YOUR 2014 LEGISLATIVE SESSION RESOURCE


The Daily Discussion

This blog is intended to give members a brief insight in to the daily happenings at the General Assembly, and other State agencies, on issues impacting public education. NCASA provides a more comprehensive review of all happenings impacting public education and educators through our weekly In the Know newsletter, which is distributed each Thursday.


February 22, 2018

The Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units, co-chaired by Representative Brawley and Senator Curtis, held its first meeting today. The two speakers, Karla McCraw and Brian Gwyn, both from the Legislative Analysis Division at the NC General Assembly, provided committee members with an overview of North Carolina local school administrative units (LSAU, another term for LEA), which described a general breakdown of the structure for administration for public schools, statutory requirements which mandate that the General Assembly organize a system for public school organization and funding, and statistics on historical and current district trends, including student population per district. Committee members also heard from Eric Moore from the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly on how funding formulas work for NC Public Schools. He provided them with examples of the current funding formula and the methodology by which the General Assembly calculates and allocates school funds. Click hereto view presentation materials.


February 21, 2018

On Tuesday, the Governor's Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education held their second meeting to discuss NC Public School spending and where it can make improvements. Speakers included Dr. Karen Hawley Miles, President and Executive Director of Education Resource Strategies, Inc., Adam Levinson, Chief Financial Officer, NC Department of Public Instruction, Keith Posten, President and Esecutive Director, Public School Forum of North Carolina, and three of our Superintendents, Dr. Anthony D. Jackson, Superintendent of Vance County Schools, Dr. Tim Markley, Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, and Dr. Janet Mason, Superintendent of Rutherford County Schools. Speakers discussed an array of topics and issues surrounding NC Public School Finances. Commission members heard about school finance systems nationwide in respect to NC's current system, an overview of NC's general system at DPI, findings from the Public School Forum's Local School Finance Study, and perspectives from our three superintendents. The commission moved to delve further into the issue in the coming months with hopes of providing solutions to some of the state's more pressing financial concerns regarding public school funding. Materials from the meeting will be added to the blog within the coming days. 


February 12, 2018

Notably, H90, the class size bill, allots additional funding to the counties affected by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP). This funding will be provided by entities involved in the construction of the pipeline. Taking a look at the bill, one can see that subsection (a) provides information regarding the funds surrounding the ACP (which counties), subsection (b) explains the scope to which the funds can be spent, and subsection (c) describes the counties that will receive the funds, as well as allocation amount. Click here to view the bill.


Part VII of the bill requires that more money be spent on the NC Pre-K system. By increasing these funds by $9.35 million annually following the initial increase, NC will be able to provide enough funding to eliminate the waitlist for Pre-K programs.

This Allotment is as follows:

Fiscal year:

2019-2020- $82 million

2020-2021- $91.4 million



February 9, 2018

The N.C. Senate voted 37-5 today (Friday, 2/9) to approve House Bill 90, the omnibus legislation that includes the improvements in the class size law that NCASA has been seeking on behalf of superintendents and other school leaders. The only opposing votes were from Democratic Senators who all said they supported the class size legislation but were voting against the bill due to some of the non-related issues included with it. NCASA appreciates the strong support for this legislation by the Senate and the numerous positive comments made about the class size remedy and the role of our organization and our members in making it happen. We had expected the House to approve the bill today as well, but parliamentary rules in that chamber prevent a House vote until Tuesday, 2/13, because the bill involves appropriations. Despite this delay, NCASA expects the legislation to pass the House easily due to the strong support from the chamber leadership, education committee leaders and Representatives from both parties.

Read More


February 9, 2018

On Friday, the Senate Committee On Pensions And Retirement And Aging met to confirm the retirement system Board of Trustees of the Teachers' And State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS). Mr. Cecil Gammon from Reidsville, North Carolina was appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, who voted for approval.


February 8, 2018 

​On Thursday, NCASA's Executive Director, Katherine Joyce spoke at the press conference regarding H90, the bill containing additional funding for public education to accomodate the mandated class size reduction. Thereafter, the House and Senate met to discuss various details of the bill, including funding for the upcoming calendar school year. Click  here  to view the General Assembly's press release. Click here to view NCASA's press release. Click here to view a summary of the class size funding allotment. Ms. Joyce is in the photo below addressing the press about NCASA's involvement and support of the bill.















February 6, 2018

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee met to discuss Schools That Lead, the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement, and the ENC STEM program. The committee heard an enthusiastic presentation from four young educators from the Eastern North Carolina STEM (ENC STEM) program. The Schools That Lead program was presented by Dr. Diesel Wallace, President and CEO of  Schools that Lead, Sofi Frankowski, Chief Learning Officer, Dr. Nancy Carnevale, Principal, and Brandy Cooper, Teacher. Dr. Carnevale and Ms. Cooper represent Schools That Lead from one of the program’s current, successful schools, Milford Central Academy in Milford, Delaware. Presentation materials from both topics can be found here.


The Legislative Research Commission’s new Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities held its first meeting on Tuesday. Co-chaired by Senator Michael Lee (R-New Hanover) and Representative John Bradford (R-Mecklenburg), the committee launched with a charge to “study and recommend changes in policy for consideration by the General Assembly regarding the quality and availability of evidence-based services to support individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (“IDD”) in retaining employment.” Education stands among the forefront of their conversation, goals, and future issues for consideration. Click here to view presentation materials from the committee's first meeting.


January 31, 2018 & February 1, 2018

Wednesday and Thursday were busy days in Raleigh. On Wednesday, The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform met to hear from NCASA's executive director Katherine Joyce, superintendents, and LEA finance officers regarding their likes and dislikes with the current state funding system for NC public schools. Among issues presented to the task force were NCASA's finance reform report, funding system flexibility, Central Office allotment, removing caps and increasing funding differentiation among diverse student populations, and more. To read more about this meeting, clickhere. Also, on Wednesday and Thursday, the State Board of Education held its' monthly meeting with the State Superintendent, Mark Johnson, where they discussed ESSA, teacher pay, budget cuts and priorities, and their strategic plan. To read more about this meeting, including a list of approved action items, click here.


January 22, 2018

The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee met today, Monday, January 2018, to discuss several topics, education being at forefront. Among issues presented, committee members received reports and recommendations on several education issues that have been reviewed by the General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division (PED). These include: options for increasing lottery proceeds for education, meeting current standards for school nurses statewide, and the local education funding dispute resolution process. The committee also heard an assessment from MGT of America Consulting about their year-long research on school facility needs. All materials from the meeting can be found here.


January 5, 2018

The State Board of Education held it's monthly, two day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Board members discussed a range of topics including: NCSBE Strategic Plan, updates on where NC stands with ESSA, online bullying in NC, reports to the General Assembly, updates on charter schools across the state, The State of the Teaching Profession report from 2017, and a teacher licensure audit from 2017 was presented. For more information, including actions approved by the SBE and information from presentations during the meetings, click here.


December 13, 2017

The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform met on Wednesday to be updated on the Public Education Finance in North Carolina and the School Business Proceses by the Department of Public Instruction. The agenda and all meeting documents can be found here. Also, NCASA's article on the meeting, which will appear in tomorrow's In The Know, can be found here.


December 7, 2017

The State Board of Education held its monthly, two day meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week, where Board members approved the closing of Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy, a charter school in Bertie county, and raised concerns about recommendations for new policies on principal preparation programs. The agenda and all meeting documents can be found here. NCASA's article on the meeting, which also appears in today's In The Know, can be found here.


