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Legislative Alert – Feb 10, 17

Legislative Alert – Feb 10, 17

K-3 Class Size Fix Update

Two House committees voted to recommended HB 13 this week.  Both the House K-12 Education and House Appropriations Committees unanimously voted in favor of this bill to restore most of the flexibility on K-3 class size averages that is set to be eliminated next school year.  We anticipate the bill will hit the House floor on Tuesday.  Please be contacting your House members in support of HB 13.

You can click here to find your House delegation.

Talking Points

HB 13 would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that have passed and are scheduled to take effect in the upcoming school year.

b) Give LEAs the flexibility to have a differential of 3 between the funded and average classroom teacher ratios starting in 2017-18 for K-3, which has been the historical practice.  The differential of 3 for average class sizes returns 75% of what is allowed (not necessarily used) this school year.

While understanding that HB 13 is not a perfect solution to the K-3 class size issue, NCSBA believes it to be the solution that is most viable and most likely to pass at this time.  Remember that if there is no legislative fix, teacher allotment flexibility will disappear and districts will be forced to equalize the funded and average ratios in 2017-18 which could lead to (i) drastic cuts in art, music, and physical education teaching positions; (ii) an increase in class sizes in grades 4-12; or (iii) a funding hole that would need to be filled by an infusion of local dollars.

If the General Assembly does not take action on the K-3 class size issue soon, districts might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption of not having this important flexibility.

Additional Coverage 

Outside groups are continuing to push the argument that school districts are the reason for the K-3 class size problem and that HB 13 would just be used for partisan political purposes.  Click here to read another example of this.

Resolution

Sample K-3 Class Size Resolution:  click here


School Calendar

A bill to give all LEAs additional calendar flexibility was filed this week.  HB 53- School Calendar Modification would move the earliest school start date to August 10.  The bill as filed also has a provision that would eliminate any requirement that calendars have a minimum number of instructional days (there would only be a requirement for a minimum number of hours).  NCSBA has had concerns about this provision and shared those concerns with one of the bill sponsors.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division is scheduled to release a report on the school calendar law on Monday, February 13.  The report will be posted to the Division’s website at this link.


Crossover

April 27 is this year’s deadline for crossover, which is the date by which most statewide bills must pass one chamber in order to remain eligible for the remainder of the biennium.

Bills

New Bills: Click here for a list of bills filed this week that NCSBA is tracking.


Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, February 13

3:00 PM

The House will convene for session

4:00 PM
The Senate will convene for session

Tuesday, February 14

10:00 AM
The House K-12 Education Committee will meet and consider the following bills
HB 6 – Ed. Finance Reform Task Force/PED Report

Ramona PowersLegislative Alert – Feb 10, 17
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Legislative Alert – Feb 3, 17

Legislative Alert – Feb 3, 17

K-3 Class Size Fix

HB 13 is the K-3 class size fix legislation sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), and Chris Malone (R-Wake).  The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House K-12 Education Committee on Tuesday, February 7 at 10 AM.  Please be contacting members of the committee in support of HB 13.  Click here to find the members of the House K- 12 Education Committee.

HB 13 would:

a) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that have passed and are scheduled to take effect in the upcoming school year.

b) Give LEAs the flexibility to have a differential of 3 between the funded and average classroom teacher ratios starting in 2017-18 for K-3, which has been the historical practice.  The differential of 3 for average class sizes returns 75% of what is allowed (not necessarily used) this school year.

While understanding that HB 13 is not a perfect solution to the K-3 class size issue, NCSBA believes it to be the solution that is most viable and most likely to pass at this time.  Remember that if there is no legislative fix, teacher allotment flexibility will disappear and districts will be forced to equalize the funded and average ratios in 2017-18 which could lead to (i) drastic cuts in art, music, and physical education teaching positions; (ii) an increase in class sizes in grades 4-12; or (iii) a funding hole that would need to be filled by an infusion of local dollars.

If the General Assembly does not take action on the K-3 class size issue soon, districts might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption of not having this important flexibility.

Additional Coverage 

There are some groups making the argument that this problem was created by districts misusing money and that any change to the law would be used for partisan political purposes.  Click here and here to read examples.  Points raised in these blog posts are becoming a major concern for some legislators and could potentially present a hurdle to enacting a compromise.

