for the 2022-2023 school year, the start date should be no earlier than August 29, 2022 and the end date should be no later than June 9, 2023.

Contact: studentaccounting@dpi.nc.gov.

 

As of Friday, March 18,

  • 112 school districts have mask optional policies (one has a mask optional policy with certain stipulations and three have pending effective dates)
  • 3 school districts have mask mandates

The number of districts that have adopted optional mask policies has increased by two since last Friday, March 11.

NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ mask policies as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

State Budget Technical Corrections Bill

On Thursday, Governor Cooper signed HB 243: Budget Technical Corrections into SL 2022-6, following the bill’s passage in both the House and Senate last week. The following are education-related sections of the bill:

  • Section 2.2 Special Education Due Process Hearings (page 2)
  • Section 2.3 Add Final Report on Missing Student Identification/ESSER Allocation (page 3)
  • Section 2.4 Clarify Support Services Expanded by Communities in Schools/ESSER Allocation (page 3)
  • Section 2.6 Dual Enrollment/Opportunity Study (page 3)
  • Section 2.7 Extend Deadline for Student Transportation Report on Medicaid Reimbursement (page 4)
  • Section 2.9 Revise Deadlines for Report on Science of Reading EPP Coursework Implementation (page 6)
  • Section 2.13 Clarify Definition of Eligible Student in Equity in Opportunity Act (page 7)
  • Section 2.14 Revise and Clarify PESA Scholarship Awards for Eligible Part-Time Students with Certain Disabilities (page 7)
  • Local provisions:
    • Section 18.1 SCIF Grant Changes (page 37, number 28)
    • Section 19.2 Corrections and Revisions to the Department of Transportation Committee Report (page 42, number 2)

 

On Monday, March 21 at 5:00 pm the House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future will hold a public hearing at the Union County Professional Development Center, 721 Brewer Drive, Monroe, NC 28112. A livestream will be made available by the Union County Professional Development Center on YouTube @UCPS BOE, and a link to the meeting will be posted on the UCPS website and on the district’s Facebook page at the start of the meeting.

 

Please note that we will not be sending legislative updates on a weekly basis while the General Assembly is not in session.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – March 18, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 11, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – March 11, 2022

 

End of the 2021 Legislative Long Session

The General Assembly wrapped up the longest “long” session in North Carolina’s history. Legislators began the session on January 13, 2021, and adjourned today, March 11, 2022. The session was a total of 423 days. Today, the House had its 199th legislative day, and the Senate had its 197th legislative day. Unless something unforeseen happens, the 2022 legislative “short” session will begin on May 18. Click here for the adjournment resolution and click here for an article on the adjournment.

Failed Veto Override of SB 173: Free the Smiles Act

Following the Governor’s veto of SB 173: Free the Smiles Act, the Senate failed to override the veto on a 27-22 party-line vote. Although Senate Republicans did not reach the needed three-fifth’s majority vote, SB 173 is still alive and can be placed back on the Senate calendar for another veto override vote. The bill initially passed both the House and Senate with a veto proof majority, but the two Senate Democrats who voted for the bill’s passage did not vote for the veto override.

SB 173 would allow a parent to opt their child out of a mask mandate in public schools and repeal the requirement for monthly votes on mask policies. The bill would supersede the Governor’s emergency powers and the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as local school boards and health directors. Additionally, SB 173 would apply to any future pandemic or unforeseen circumstance.

Click here for an article on the failed veto override.

State Budget Technical Corrections Bill

HB 243: Budget Technical Corrections passed both the House and Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. The following are education-related sections of the bill:

  • Section 2.2 Special Education Due Process Hearings (page 2)
  • Section 2.3 Add Final Report on Missing Student Identification/ESSER Allocation (page 3)
  • Section 2.4 Clarify Support Services Expanded by Communities in Schools/ESSER Allocation (page 3)
  • Section 2.6 Dual Enrollment/Opportunity Study (page 3)
  • Section 2.7 Extend Deadline for Student Transportation Report on Medicaid Reimbursement (page 4)
  • Section 2.9 Revise Deadlines for Report on Science of Reading EPP Coursework Implementation (page 6)
  • Section 2.13 Clarify Definition of Eligible Student in Equity in Opportunity Act (page 7)
  • Section 2.14 Revise and Clarify PESA Scholarship Awards for Eligible Part-Time Students with Certain Disabilities (page 7)
  • Local provisions:
    • Section 18.1 SCIF Grant Changes (page 37, number 28)
    • Section 19.2 Corrections and Revisions to the Department of Transportation Committee Report (page 42, number 2)

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

On Monday, the Committee held a meeting at South Asheboro Middle School. Click here for an article on the meeting, which included presentations from local school district superintendents and public comments from the community.