December 6, 2017

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee met on Tuesday, December 5 and discussed NC Laboratory Schools and the NC Teaching Fellows Program. All materials presented during the meeting can be found here. NCASA's article regarding Tuesday's meeting, which will be included in this week's In The Know, can be found here.


November 15, 2017

The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform met this morning and continued diving into the background and issues surrounding moving the funding of K-12 public schools away from the current allotment system to a student weighted formula model by hearing from a national expert on what other states have done.  NCASA's article on today's meeting, which will be included in tomorrow's edition of In The Know, can be found here


November 7, 2017

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee met this morning and, among other things, had a thorough discussion on virtual charter schools. All materials presented and available during the meeting can be found here. NCASA will publish an article regarding this meeting in Thursday's edition of In The Know.


November 1, 2017

  • ​The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform held its inaugural meeting this morning. The Task Force is charged with studying various weighted student funding models for the K-12 system in North Carolina, as opposed to the current allotment system.  The agenda for today's meeting, along with all materials, can be found here.  NCASA will publish an article regarding this meeting and the Task Force in tomorrow's edition of In The Know.
  • The North Carolina State Board of Education is holding day 2 of its 2 day Bi-Annual Planning and Work Session today. The agenda and materials can be found here. You may be able to listen to a live stream of the meeting here.


October 31, 2017

The North Carolina State Board of Education is holding day 1 of its 2 day Bi-Annual Planning and Work Session today. The agenda and materials can be found here. You may be able to listen to a live stream of the meeting here.


October 26, 2017

The quarterly meeting of the Boards of Trustees for the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System and the Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System is being held today.  The agenda for the meeting, along with all Board materials, can be found here


October 12, 2017

The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the North Carolina State Lottery met this morning and received a general presentation on the history, oversight, and future of the North Carolina lottery. A powerpoint for that presentation can be found here, and near the end includes revenue allocated to public schools during the Lottery's history.

The Committee also received a presentation on changes made to the Lottery during the last legislative session.  That presentation, which includes the allocation of lottery funds, creation of the Needs-Based School Capital Fund, appropriation of future lottery proceeds, and lottery reserve requirement, can be seen here.


October 11, 2017

The newly created Professional Educator and Standards Commission, charged with making recommendations to the State Board of Education about all aspects of teacher preparation, licensure, continuing education and standards of conduct, convened for its initial meeting this week.  The Commission was created as part of Senate Bill 599, making various changes to teacher preparation and licensure, including expanding educator preparation programs to entities outside of universities and colleges, and phasing out lateral entry licensure. 


NCASA is pleased to have several member appointed to the Commission. Those Commission members include: 

  • Dr. Patrick Miller, Superintendent of Greene County Schools
  • Mr. Aaron Fleming, Superintendent of Harnett County Schools
  • Mrs. Glenda Jones, Assistant Superintendent of Cabarrus County Schools
  • Dr. Westley Wood, Executive Director of Personnel and Human Resources of Wilkes County Schools 
  • Ms. Meaghan Loftus, Principal of Ashley Park PreK-8 School in Charlotte
  • Mr. Joseph Childers, Principal of Simon G. Atkins Academic and Technology High School in Winston-Salem 

 
The Commission’s first order of business was to elect Commission officers.  Superintendent of Greene County Schools, and current NCASA President, Dr. Patrick Miller, was nominated and elected Chairman of the Commission. NCASA congratulates Dr. Miller on his chairmanship of this important Commission. Other officers were elected as follows: 

  • Vice-Chair, Dr. Michael Maher, Assistant Dean for Professional Education and Accreditation at North Carolina State University
  • Secretary, Dr. Ann Bullock, Dean of the School of Education at Elon University. 


The Commission then received background information regarding what the law creating the Commission requires of the Commission, a timeline for the Commission’s work, and background policy surrounding educator preparation and licensure. The powerpoint used during the Commission meeting can be found here.  

The Commission’s agenda from this week’s meeting, which contains many documents and link to other materials provided to the Commission, can be found here. The Commission is set to next meet in early-mid November. 
 
 

October 10, 2017

This week, Governor Cooper signed into law a piece of legislation which, among other things, fixes a glitch in the "hold harmless" provision which prevented principals being paid on the teacher salary schedule from receiving their longevity pay, resulting in these principals taking a reduction in pay. NCASA worked with House and Senate leaders to resolve this issue to ensure that no principal earns less in pay this year than they did last year, per the General Assembly's intent. The technical correction fixes this issue and is retroactive to July 1, 2017, making those principals impacted by the glitch whole. 


There was speculation the bill, approved by the General Assembly last week, could be vetoed by Governor Cooper over provisions unrelated to the principal pay fix.  NCASA appreciates the House, Senate and Governor Cooper's work in ensuring no principal earns less under the new principal pay plan enacted this year by making this timely technical correction.


An updated 2017 Enacted Law Summary reflecting this, and other changes, can be found 
here.

September 20, 2017

A slightly revised and updated comprehensive summary of the 2017-2019 budget can be found here.


September 7, 2017

The State Board of Education held its two day monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Among the topics the Board discussed was an update on School-Based Administrator Pay, approval of North Carolina's ESSA plan, the release of the 2016-17 A-F School Performance Grades, release of the 2016-17 cohort graduation rate, and the release of eligible schools for selection into the Innovate School District. Details on these topics, and more, can be found in NCASA's State Board Review:  September 2017.


August 31, 2017

Earlier this year when the 2017-2019 budget was passed by the General Assembly, NCASA provided our members with a summary highlighting those provisions likely most important to the K-12 public education community. NCASA has completed a more comprehensive and thorough budget summary, summarizing all budget provisions which impact the K-12 education system and its employees. That summary can be found here.
 
As a reminder, a summary of all other legislation impacting K-12 public education enacted during the 2017 Legislative Session can be found
 here. 

August 25, 2017

Yesterday, the NC House overrode Governor Cooper's veto of House Bill 770 which  among other things, contained a request from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) which changed how school performance, achievement, and growth grades are calculated in the State's A-F School Performance Grades.  The Senate is expected to override the veto as early as today, making the bill law. 


It is not believed Governor Cooper vetoed legislation, which was titled "Various Clarifying Changes", due to the A-F Grades changes, but rather due to other provisions in the bill related to the removal of the Governor's appointment power to a medical board, and to an objection over a provision which created two salary incomes for one state employee.


August 17, 2017

This week Governor Cooper vetoed legislation (House Bill 770) passed by the General Assembly during the first special session on August 3 which, among other things, contained a request from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) which changed how school performance, achievement, and growth grades are calculated in the State's A-F School Performance Grades. DPI notes the changes are necessary to meet the federal requirements under ESSA.  It is not believed Governor Cooper vetoed legislation, which was titled "Various Clarifying Changes", due to the A-F Grades changes, but rather due to other provisions in the bill related to the removal of the Governor's appointment power to a medical board, and to an objection over a provision which created two salary incomes for one state employee.

It is unclear when the General Assembly may take up the bill to override Governor Cooper's veto. Legislators are set to return to Raleigh next week, but are expected to primarily focus on legislative redistricting efforts in order to meet a court imposed deadline of September 1. The General Assembly is set to hold a second special session beginning on September 6. Consideration of overriding this, and other vetoes by Governor Cooper, could occur during either of these sessions, or could be pushed back until the 2018 short session.  According to DPI, without the requested
 changes it is possible that the current state law could be in conflict with ESSA.