Click here for a WRAL story on the issue, which includes some comments attributed to Sen. Jerry Tillman.

Resources on K-3 Class Size Issue

Sample K-3 Class Size Resolution:  click here
If your school board passes this resolution please send a copy to Sean Holmes at NCSBA at sholmes@ncsba.org.  Also send a copy to your local delegation, as well as:

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (Phil.Berger@ncleg.net)

House Speaker Tim Moore (Tim.Moore@ncleg.net)

Rep. Debra Conrad (Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (Jeffrey.Elmore@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Rep. Craig Horn (Craig.Horn@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Rep. Linda Johnson (Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net) – House K-12 Education Chair

Sen. Chad Barefoot (Chad.Barefoot@ncleg.net) – Senate Education Co-Chair

Sen. David Curtis (David.Curtis@ncleg.net) – Senate Education Co-Chair

Sen. Michael Lee (Michael.Lee@ncleg.net) – Senate Education Co-Chair

DPI Turnover

Some significant changes are occurring at the top levels of the NC Department of Public Instruction.  There have been at least three announcements of resignations or retirements from top level DPI staff members in recent days.  Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction Rebecca Garland is retiring and was recognized at Thursday’s State Board of Education meeting for her long service to public education.  Chief Financial Officer Philip Price will be retiring effective March 1.  Legislative and Community Affairs Director Rachel Beaulieu is transitioning to private sector work and February 3 is her last day with DPI.

These changes come alongside the switch to the new Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson.  Click here to read more about DPI’s shift in leadership.

Bills

New Bills: Click here for a list of bills filed this week that NCSBA is tracking.


Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, February 6

The Senate will convene at 4:00 for a skeleton session (no votes taken)

The House will convene at 7:00 for a skeleton session  (no votes taken)


Tuesday, February 7

10:00 AM
The House K-12 Education Committee is scheduled to take up HB 13.

Ramona PowersLegislative Alert – Feb 3, 17
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Chatham County Board of Education Commits to Working Together

Chatham County Board of Education Commits to Working Together

NCSBA’s Master Board Program challenges governance teams to set aside time to train together. Master Board status is awarded when the governance team of a district completes 5 courses. Each course provides four hours of activities and discussion designed to help the board sharpen its governance skills.

“The NCSBA Master Board program is a knowledge- and skills-based training program that provides school boards with the opportunity to develop as a full board,” said Ed Dunlap, NCSBA executive director. “What makes Master Board unique from the Association’s other training programs is that all board members and the superintendent commit to the training.”

NCSBA News is proud to spotlight the Chatham County Board of Education for its commitment to improving its governance, maintaining open communication, and evaluating its processes. The members of the Chatham County Board of Education (above first row: Del Turner, Jane Allen Wilson, Melissa Hlavac; second row: Gary Leonard, David Hamm) have reached Level IV status by completing 40 hours of Master Board training, a first in the state. The board and superintendent were recognized for their achievement during the 2016 Annual Conference. Dr. Derrick D. Jordan, superintendent of Chatham County Schools remarked, “As the first board of education in North Carolina to reach Level IV Master Board Status, our board members have established a high bar for their colleagues across the state. This award underscores an unmistakable commitment to ensuring that they are well-equipped to make the best decisions possible for our students and employees.”

NCSBA recognizes the tireless commitment of all school board members throughout the state. Thank you for making a difference and taking the time to serve and invest in the children of our great State. NCSBA staff members are honored to support what you do!

Ramona PowersChatham County Board of Education Commits to Working Together
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State Board of Education January Meeting

State Board of Education January Meeting

New State Superintendent
The January 2017 State Board of Education (SBE) meeting was the first for newly elected State Superintendent Mark Johnson. Mr. Johnson attended the committee meetings and then delivered his formal introductory remarks on the second meeting day. Mr. Johnson discussed his background and why he is passionate about improving public education. You can view his remarks here.

New Local Board Advisor
During the full board meeting, Ms. Amanda Bell of Rockingham County was formally introduced as the SBE’s new local board advisor. Ms. Bell was awarded the Raleigh Dingman Award for 2016-17 and will be serving as the SBE’s local board advisor this year. She replaces Dr. Christine Fitch of Wilson County.