 

As of Friday, March 11,

  • 110 school districts have mask optional policies (two have mask optional policies with certain stipulations and four have pending effective dates)
  • 5 school districts have mask mandates

The number of districts that have adopted optional mask policies has increased by six since last Thursday, March 3.

NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ mask policies as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

The State Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 2, and Thursday, March 3, and was presented with the following:

Impact of lost instructional time analysis: DPI staff presented a data report that compares students’ pre-pandemic expected performance with their post-pandemic actual performance, based on 2020-2021 student performance data. Data shows that there was a negative impact for all students in all grades in almost every subject (except English II), and especially for Math (fifth-ninth) and Science (Biology). Key points of the data are as follows:

  • Females were more negatively impacted than was expected
  • Regarding race and ethnicity, pre-existing disparities increased
  • Gaps have widened between economically disadvantaged students and all other students
  • Students with disabilities and English language learners were close to their pre-pandemic learning trajectories compared to the general population of students

DPI’s next steps are to submit the preliminary data report to the General Assembly, gather input from State and local leaders for the next level of analysis, and convert effect sizes to months of learning loss estimates. Click here for the data report. Click here for an article on the report.

State of the Teaching Profession report: DPI staff presented this 2020-2021 data report, which shows that the teaching profession remains stable. The teacher attrition rate for the 2020-2021 school year was 8.2%, compared to 7.53% in 2019-2020. The beginning teacher attrition rate was 9.75%, which DPI staff stated is down from previous years. Regarding the reasons teachers report for leaving the profession, 25.5% noted “other reasons”, which is a drastic increase from 9.8% in the 2019-2020 school year. DPI staff explained that this could be related to the COVID-19 pandemic or to difficulty in gathering data due to the pandemic. The Board’s teacher advisor, Eugenia Floyd, asked if there is any data on the state of the teaching profession for the current school year, and DPI staff acknowledged the difficulty in reviewing old data but explained that the process of gathering and analyzing data for each annual report is extensive. Click here for the report.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) update: The Board approved an addendum to the State’s ESSA plan for the 2021-2022 school year to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education regarding the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on federally required assessments and accountability. The Board also approved the commencement of work on an amendment to the State’s ESSA plan, which will address long-term changes to the State’s accountability system based on lessons learned over the past two years.

DHHS COVID-19 update: The Board received an update from DHHS that showed the State’s four key metrics are rapidly decreasing. Data indicates that COVID-19 case rates are highest among young age groups and lowest among older and more highly vaccinated groups, but that case rates continue to decrease among children. DHHS staff reviewed changes to the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit that were announced in February, regarding contact tracing and exclusions, as well as no longer recommending universal masking in schools. As of March 7, 2022, all updates to the Toolkit are effective.

Proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for interscholastic athletics: The Board approved a MOU for high school interscholastic athletics with the NC High School Athletic Association, as well as a MOU for charter school high school interscholastic athletics with the Carolina Athletic Association for Schools of Choice. These MOUs are in effect for four years.

Click here to access all meeting materials. Click here for an article on the meeting, which includes Board discussion on Superintendent Truitt’s new Parent Advisory Commission.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – March 11, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – March 4, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – March 4, 2022

 

As of 12:00 pm on Thursday, March 3,

  • 104 school districts have mask optional policies (two have mask optional policies with certain stipulations and six have pending effective dates)
  • 11 school districts have mask mandates

The number of districts that have adopted optional mask policies has increased by six since last Friday, February 25.

NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ mask policies as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

On Friday, February 25, the CDC released updated guidance saying that masks are no longer required to be worn on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems. The CDC said that it is making this change to align with recently updated guidance that no longer recommends mask mandates in K-12 school settings in areas with a low or medium COVID-19 community level.

 

The State Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday and was presented with the following:

Click here to access all meeting materials.

We will provide a more comprehensive summary of the SBE meeting in next Friday’s legislative update.