August 3, 2017

  • Day one of the State Board of Education's two day monthly meeting is set to begin at 9:00 this morning.  You can listen to the meeting online here.  An agenda for today's meeting, along with Board materials, can be found here.
  • The General Assembly is set to reconvene today at 10:00 a.m. for a special session called by Governor Roy Cooper to address his veto of four bills. No votes are expected to take place. With many legislators from both parties unable to attend today's session it has been indicated any veto overrides will not be considered until the General Assembly's next special session on September 6. Today the General Assembly is expected to take up a handful of compromise bills that were being negotiated when the General Assembly adjourned on June 30. NCASA does not expect any substantive action on any K-12 issues, though it has been said there may be legislation dealing with Cleveland County School Board elections. Any further updates on action taken by the General Assembly on K-12 issues or legislation can be found here later today.
  • The General Assembly approved Senate Bill 560, clarifying the process for unaffiliated petition filings for the Cleveland County Board of Education, and providing for reduced petition requirement for the 2017 election.

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August 2, 2017

  • Day one of the State Board of Education's two day monthly meeting is set to begin at 10:00 this morning.  You can listen to the meeting online here.  An agenda for today's meeting, along with Board materials, can be found here
  • The General Assembly is set to reconvene tomorrow for the first of two scheduled special sessions. Tomorrow's session will likely only include the General Assembly taking up conference reports on bills that were being negotiated by the House and Senate when the General Assembly adjourned on June 30. The General Assembly will not take up any veto overrides during this special session. As a federal court has directed the General Assembly to redraw unconstitutional legislative district maps, the General Assembly will likely be working toward this endeavor later this week and over the coming weeks.  NCASA will monitor these happenings at the General Assembly, but does not expect any substantive work on any legislation impacting K-12 to occur. Any action on bills impacting K-12 education or school personnel will be reported here and in editions of the weekly In The Know newsletter.


July 31, 2017

NCASA's final summary of all legislation enacted during the 2017 legislative session impacting K-12 education is now available online. This summary was previously published in a draft stage, with many of the bill's listed awaiting action by the Governor and a final session law designation. The Governor has now signed all legislation in this summary, with two bills becoming law without his signature. The final 2017 Enacted Laws Affecting Public Schools can be found here.


July 27, 2017

An update on continuing advocacy on principal pay by NCASA and NCPAPA can be found here


July 25, 2017

The Board of Trustees of the North Carolina State Health Plan met yesterday and approved premium increases for 2018. The full powerpoint used during the meeting, which outlines all premium increases and changes can be found here.  Highlights include:

  • ​Active employees will be charged employee-only premiums of $50/month for the 80/20 plan (previously $15.04) and $25/month for the 70/30 plan (previously $0)
  • ​Non-Medicare retirees and disabled members will be charged a base premium of $50/month for the 80/20 plan. No charge under the 70/30 plan.
  • Premiums in the subscriber+family and subscriber+children tiers are frozen at the 2017 levels.
  • Premiums in the subscriber+spouse tiers increase by 2-5%.
  • Subscribers who use tobacco and who do not participate in a tobacco cessation program will pay an additional $60/month
  • Small increases under the High Deductible Health plan ranging from 8 cents to around $20
  • 4% increase in employer contributions as authorized by this year's budget.


July 24, 2017

The Board of Trustees of the State Health Plan will hold a meeting today at 4:30 via telephone to discuss the Health Plan's premium rates for 2018. An agenda for the meeting can be found here, with all materials presented here.  NCASA will update this blog in the morning with any action taken and additional information.


July 21, 2017

Senate Bill 599, phasing out lateral entry licensure and making various other licensure related changes, is still awaiting Governor's Cooper's signature to become law. In the meantime, Wake County Public Schools has put together a summary of this legislation and changes that your district may find helpful as the school year approaches.  That summary can be found here.


July 20, 2017

The Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement Systems Board of Trustees will hold its quarterly meeting this morning.  The agenda can be seen here.  The meeting will include a legislative update which will summarizes all legislation approved in 2017 impacting the Retirement System.  That summary can be found here. All other materials and handouts for the meeting are available here


July 14, 2017

As implementation of the new principal pay salary schedule as enacted by this year's budget continues to move forward, NCASA worked with Fiscal Research at the General Assembly and the Department of Public Instruction to ensure early career principals were not penalized by adjusting the interpretation of the new law to provide that growth status from the previous three years used to determine a principal's 2017-2018 salary by including the growth scores from the 2016-2017 school year.


NCASA understands this may mean some principals may have their pay adjusted retroactive to July 1 after the 2016-2017 performance scores are released, but this was an important compromise by the House and Senate to ensure North Carolina's newest principals are treated fairly under the new principal pay plan.

The following information regarding the new principal pay compensation schedule was issued by the Department of Public Instruction:

Principal Pay Guidance
A FAQ on principal pay has been posted on the FBS home page at 
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/fbs/ . This document will be updated as needed.


Please note that during the last Tuesday webinar, it was communicated that LEAs must use the accountability growth status from the school years 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 to determine the 2017-18 principal’s salary. Since that time, there has been further discussions and it has been determined that the years 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 shall be used, subject to SBE approval.  For many principals, this will leave their salary unknown until after the release of the 2016-17 growth.


FY2018 Principal Schedules Update (7/12/2017)

There are 2 modifications to the Principal Schedules originally posted to NC DPI web 
on 6/28/2017:

  1. Monthly Salary dollar amounts are now formatted to show 2 decimals (in previous version it was published as a whole number).  The 2 decimal places are required to ensure that the monthly amounts agree with the annual totals as legislated in the Appropriations Bill.
  2. Daily Rates for “Met Growth” and “Exceeded Growth” schedules have been corrected and reposted due to a previous calculation error.


July 12, 2017

  • NCASA's summary of all legislation enacted during the 2017 legislative session impacting K-12 education is now available. Please note, many of the bills in the document have been ratified by the General Assembly, but are awaiting Governor Cooper’s signature to be enacted into law. NCASA does not expect the Governor to veto any of the below legislation and will update this document with appropriate session law numbers and links to final enacted legislation when available. The document can be found here:  2017 Enacted Laws Affecting Public Schools

July 10, 2017

  • An updated version of the Action Taken On 2017 Legislative Priorities document can be foundhere
  • Duke University's Children's Law Clinic has released a brief report on its findings from a study of the first three years of  North Carolina's Voucher Program. The report can be found here


July 7, 2017

  • As the General Assembly adjourned its 2017 legislative session around 2:00 a.m. last Friday morning, NCASA has begun drafting the 2017 Enacted Law Summaries which we hope to provide our members as early as next week or the week after. But first, NCASA has taken a look back at our 2017 Legislative Priorities to see what progress was made on the issues that matter most to our members.  Please click on the link below to see a summary of all action taken by the General Assembly on those items found in NCASA's Legislative Priorities:    Action Taken On 2017 Legislative Priorities


July 6, 2017

  • The State Board of Education is holding its monthly meeting today in Raleigh. The meeting's agenda, as well as documents and presentations used in the meeting, can be found here.


June 30, 2017

  • Shortly after midnight the House and Senate convened a new legislative day. The last of the 2017 legislative session.
  • ​The House quickly concurred with the budget technical corrections bill, which, among other things, states the General Assembly's intent to create a separate allotment for enhancement teachers staring 2018-2019.
  • The House and Senate approved a compromise bill for Senate Bill 8. As part of the compromise the provisions  requiring private schools accepting students receiving vouchers to conduct background checks on all full-time, part-time, and contract employees whose duties require the employees to be on school property
  • Adjournment Resolution:  At a little after 1:45 a.m. the General Assembly approved the adjournment resolution ending the 2017 legislative session. However, the resolution provides the General Assembly will hold a special session on August 3 to take up, among other things, any veto overrides and the adoption of conference reports for legislation still in dispute as of the adjournment of session.  The resolution also provides the General Assembly will hold a special session beginning on September 16 to take up redistricting. Finally, the resolution provides the General Assembly will convene the 2018 short session on May 16, 2018.