ESSA Update
An update on NC’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act was delivered. The NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) staff talked about some of the changes to the NC State Plan that had been made based on feedback and input from stakeholders. Feedback and comments are still being accepted. It was also reported that at the most recent superintendent’s quarterly meeting, superintendents expressed support for making growth a significant component of any redesigned accountability model. Superintendents also expressed caution about using chronic absenteeism as an accountability indicator, as all schools don’t have an impact on this.

The SBE and DPI plan to finalize the NC State Plan no later than September 2017.

Cooperative Innovative High Schools
The SBE gave approval to the following applications for Cooperative Innovative High Schools:

  • Ashe County Early College High School
  • Bladen Early College High School
  • Cumberland Polytechnic High School
  • Charlotte Middle College at Merancas Campus
  • Charlotte Teacher Cadet Early College
  • Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Early College
  • Harnett County Early College
  • Agriculture and Science Early College (Iredell-Statesville Schools)
  • McDowell Academy for Innovation
  • Montgomery County Early College
  • Onslow Early College High School
  • CTE High School North (Wake County Schools)
  • Washington County Early College High School

Teacher Bonus Money Approved
The SBE gave approval to the distribution of monies for legislatively mandated bonuses for AP/IB teachers and third-grade teachers. A provision in the 2016 budget set aside money for bonuses of $50 for AP/IB teachers for each of their students who score at a certain level on 2015-16 AP/IB tests. These teachers may receive bonuses of up to $2,000 per year. Another provision set aside money for bonuses for third-grade teachers who score in the top 25% of third-grade student reading growth scores statewide and in the top 25% of student reading growth scores in their LEA. The SBE gave approval to the distribution of the monies to LEAs.

Click here and here to see how much each LEA will get for awarding these bonuses.

Ramona PowersState Board of Education January Meeting
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Legislative Alert – Jan 27, 17

Legislative Alert – Jan 27, 17

Federal Secretary of Education Nomination and Hearings

Newly elected President Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to be the federal Secretary of the Department of Education.  Mrs. DeVos, a Republican from Michigan, had her confirmation hearing last Tuesday and the US Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination on Tuesday, January 31 (originally had been scheduled for this week).

NCSBA takes no position on the nomination.  Senator Richard Burr is a member of the HELP committee that will be voting on her nomination.  If you wish to share any comments about the nomination with Senator Burr you can email him at this link: https://www.burr.senate.gov/contact/email or you can call his DC office at 202.224.3154.

Below are some additional resources about the DeVos nomination and confirmation hearing.

Watch the entire hearing here.

Read about the hearing here.

Read a background profile of Ms. DeVos here

2017 Session Begins/K-3 Class Size Fix Re-filed

Lawmakers returned to Raleigh on Wednesday to begin official legislative business for the 2017 session. The first set of bills were filed and standing committee members were named this week.  Both chambers held a couple of skeleton sessions with no votes before adjourning for the week.  Lawmakers will reconvene Monday at 4:00.

Among the first bills to be filed this week was the K-3 class size fix bill NCSBA tried to advance during the December special session.  The bill number is again HB 13 but it is a separate bill from the bill filed last session.  This one is sponsored by Reps. Chuck McGrady (R-Henderson), Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), and Craig Horn (R-Union).  Even though it is a separate bill it is identical in language to the version filed last session.  HB 13 would:

1) Provide substantial relief from the drastic K-3 class size changes that would otherwise take effect this upcoming school year.

2) Give LEAs the flexibility to have a differential of 3 between the funded and average classroom teacher ratios starting in 2017-18 for K-3, which has been the historical practice.  The differential of 3 for average class sizes returns 75% of what is allowed (not necessarily used) this school year.

While understanding that HB 13 is not a perfect solution to the K-3 class size issue, NCSBA believes it to be the solution that is most viable and most likely to pass at this time.  Remember that if nothing passes on this districts will be forced to equalize the funded and average ratios in 2017-18 which could lead to (i) drastic cuts in art, music, and physical education teaching positions in K-3; (ii) an increase in class sizes in grades 4-12; or (iii) a funding hole that would need to be filled by an infusion of local dollars.

If the General Assembly does not take action on the K-3 class size issue soon districts might have no choice but to begin developing their budgets under the assumption that the extra funding will not be provided.