 

Monday, March 7

5:00 pm – House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future (Public Hearing) – South Asheboro Middle School

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – March 4, 2022
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NCSBA Legislative Update – February 25, 2022

NCSBA Legislative Update – February 25, 2022

 

SB 173: Free the Smiles Act

On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper vetoed SB 173: Free the Smiles Act, saying “I have encouraged local boards to lift mask mandates and they are doing it across the State with the advice of health officials who see that COVID metrics are declining and vaccinations are increasing. The bipartisan law the legislature passed, and I signed last year allows local boards to make these decisions for their own communities and that is still the right course. Passing laws for political purposes that encourage people to pick and choose which health rules they want to follow is dangerous and could tie the hands of public health officials in the future.”

SB 173 would allow a parent to opt their child out of a mask mandate in public schools and repeal the requirement for monthly votes on mask policies.

SB 173, if passed, would supersede the Governor’s emergency powers and the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, this bill would apply to any future pandemic or unforeseen circumstance.

The bill passed both the House and Senate with a veto proof majority, but it is unclear if the Democrats who supported the bill will support a veto override.

 

As of February 25,

  • 98 school districts have mask optional policies (two have mask optional policies with certain stipulations and 15 have pending effective dates)
  • 17 school districts have mask mandates

The number of districts that have adopted optional mask policies has increased by 34 since last Friday, February 18. Additional districts are scheduled to vote today and next week on their mask policies.

NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ mask policies as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Rebekah Howard at rhoward@ncsba.org.

 

On Wednesday, a panel of trial court judges upheld the redrawn State House and Senate maps but ruled that the redrawn Congressional map was unconstitutional and selected a map drawn by outside experts. Both sides appealed the trial court’s ruling to the State Supreme Court for various reasons, but all appeals were dismissed.

Click here for the trial court’s ruling. Click here and here for articles on the ruling.

The candidate filing period for all races (federal, state, and local, except Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education) began at 8:00 am on Thursday, February 24, and will end at 12:00 pm on March 4. The primary election date is May 17.

 

House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future

This Committee met on Monday and heard a presentation on the public school funding system, as well as presentations from State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis and Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson.

Chair Davis stated that he believes the best place to start improving the State’s education system is to listen to students, parents, and educators. Davis listed three objectives to focus on:

  1. Elevating the teaching profession to attract and retain talent
  2. Providing the health and support services that our students need
  3. Increasing the academic achievement of all students

The Lieutenant Governor began his presentation with student outcomes from the 2020-2021 school year, stating that improved course standards are necessary to increase grade level proficiency and that these standards should be free of social engineering. Additionally, Robinson said that the State should decrease its reliance on federal tax dollars and programs and emphasized the need for the State to expand law enforcement and social services resources to maintain order and discipline in schools.

Click here for an article on the meeting, which includes an audio recording of the meeting. The next meeting of this Committee will be held on March 7 at South Asheboro Middle School.

 

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt announced the creation of a Parent Advisory Commission that will “elevate the voice of parents in students’ education.” The 48-member Commission will consist of six parents or guardians from each of the State’s eight education regions:

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

Per EdNC, in an email, Blair Rhoades, communications director for DPI, said that non-public school options are represented on the Commission for the following reasons:

  • “Every parent of a student has a story to tell. And every one of those stories can be used to make improvements or to lift up best practices elsewhere.”
  • Because Truitt “is a supporter of school choice, she wants to ensure that she is hearing feedback from every parent across the state.”
  • “This goal of this group is to represent all school choice options and include diverse feedback so that they can advise, inform, and engage school and community leaders as well as policy makers.

Members will serve two-year terms, and the Commission will plan to meet quarterly, with regional sub-groups meeting monthly. “This Commission is focused on giving parents a seat at the table and strengthening parent and family involvement in education.” Truitt said. “Parents play an integral role in encouraging their child to achieve excellence in the classroom.”

Click here to access the application for the Commission, which is due by March 31.

 

On Tuesday, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Committee of Practitioners held a meeting and heard presentations on the Promising Practices Clearinghouse, Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) III updates, regional qualitative research and Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration (OLR) interventions, and the year of the workforce.

The Promising Practices Clearinghouse is an information-sharing effort that will support teachers, administrators, district personnel, and education advocates by providing strategies that have proven to be successful. DPI “will research, compile, disseminate, and promote practices for educators with the goal of improving educational opportunities for all 1.5 million public school students in North Carolina.”

The presentation on the year of the workforce focused on aligning K-12 education with workforce needs as the State continues to attract business. This is the goal of the statewide portrait of a graduate, which will be presented later this year.

Click here to access all meeting materials.

 

 

 

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

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

Rebekah HowardNCSBA Legislative Update – February 25, 2022
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