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June 29, 2017

  • Adjournment Resolution:​  The General Assembly is set to approve an adjournment resolution ending the 2017 legislative session. However, the resolution provides the General Assembly will hold a special session on August 3 to take up, among other things, any veto overrides and the adoption of conference reports for legislation still in dispute as of the adjournment of session.  The resolution also provides the General Assembly will hold a special session beginning on September 16 to take up redistricting. Finally, the resolution provides the General Assembly will convene the 2018 short session on May 16, 2018.
  • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 651, creating the Unfunded Liability Solvency Reserve aimed and reducing the unfunded Retiree Health Benefit fund, and supplementing the Teachers' and State Employees Retirement System (the Pension). Update:  This bill later was approved by the full House
  • The House Rules Committee met this morning and approved Senate Bill 78, which would create a study commission to study the financial cost to the State and LEAs of compliance with federal mandates related to the receipt of federal education funding. Update:  This bill later was approved by the full House
  • The House Finance Committee met this evening and approved Senate Bill 8, requiring private schools accepting students receiving vouchers to conduct background checks on all full-time, part-time, and contract employees whose duties require the employees to be on school property.  Update:  This bill later was approved on the House floor.  The Senate did not concur with the changes made by the House.
  • The full House met this morning and into the evening and took the following action on the following legislation:
    • ​Concurred with Senate changes to House Bill 800, making various changes to charter school laws (see below)
    • Concurred with Senate changes to House Bill  115, making technical and conforming changes to the laws governing TSERS.
    • ​Voted not to concur with Senate changes made to House Bill 482, making a statutory cross-reference in law to clarify the role of the County Commissioners in school building acquisition. Senate changes added non-educational related provisions to the bill.
    • Voted not to concur with Senate changes made to House Bill 704, establishing a joint legislative study committee to study the division or consolidation of LEAs.  Update: A compromise bill was adopted by both the House and the Senate later in the evening. 
    • ​​Voted to adopt a compromise bill for Senate Bill 599, which phases out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". 
    • ​Approved Senate Bill 55, authorizing counties to adopt ordinances providing for civil penalties for passing a stopped school bus.
  • ​The full Senate met this afternoon and into the evening and took the following action on the following legislation:
    • ​Voted to adopt a compromise bill for Senate Bill 599, which phases out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". 
    • Voted to adopt a compromise bill for Senate Bill 253 changing the election method of 9 schools boards from non-partisan to partisan.  Those counties included in the bill are: Beaufort, Carteret, Cleveland, Dare, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender and Yancey. The House and Senate will now negotiate a final version of this bill. The compromise removed Haywood County from the legislation 
    • Amended the budget technical corrections bill, House Bill 528, to clarify the $385 bonus provision for veteran teachers with 25+ years must be teaching on October 1. The bill was then passed by the full Senate and sent to the House.

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June 28, 2017

  • The House has voted to override Governor Cooper's budget veto, putting the 2017-2019 spending plan into law. 
  • The budget technical corrections bill (House Bill 528) emerged from the Senate Rules Committee, and among other provisions, includes language stating the General Assembly's intention to fund a new allotment for program enhancement teachers for LEAs beginning with the 2018-2019 fiscal year. UPDATE:  The bill was approved by the full Senate later in the evening. 
  • ​The House Appropriations Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 894, which is a bill concerning health care benefits to military veterans, but which was amended to include language requiring a training program on youth suicide awareness and prevention, as well as a risk referral protocol for school personnel. The bill  requires the training be provided to all school personnel working directly with students in grades 6-12 every two years. Those provisions previously passed the House in stand-alone legislation (House Bill 285) and was included in the House's budget proposal. The Senate has not taken action on House Bill 285, and the language was not included in the final budget.  UPDATE:​  This bill passed the House floor later in the day.
  • The Senate Rules Committee met this afternoon and approved House Bill 704, establishing a joint legislative study committee to study the division or consolidation of LEAs. UPDATE: This bill was later given full approval on the Senate floor.
  • The full Senate met over the course of the afternoon and evening and took the following action on the following legislation: 
    • ​​Voted not to concur with House changes to Senate Bill 599, which phases out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". House and Senate negotiators will work on a compromise version of the bill.
    • ​Approved House Bill  115, making technical and conforming changes to the laws governing TSERS.
    • ​Approved  House Bill 482, making a statutory cross-reference in law to clarify the role of the County Commissioners in school building acquisition.
    • Approved House Bill 800, making the following changes to charter laws:
      • ​allows board of directors to contract with an EMO or charter management organization to employ and provide teachers for a school
        requires fast track replication decisions be completed in less than 120 days.

      • provides that enrollment growth greater than 30% (previously 20%) be considered a material revision and require approval by the State Board. An amendment was included to cap growth for low-performing charters at 20%. 
      • directs the Office of Charter Schools to assist charter schools that wish to participate in NC Pre-K.
      • makes various changes to the North Carolina Virtual Public School.
  • ​​The full House met over the course of the afternoon and evening took the following action on the following legislation:
    • ​Voted to concur with Senate changes to the following bills:
      • House Bill 183, making various administrative changes to TSERS.
      • House Bill 176, making changes to assist in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse, and to ensure the fiscal integrity of TSERS.
      • House Bill 299, making various administrative changes to statutes governing the NC State Health Plan.
    • ​Voted to adopt a compromise bill for Senate Bill 253 changing the election method of 9 schools boards from non-partisan to partisan.  Those counties included in the bill are: Beaufort, Carteret, Cleveland, Dare,  Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender and Yancey. The House and Senate will now negotiate a final version of this bill. The compromise removed Haywood County from the legislation 

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June 27, 2017

  • UPDATE:​  The Senate has overriden Governor Cooper's budget veto.  The House is expected to do so tomorrow. 
  • ​Another very busy day at the General Assembly as the legislature continues to try to conclude its 2017 session this week. Both the House and Senate Rules Committees are holding multiple meetings today. During this time of session the Rules Committees are notorious for having last minute meetings where bills have been completely stripped out and new language put in its place. NCASA will monitor these meetings to watch for any unexpected bills impacting public education.
  • ​The Senate Rules Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 482, making a statutory cross-reference in law to clarify the role of the County Commissioners in school building acquisition. 
  • The House held its floor session this afternoon and approved the following legislation:
    • ​​House Bill 21, requiring the Department of Public Instruction to include, in the driver education curriculum instruction, law enforcement procedures during traffic stops and the actions that a motorist should take during a traffic stop, including appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers. 
    • House Bill 135, making technical statutory organizational  changes to  the statutes related to the Standard Course of Study, and does not make changes to the Standard Course of Study.
    • House Bill 155, making various changes to education laws, including the class size reporting date, authorizing assistant principals at certain schools to conduct evaluations for beginning teachers, and directing DPI to develop recommendations to further the teaching and student learning of computational thinking and computer science in K-12 schools. The bill also directs the Superintendent of Public Schools to convene a work group to study, and report by April 1, 2018, effective and positive intervention measures or policy changes to address risky behaviors and encourage student health and mental heath, and prohibits the State Board to delay adopting or implementing any policies related to School-Based Mental Initiatives by one year.
  • ​​The Senate held its floor session this afternoon and approved the following legislation:
    • ​​House Bill 183, making various administrative changes to TSERS.
    • House Bill 176, making changes to assist in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse, and to ensure the fiscal integrity of TSERS.
    • House Bill 299, making various administrative changes to statutes governing the NC State Health Plan.
  • ​​The Senate Rules Committee held a second meeting this evening and amended and approved House Bill 800, making the following changes to charter laws:
    • ​allows board of directors to contract with an EMO or charter management organization to employ and provide teachers for a school
      requires fast track replication decisions be completed in less than 120 days.