Resources on K-3 Class Size Issue

Sample K-3 Class Size Resolution:  click here
If your school board passes this resolution please send a copy to Sean Holmes at NCSBA at sholmes@ncsba.org.  Also send a copy to Speaker Moore, Senate President Pro Tem Berger and the Chairs of the House and Senate Education Committees:  Reps. Debra Conrad, Jeffrey Elmore, Craig Horn, Linda Johnson; Senators Chad Barefoot, David Curtis, Michael Lee.

You can read media coverage of HB 13 here and here.  Note that the latter story contains a quote from a former General Assembly staffer.


2017 Committee Memberships

Below are the memberships of notable committees for K-12 public education that have been assigned for this session.

House K-12 Education Committee

Rep. Debra Conrad – Chair Rep. Holly Grange Rep. Amos Quick
Rep. Jeffrey Elmore – Chair Rep. Destin Hall Rep. Dennis Riddell
Rep. Craig Horn – Chair Rep. Kyle Hall Rep. David Rogers
Rep. Linda Johnson – Chair Rep. Jon Hardister Rep. Jason Saine
Rep. Cecil Brockman Rep. Cody Henson Rep. Phillip Shepard
Rep. Bobbie Richardson Rep. Howard Hunter Rep. Scott Stone
Rep. John Ager Rep. Pat Hurley Rep. Rena Turner
Rep. John Bradford Rep. Frank Iler Rep. Donna White
Rep. Kevin Corbin Rep. Bert Jones  
Rep. Jimmy Dixon Rep. Donny Lambeth  
Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield Rep. Graig Meyer  
Rep. Rosa Gill Rep. Rodney Moore  
Rep. Charles Graham Rep. Larry Pittman  

 

House Education Appropriations Committee

Rep. Hugh Blackwell – Chair Rep. Rosa Gill
Rep. Jeffrey Elmore – Chair Rep. Holly Grange
Rep. John Fraley – Chair Rep. Marvin Lucas
Rep. Craig Horn – Chair Rep. Mickey Michaux
Rep. Pat Hurley Rep. John Sauls
Rep. Debra Conrad Rep. Lee Zachary
Rep. Cynthia Ball  
Rep. Larry Bell  
Rep. Cecil Brockman  
Rep. Kevin Corbin  
Rep. Susan Fisher  

Senate Education Committee

Sen. Chad Barefoot – Co-Chair Sen. Valerie Foushee
Sen. David Curtis – Co-Chair Sen. Joyce Krawiec
Sen. Michael Lee – Co-Chair Sen. Louis Pate
Sen. Deanna Ballard Sen. Ron Rabin
Sen. Tamara Barringer Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram
Sen. Bill Cook Sen. Jeff Tarte
Sen. Don Davis Sen. Jerry Tillman
Sen. Cathy Dunn Sen. Joyce Waddell
Sen. Chuck Edwards  

Senate Education Appropriations Committee

Sen. Chad Barefoot – Co-Chair Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram
Sen. David Curtis – Co-Chair Sen. Jerry Tillman
Sen. Michael Lee – Co-Chair Sen. Joyce Waddell
Sen. Deanna Ballard  

Bills

New Bills: Click here for a list of bills filed this week that NCSBA is tracking.

Upcoming Legislative Meetings and Events

Monday, January 30

Both chambers will convene at 4:00 for skeleton sessions (no votes will be taken)

Ramona PowersLegislative Alert – Jan 27, 17
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Rockingham County Board Member Wins Prestigious Award

Rockingham County Board Member Wins Prestigious Award

Amanda Bell of the Rockingham County Board of Education is the 2016 recipient of the Raleigh Dingman Award for Outstanding Boardsmanship. To receive this esteemed award, which is given annually by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.

bell1“This board member will be a great asset as she serves as an advisor to the State Board of Education,” remarked NCSBA Executive Director Ed Dunlap during the announcement. She has devoted more than 34 years to the field of education. She has been an advocate for children, a voice for parents, a bridge for community members, and a mentor to new board members. Bell has served on NCSBA’s Board of Directors and on the North Carolina School Boards Trust (NCSBT). She is a lifelong learner who always stands up for public schools.