    • provides that enrollment growth greater than 30% (previously 20%) be considered a material revision and require approval by the State Board. An amendment was included to cap growth for low-performing charters at 20%. Amendment pushed this to 30%, was previously 25%
    • directs the Office of Charter Schools to assist charter schools that wish to participate in NC Pre-K.
      makes various changes to the North Carolina Virtual Public School.


June 26, 2017

  • Governor Cooper has announced he will veto the budget sometime today. This means the General Assembly would need to override Governor Cooper's veto by midnight on Friday in order for the spending plan approved last week to be in place when the new fiscal year begins at 12:01 a.m. early Saturday morning. In the event the new fiscal year begins without an approved 2017-2019, the budget will automatically renew at this year's spending levels with salaries frozen where they are now. This is due to a provision in last year's budget no longer requiring the General Assembly to pass temporary spending plans while a permanent budget is approved into law. Read more here
  • ​General Assembly leaders have indicated the 2017 legislative by Friday or Saturday this week, meaning the schedule around the legislative building with be fast and hectic as legislators rush to get legislation across the finish line. Last second committee meetings will be called, and bills will be added to those committee for consideration on the fly.  NCASA will do its best to keep our members apprised and up to date on legislation moving through the General Assembly as it happens.
  • ​The Senate Rules Committee is meeting this afternoon and is scheduled to take up the following legislation:
    • House Bill 183, making various administrative changes to TSERS.
    • House Bill 115, making technical and conforming changes to the laws governing TSERS.
    • House Bill 176, making changes to assist in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse, and to ensure the fiscal integrity of TSERS.
    • House Bill 299, making various administrative changes to statutes governing the NC State Health Plan.
  • ​​The House will hold its floor session tonight and is scheduled to give final approval to Senate Bill 599, which phases out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". Since this bill differs in its contents than it did when it passed the Senate, the bill will need to go back to the Senate for approval.
  • The Senate will hold its floor session tonight and is scheduled to approve the following legislation:
    • ​​House Bill 135, making technical statutory organizational  changes to  the statutes related to the Standard Course of Study, and does not make changes to the Standard Course of Study.
    • House Bill 149, requiring the State Board of Education to define dyslexia as part of its policies for specific learning disabilities, and directs the Board to ensure that ongoing professional development opportunities are made available to teachers and other school personnel on the identification of and intervention strategies for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other learning disabilities. The bill also directs LEAs to review the diagnostic tools and screening instruments used for these learning disabilities to ensure they are age-appropriate and effective.
    • ​House Bill 155, making various changes to education laws, including the class size reporting date, authorizing assistant principals at certain schools to conduct evaluations for beginning teachers, and directing DPI to develop recommendations to further the teaching and student learning of computational thinking and computer science in K-12 schools. The bill also directs the Superintendent of Public Schools to convene a work group to study, and report by April 1, 2018, effective and positive intervention measures or policy changes to address risky behaviors and encourage student health and mental heath, and prohibits the State Board to delay adopting or implementing any policies related to School-Based Mental Initiatives by one year.
    • ​House Bill 532, making various governance and operational changes to the UNC Lab Schools established under last year's budget legislation. The bill was approved by the Committee.
    • UPDATE- This bill was removed from the Senate's calendar: ​House Bill 800, making the following changes to charter laws:
      • ​allows board of directors to contract with an EMO or charter management organization to employ and provide teachers for a school
        requires fast track replication decisions be completed in less than 120 days.

      • provides that enrollment growth greater than 25% (previously 20%) be considered a material revision and require approval by the State Board. An amendment was included to cap growth for low-performing charters at 20%.
      • directs the Office of Charter Schools to assist charter schools that wish to participate in NC Pre-K.
      • makes various changes to the North Carolina Virtual Public School.

June 23, 2017

  • The House and Senate are both holding "skeleton" sessions this afternoon, meaning no votes or substantive matters will be discussed.
  • The 2017-2019 budget has been sent to the Governor for his veto or signature. While the legislature is in session, the Governor has 10 days to sign or veto the bill. That would put the sign or veto date at July 2. However, if the General Assembly adjourns their session prior to July 2, which all indications are that they will try to do so, the Governor would then have 30 days to sign or veto the bill.  Although the budget passed both the House and Senate by veto-proof margins, meaning that even if the Governor does veto the budget it would very likely easily be overridden and become law despite Governor's Cooper's veto, there is some intrigue to what could happen over the next 10-30 days. If the Governor does decide to veto the budget, his timing could be critical. That is because any veto by the Governor could push the adoption of a final budget beyond the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2017, and with no budget enacted, there could be a state government shut down, resulting in a political standoff and finger pointing between the Republican led legislature and the Democratic Governor.
  • As noted above, legislative leaders have indicated they would like to adjourn the 2017 legislative session next week, possibly Friday or Saturday. This means next week will be a flurry of activity with last minute bills flying back and forth between the House and Senate before the adjournment of session. NCASA will keep our members of all the action next week right here on the Daily Discussion blog.  Stay tuned...


June 22, 2017

  • The House gave final approval of the budget this afternoon, sending it to the Governor for his signature or veto. NCASA's budget summary can be found here.
  • The Senate met this afternoon and took up the following legislation:
    • Approved House Bill  21, requiring the Department of Public Instruction to include, in the driver education curriculum instruction, law enforcement procedures during traffic stops and the actions that a motorist should take during a traffic stop, including appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers. 
    • Did not concur with ​​​​Senate Bill 253, changing the election method of 10 schools boards from non-partisan to partisan. 8 schools boards were previously approved for this change in separate House bills, while two new school boards have been included. Those counties included in the bill are: Beaufort, Carteret, Cleveland, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender and Yancey. The House and Senate will now negotiate a final version of this bill.
  • The Senate Pensions and Retirement Committee met late yesterday afternoon and approved the following legislation:
    • House Bill 183, making various administrative changes to TSERS.
    • House Bill 115, making technical and conforming changes to the laws governing TSERS.
    • House Bill 176, making changes to assist in preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse, and to ensure the fiscal integrity of TSERS.
    • House Bill 299, making various administrative changes to statutes governing the NC State Health Plan.

​​

June 21, 2017

  • The 2017-2019 budget will receive hearings in both the House and Senate today, with the Senate set to give final approval to the spending plan and the House giving initial approval to the plan. NCASA's budget summary and analysis can be found here.
  • A budget comparison document, compiled by DPI, comparing the Governor, Senate, House, and the final compromise budgets can be seen here.
  • On Monday, it was expected on Monday night that the House would give full approval to ​Senate Bill 117, potentially undoing a court ruling last week holding that state pension authorities could not demand extra payments by school boards in Johnston, Wilkes, Union and Cabarrus counties by stating the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System is exempt from rulemaking when making changes to the anti-pension spiking contribution-based benefit cap retroactive to 2015. However, the bil was removed from the floor calendar and re-referred to the House Education K-121 Committee.
  • The House K-12 Committee met this morning and approved the following legislation:
    • ​​Senate Bill 169 - This bill, filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, expands the teacher 3rd grade reading bonuses which were included in last year's budget. The budget provision allowed for certain 3rd grade teacher bonuses but required the teacher to be teaching 3rd grade the year the bonus was distributed, even though the bonus was earned the previous school year. This bill fixes some of the issues that that made a teacher ineligible for a bonus they would have otherwise qualified for when a teacher was removed from teaching 3rd grade and assigned to teach another grade level. The bill also has a similar impact for AP and International Baccalaureate teachers that would have otherwise received a bonus if they had remained employed teaching those advanced courses the year after the bonus was earned.
    • Senate Bill 125 - Expands the definition of child for purposes of qualifying for certain scholarship awarded to the children of military veterans. Also encourages LEAs to adopt a student attendance recognition program that does not negatively impact students serving as legislative or Governor's pages.
    • Senate Bill 448 -  Allows LEAs to employ higher education faculty members to serve as adjunct instructors for core academic subjects without having to obtain a teaching license. 
    • Senate Bill 599 -  Phases out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". The bill also expands and sets up authorization process for new education preparation programs. The House made some changes to this bill including creating an exception to the GPA requirement to enter an Educator Prep. Program (set at 2.7) for students with at least 10 years of relevant experience and eliminating the literacy continuing education requirement for middle school teachers.
  • ​The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this morning and approved the two bills it discussed yesterday. Those bills are as follows:​
    • House Bill 155, making various changes to education laws, including the class size reporting date, authorizing assistant principals at certain schools to conduct evaluations for beginning teachers, and directing DPI to develop recommendations to further the teaching and student learning of computational thinking and computer science in K-12 schools. The bill also directs the Superintendent of Public Schools to convene a work group to study, and report by April 1, 2018, effective and positive intervention measures or policy changes to address risky behaviors and encourage student health and mental heath, and prohibits the State Board to delay adopting or implementing any policies related to School-Based Mental Initiatives by one year.
    • House Bill 800, making the following changes to charter laws:
      • ​allows board of directors to contract with an EMO or charter management organization to employ and provide teachers for a school
        requires fast track replication decisions be completed in less than 120 days.

      • provides that enrollment growth greater than 25% (previously 20%) be considered a material revision and require approval by the State Board. An amendment was included to cap growth for low-performing charters at 20%.
      • directs the Office of Charter Schools to assist charter schools that wish to participate in NC Pre-K.
      • makes various changes to the North Carolina Virtual Public School.


June 20, 2017

  • The 2017-2019 budget has been released, along with the accompanying money report. Votes on the budget will happen later this week, however, the budget will not be amended or changed at this point. Please check back later in the day for a link to NCASA's analysis on what the budget does for school-based administrator pay, and analysis on the budget in general.
  • NCASA's analysis of new school-based administrator pay schedules, along with bonus opportunities for principals, as found in this year's compromise budget can be seen here.
  • NCASA's summary and analysis of the full 2017 compromise budget can be seen here.
  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this morning and discussed two bills, but did not take a vote on either. The bills were previously passed by the House, but were stripped of their language and new language was included by the Senate. Those bills are as follows:
    • House Bill 155, making various changes to education laws, including the class size reporting date, authorizing assistant principals at certain schools to conduct evaluations for beginning teachers, and directing DPI to develop recommendations to further the teaching and student learning of computational thinking and computer science in K-12 schools. The bill also directs the Superintendent of Public Schools to convene a work group to study, and report by April 1, 2018, effective and positive intervention measures or policy changes to address risky behaviors and encourage student health and mental heath, and prohibits the State Board to delay adopting or implementing any policies related to School-Based Mental Initiatives by one year.
    • House Bill 800, making the following changes to charter laws:
      • ​allows board of directors to contract with an EMO or charter management organization to employ and provide teachers for a school
      • requires fast track replication decisions be completed in less than 120 days.
      • provides that enrollment growth greater than 25% (previously 20%) be considered a material revision and require approval by the State Board.
      • directs the Office of Charter Schools to assist charter schools that wish to participate in NC Pre-K.
      • makes various changes to the North Carolina Virtual Public School.


June 19, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • A budget compromised has been reached and the compromise budget it set to be released sometime this evening or tonight. The budget, once released, will be posted here under "News & Information" here. The budget will likely be voted upon later in the week and head to the Governor's desk by Friday. The Governor will then have 10 days to sign or veto the budget. With budget negotiations complete, the work at the General Assembly will be fast and furious with legislators likely aiming to complete their work and adjourning the 2017 legislative session by the 4th of July weekend.
  • The House is set to meet later this evening and will likely give full approval to the following legislation:
    • Senate Bill 117, potentially undoing a court ruling last week holding that state pension authorities could not demand extra payments by school boards in Johnston, Wilkes, Union and Cabarrus counties by stating the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System is exempt from rulemaking when making changes to the anti-pension spiking contribution-based benefit cap retroactive to 2015.
    • Senate Bill 315, which, among other things, directs the UNC System to consider and evaluate the feasibility of applying for and implementing the UTEACH program as part of the curricula offered by the UNC System. The model would be based on a program developed by the University of Texas at Austin that allows students to obtain the necessary requirements for a secondary teaching license at the same time as earning a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree.
  • ​​​The Senate is set to meet later this evening and will likely give full approval to the following legislation:
    • ​​​​Senate Bill 253, changing the election method of 10 schools boards from non-partisan to partisan. 8 schools boards were previously approved for this change in separate House bills, while two new school boards have been included. Those counties included in the bill are: Beaufort, Carteret, Cleveland, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender and Yancey.
    • House Bill 21, require the Department of Public Instruction to include, in the driver education curriculum instruction, law enforcement procedures during traffic stops and the actions that a motorist should take during a traffic stop, including appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers. 


June 16, 2017

  • The House and Senate will both hold sessions today, but take up no substantive business. The chambers are simply meeting in the event the parties can come to an agreement on a compromise budget, so that the budget can be read in on the floor of each chamber and taken up for votes on Monday and Tuesday after a House rule stating the bill must be released two days before a vote. Although the House and Senate may not produce a final budget today, as significant differences remain, the step is a continued indication that a budget compromise is near and will likely be voted upon at some point next week.
  • ​​As the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session at the General Assembly approaches, contacts are needed to help House Bill 866 gain further hearing and approval. The legislation would put a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond before voters on the 2018 ballot. As there as not been a statewide school construction bond since 1996, there is multi billion dollars of school construction needs across the state.  The bond as proposed in House Bill 866 will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs. The legislation has passed the House Education K-12 Committee and now heads to the House Finance Committee. Please contact members of the House Finance Committee and ask them to support this legislation.


June 15, 2017

  • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee met this morning and approved Senate Bill 117. That legislation potentially undoes a court ruling last week holding that state pension authorities could not demand extra payments by school boards in Johnston, Wilkes, Union and Cabarrus counties to cover pension boosts of up to $495,000, gained approval in the House Pensions and Retirement Committee this morning. Senate Bill 117 would exempt the the Teachers and State Employees Retirement Systems from going through a rulemaking process when making changes or setting the anti-pension spiking contribution-based benefit cap. This legislation providentially makes moot a lawsuit over a law requiring LEAs to repay a retiree's "pension spike" as the court held in its decision week that state pension authorities did not properly develop rules in response to the law. The legislation makes the exemption from rule-making retroactive to 2015, potentially removing the basis of the current lawsuit. The bill could be heard by the House and sent back to the Senate for a concurrence vote as early as Monday.
  • The House Education-Universities Committee met this morning and approved Senate Bill 315 which, among other things, directs the UNC System to consider and evaluate the feasibility of applying for and implementing the UTEACH program as part of the curricula offered by the UNC System. The model would be based on a program developed by the University of Texas at Austin that allows students to obtain the necessary requirements for a secondary teaching license at the same time as earning a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree.
  • The House gave full approval to Senate Bill 312, allowing the Department of Administration to donate refurbished state surplus computers to non-profits which can donate the computers to low-income students or households. The bill now heads to the Governor for his signature.