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

 

Ramona PowersRockingham County Board Member Wins Prestigious Award
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Wake Superintendent Honored as 2017 A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year

Wake Superintendent Honored as 2017 A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year

The North Carolina Association of School Administrators and the North Carolina School Boards Association have partnered since 2005 to award this distinguished honor to a public school superintendent. Being named NC Superintendent of the Year is the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina superintendent. The winner of this prestigious award competes for the title of National Superintendent of the Year and serves as an adviser to the State Board of Education.

Congratulations to Dr. Jim Merrill, Superintendent of Wake County Schools, who was named the 2017 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year at an awards presentation and reception held Nov. 17 in Greensboro. The award was given jointly by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA). Scholastic sponsored the award and provided a $5,000 award to the winner. Dr. Merrill will represent his colleagues and all of North Carolina public schools well in the AASA National Superintendent of the Year competition.
Along with Merrill, all 2017 Regional Superintendents of the Year were honored:
soysRegion 1 | Northeast | Mr. Melvin Hawkins, Camden County Schools
Region 2 | Southeast | Mr. Rick Stout, Onslow County Schools
Region 3 | Central | Dr. James Merrill, Wake County Schools
Region 4 | Sandhills | Dr. Robert Taylor, Bladen County Schools
Region 5 | Piedmont/Triad | Dr. Lory Morrow, Davidson County Schools
Region 6 | Southwest | Mr. Jeff Booker, Gaston County Schools
Region 7 | Northwest | Mr. Larry Putnam, Burke County Schools
Region 8 | Western | Dr. Tony Baldwin, Buncombe County Schools
Congratulations to all the nominees and thank you for your continued work for the children of North Carolina.
Ramona PowersWake Superintendent Honored as 2017 A. Craig Phillips Superintendent of the Year
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Burke County Board of Education Member Wins Prestigious Award

Burke County Board of Education Member Wins Prestigious Award

Buddy Armour of the Burke County Board of Education is the 2016 recipient of the School Board Member Leadership Award. To receive this esteemed award, which is given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board member must be peer-nominated by their local school board.

armour1NCSBA President-Elect Minnie Forte-Brown shared with participants that Armour helped start STRIVE – Students Taking a Renewed Interest in the Value of their Education – in his community. “He invests one-on-one time with high school seniors through STRIVE, presenting them with life skills and encouraging them to avoid senioritis,” she added. He has served on his board since 1997 and remains passionate about each students’ success.

The School Board Member Leadership Award honors a school board member for exemplary leadership during the previous school year.

Ramona PowersBurke County Board of Education Member Wins Prestigious Award
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Columbus County Board of Education Wins Leadership Award

The Columbus County Board of Education is the 2016 recipient of the School Board Leadership Award. This award honors a school board for extraordinary leadership during the 2015-2016 school year. To receive this esteemed award, which is given by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), a board must demonstrate excellent governance skills through commitment to the role of the school board. The Columbus County Board of Education received this award in 2014 as well.

columbusColumbus County was recognized during the Awards Ceremony of the Association’s 47th Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 17. During comments to ceremony attendees, the board was celebrated for consistently continuously seeking to expand opportunities for the students it serves. After a fire destroyed one of the schools two years ago, the board responded quickly and made sure the students could return to the next day. This year, these students entered the doors of a beautiful state-of-the-art school. As budgets dwindle across the state, the necessity of an insightful, forward-thinking school board has become increasingly essential to a school system’s success.

Ramona PowersColumbus County Board of Education Wins Leadership Award
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McDowell County Commissioners Recognized by School Boards Association

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

Touted by their local board of education as county commissioners that give extraordinary support to their students, teachers, and schools, the McDowell County Board of Commissioners remain dedicated to maintaining a solid working relationship with the board of education. Such commitment is visible through their work with the school board on needed space for the Early College Program. Doing what benefits the children of the county the most is the guiding principle for these commissioners.

The award is given to a board of county commissioners that received nomination by the local board of education in recognition of their extraordinary efforts. The McDowell County Board of County Commissioners was recognized during the Awards Ceremony of the NCSBA 47th Annual Conference for Board Member Development in Greensboro on November 17.

Ramona PowersMcDowell County Commissioners Recognized by School Boards Association
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