June 14, 2017

  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and considered the following legislation:
    • House Bill 90, as it passed the House, the bill would have eliminated the NC Final Exam. It was replaced in Committee today with legislation requiring the UNC System universities to provide undergraduate students with certain information upon application to the university or upon declaration of a major.  The bill was not voted on.
    • House Bill 135, making technical changes and recodifying statutes related to the Standard Course of Study. No substantive changes to the Standard Course of Study were made. The bill was given a favorable report in the Committee.
    • House Bill 149, requiring the State Board of Education to define dyslexia as part of its policies for specific learning disabilities, and directs the Board to ensure that ongoing professional development opportunities are made available to teachers and other school personnel on the identification of and intervention strategies for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other learning disabilities. The bill also directs LEAs to review the diagnostic tools and screening instruments used for these learning disabilities to ensure they are age-appropriate and effective.  The bill was approved by the Committee.
    •  House Bill 482, making a statutory cross-reference in law to clarify the role of the County Commissioners in school building acquisition. The bill was approved by the Committee.
    •  House Bill 532, making various governance and operational changes to the UNC Lab Schools established under last year's budget legislation. The bill was approved by the Committee. 
  • The House State and Local Government II Committee me this morning and approved the following legislation:
    • ​​Senate Bill 312, allowing the Department of Administration to donate refurbished state surplus computers to non-profits which can donate the computers to low-income students or households.
    • Senate Bill 253, changing the election method of 10 schools boards from non-partisan to partisan. 8 schools boards were previously approved for this change in separate House bills, while two new school boards have been included. Those counties included in the bill are: Beaufort, Carteret, Cleveland, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender and Yancey.  UPDATE:​ This bill was added to the House floor calendar and given full approval by the House later in the day.

​​

June 13, 2017

  • Legislation which would have required LEAs to provide training once every three years to educators and support personnel concerning sexual abuse and sex trafficking of minors gained approval in the Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon, however, that provision was amended out of the bill prior to approval.
  • Senate Bill 269, with authorizes the City of Durham to establish a pilot program for the use of electronic speed-measuring system to detect speed limit violations in school zones, gained approval in the Senate State and Local Government Committee this afternoon. The operation is similar to that of red light cameras, or the proposed school bus arm cameras, and would provide for a civil penalty to those registered owners of vehicles caught via camera of speeding in a school zone. The bill next stops at the Senate Finance Committee.
  • As noted previously by NCASA, both the Senate and House proposed budgets include cuts to the central office allotment. To read an article, written by Kris Nordstrom  of NC Policy Watch, on the proposed cut, the impact it would have on NC school districts and the history of the allotment's funding, please click here


June 12, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • The focus of the General Assembly this week, at least behind closed doors, will be the continued negotiation of a compromise 2017-2019 budget. All indications are that the process is moving very quickly and that a compromise budget should emerge well ahead of the end of the fiscal year on June 30. However, it is not uncommon for the chambers to come to a stalemate and throw their timeline off course.  NCASA will continue to update our members on the status of the budget as we receive information.
  • The Senate is set to give full approval to Senate Bill 599 this afternoon.  That bill phases out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". The bill also expands and sets up authorization process for new education preparation programs.
    • UPDATE -  The Senate gave full approval of this legislation this afternoon but first amended the bill concerning the requirement that no Educator Preparation Program (EPP) admit a person in their program that did not have a 2.7 GPA. The amendment grants the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission created under the bill the authority to determine how GPA would be calculated for purposes of gaining entry into an EPP. The amendment also provides that an EPP may not admit a student into a program leading to CTE licensure unless that person has met the 2.7 GPA requirement OR has at least 5 years of relevant experience. The amendment can be seen here.


June 8, 2017

  • It is fairly quiet at the General Assembly today as 2017 budget negotiations continue.  The Senate Rules Committee today approved Senate Bill 599phasing out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". The bill also expands and sets up authorization process for new education preparation programs.​ The bill now heads to the Senate floor for a vote likely Monday or Tuesday.


June 7, 2017

  • The word around the General Assembly is that budget negotiations are moving quickly. Click here for contact information for key budget negotiators, and long with key budget differences and where NCASA stands on these issues.
  • The Senate Finance Committee met this afternoon and gave approval to Senate Bill 599. phasing out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". The bill also expands and sets up authorization process for new education preparation programs.​ The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee before heading the Senate floor for a vote.


​​June 6, 2017

June 5, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • ​The House and Senate both convene today but no votes are expected.
  • The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Wednesday and will take up Senate Bill 599, Excellent Educators In Every Classroom. 

​​

June 2, 2017

  • A little after midnight last night the House gave final approval of its 2017-2019 budget. NCASA's summary of the House's budget can be found here. Over the coming weeks, House and Senate leaders will work behind closed doors to reach a final compromise budget.  NCASA will work with these leaders, advocating for the best budget possible for K-12 public education.

​​

June 1, 2017

  • The State Board of Education is holding day two of its monthly meeting this morning. An agenda, including all documents and handouts, can be found here​After the Board finishes its meeting this morning, the Whole Child NC Committee will meet. An agenda for that meeting can be seen here
  • The House is set to give initial approval of its 2017-2019 budget today, with a final vote tomorrow. NCASA will include its budget summary in this week's In The Know which will be released later this afternoon. A comparison chart compiled by DPI comparing the Governor, House and Senate budgets can be seen here

​​

May 31, 2017

  • The full House budget, including compensation pieces, has been released and can be found here.  The accompanying money report can be found here.  The budget is in the House Appropriations Committee today and will likely receive full House votes on Thursday and Friday.
  • A document showing the pay plans for principals as provided in the House and Senate budget can be found here.
  • An article written by NCASA on the principal and assistant principal pay plans in the House budget can be found here
  • ​The State Board of Education is holding day one of its monthly meeting today.  An agenda, which includes links to documents and materials presented to the Board, can be found here

​​

May 30, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • The full House budget, including compensation and retirement provisions, is expected to be released sometime today. Chief budget writer for the House, Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), has a press conference scheduled for 11:00 a.m. today and the full budget will likely be released online shortly after that. Portions of the budget will go through the Finance and Pensions and Retirement Committees today. The budget will see a near full day hearing in the Appropriations Committee tomorrow and will likely receive floor votes in the House Thursday evening and Friday morning. EDIT: This news conference was cancelled, most likely due protests erupting inside the General Assembly over medicaid and health care coverage.  The budget, as of 3:45 this afternoon, has still not been released and may not be posted online until later this evening or late tonight.
  • ​The State Board of Education will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  An agenda for Wednesday's meeting can be seen here, and an agenda for Thursday's meeting can be seen here
  • ​The House approved  House Bill 333, which provides counties with additional flexibility with regard to their local option sales and use tax to meet public education needs. The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
  • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee met this afternoon and approved portions of the budget related to pensions and retirement benefits. Those benefits include a one-time 1.6% cost-of-living-adjustment. 


​​

May 25, 2017

  • The House budget started its roll-out process this morning with the education budget (money report) and special provisions being presented in the House Appropriations on Education Committee.  The salaries and benefits provisions were not included in the documents today. The full budget is likely to be released over the weekend or early next week and is slated to go to committees on Wednesday, with full House votes likely Thursday and Friday. NCASA's analysis of these initial budget provisions can be found here. 


May 24, 2017

  • The House Appropriations on Education Committee has called a meeting for tomorrow morning  at 8:30 and is expected to release and discuss portions of the House education budget.
  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and approved the following legislation:
    • ​​Senate Bill 599, phasing out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". The bill also expands and sets up authorization process for new education preparation programs.​ The bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.

​​

May 23, 2017

  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and discussed the following legislation:
    • ​​Senate Bill 599, phasing out lateral entry licensure and replacing it with the newly established "residency license". The bill also expands and sets up authorization process for new education preparation programs.

​​            The bill was for discussion only and will likely be voted upon by the Committee tomorrow.

  • The House Finance Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 333, which provides counties with additional flexibility with regard to their local option sales and use tax to meet public education needs.


May 22, 2017

​The Week Ahead:

  • We believe that Republican House members will be discussing the school bond legislation (H866) early this week.   The legislation would put a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond before voters on the 2018 ballot. As there as not been a statewide school construction bond since 1996, there is multi billion dollars of school construction needs across the state.  The bond as proposed in House Bill 866 will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs. The legislation has passed the House Education K-12 Committee and now heads to the House Finance Committee. Please contact your House members and ask them to support this legislation. A few talking points include:
    • ​In 2015-20-16, DPI identified $8.1 billion of K-12 school capital needs over the next 5 year.
    • Since the 1940's, the state has averaged a bond issuance every 10 years for public school construction needs. The last bond issued for this need was 21 years ago.
    • The bond will help many LEAs comply with new K-3 class size requirements
    • Public school construction bonds create jobs statewide
    • ​Could improve economic development opportunities for poor counties


  • The House Finance Committee will meet tomorrow morning and discuss House Bill 333, which provides counties with additional flexibility with regard to their local option sales and use tax to meet public education needs. 


May 18, 2017

The General Assembly remains relatively quiet this week with most of the work being done behind closed doors as the House works to craft its budget, which will likely emerge after Memorial Day. While things are somewhat quiet, now is a good time to remind our members what issues are burning and where they can help:

  • Budget Issues:  A document compiled by NCASA outlining items found in the Senate's 2017-2019 budget that NCASA supports, opposes, or feels need further revision, can be found here.  This document could be helpful as talking points our members may have with their House and Senate legislators.
  • School Bond Legislation (H866):​   The legislation would put a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond before voters on the 2018 ballot. As there as not been a statewide school construction bond since 1996, there is multi billion dollars of school construction needs across the state.  The bond as proposed in House Bill 866 will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs. The legislation has passed the House Education K-12 Committee and now heads to the House Finance Committee. Please contact members of the House Finance Committee and ask them to support this legislation.
  • Calendar Flexibility: Several weeks ago the House passed two bills granting LEAs school calendar flexibility. Now that the crossover deadline has passed, and the Senate has passed its budget, the time is now for the Senate to take up one of the bills previously passed by the House. We urge our members to contact your Senator(s) and urge them to take action on one of the following bills:
    • House Bill 375, authorizing LEAs to schedule its start date in order to coincide with the start date of a community college serving the city or county of the LEA, but no earlier than August 15. 
    • House Bill 389, would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school year. 
  • Elimination of Pension & Retiree Health Benefits (S467)​:  This legislation only impacts new hires hired on or after July 1, 2018 and would eliminate health benefits for retirees and move new hires from the current TSERS' pension plan to a 401(k) type retirement plan. The bill does not impact current state employees, TSERS' members, or current retirees.  The bill was previously discussed in the Senate Pension and Retirement Committee, and could come back for a vote at any time. Please contact members of that Committee and let them know how eliminating these benefits will impact recruitment and retainment in your district.  



May 17, 2017

  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met and discussed legislation aimed at increasing the number of good teachers in classrooms statewide. The bill, Senate Bill 599, replaces lateral entry preparation programs with a new form of licensure, along with expanding and authorizing new education preparation programs.  The bill was for discussion only with the bill sponsor soliciting more feedback in order to come to a revised bill that will likely be voted on by the Committee next week.


May 16, 2017

  • The House Education K-12 Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 866, Public School Building Bond Act of 2017. The legislation would put a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond before voters on the 2018 ballot. As there as not been a statewide school construction bond since 1996, there is multi billion dollars of school construction needs across the state.  The bond as proposed in House Bill 866 will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs. The proposal now heads to the House Finance Committee for further consideration and could be heard as early as Thursday. Please contact members of the House Finance Committee and ask them to support this vital  legislation.
  • ​The House Transportation Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 644, which provides grants to qualifying charter schools to pay for up to 65% of student transportation costs incurred by the school.  To qualify,  the charter must have an enrollment of  50% of its students residing in households with an income level not in excess of the amount required for a student to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program in a semester of the school year.


May 15, 2017

A document compiled by NCASA outlining items found in the Senate's 2017-2019 budget that NCASA supports, opposes, or feels need further revision, can be found here.  This document could be helpful as talking points our members may have with their House and Senate legislators.

The Week Ahead:

  • The House Education K-12 Committee will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss House Bill 866, Public School Building Bond Act of 2017. The legislation would put a $1.9 billion statewide school construction bond before voters on the 2018 ballot. As there as not been a statewide school construction bond since 1996, there is multi billion dollars of school construction needs across the state.  The bond as proposed in House Bill 866 will provide a significant infusion of one-time funds to help LEAs begin to address some of these critical needs. Please contact members of the House K-12 Committee and ask them to support this legislation.


May 12, 2017

The Senate gave final approval to its 2017-2019 budget very early in the morning.  There were a few amendments passed on the Senate floor impacting the K-12 budget that were not reflected in NCASA's previous Senate budget summary.  Those amendments are as follows:

  • ​Amendment 4, prohibiting the transfer of funds out of the textbooks and digital resources allotment.
  • Amendment 15, altering those LEAs included in the expanded Turning TAs into Teachers program.


Action Alert: Contact Your Senators Regarding Calendar Flexibility

Several weeks ago the House passed two bills granting LEAs school calendar flexibility. Now that the crossover deadline has passed, and the Senate has passed its budget, the time is now for the Senate to take up one of the bills previously passed by the House. We urge our members to contact your Senator(s) and urge them to take action on one of the following bills:

  • House Bill 375, authorizing LEAs to schedule its start date in order to coincide with the start date of a community college serving the city or county of the LEA, but no earlier than August 15
  • House Bill 389, would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school year. 


May 11, 2017

  • The Senate budget is expected to receive initial approval by the full Senate in a vote later this evening and its third and final vote sometime Friday morning, possibly as early as just after midnight.  The budget language can be found  here, along with a money report here
  • ​A comparison chart, compiled by DPI, of the Governor’s proposed budget and the budget proposed by the Senate can be seen here.
  • NCASA's full summary of the Senate's budget can be found here.
  • Section 6.6(b) of the Senate budget provides for annual $10 million increases to the Opportunity Scholarship Grant (Vouchers) Fund Reserve over the next 10 years, topping out at an annual funding level of $144,840,000 by 2026-2027. The budget directs in future years for the Director of the Budget to include these voucher appropriation increases in the  base budget.


May 10, 2017

  • The Senate budget has been released and can be found here, while the money report can be found here. NCASA is in the process of drafting a full analysis of the K-12 budget which will be included in this week's In the Know newsletter, as well as posted on this blog.
  • To view NCASA's analysis of the new school-based administrator pay plans and bonus program, please click here.

​​

May 9, 2017

  • President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), has a press conference scheduled for 3:30 p.m. this afternoon where he is expected to provide highlights of the Senate's 2017-2019 budget. That press conference can be heard here, and WRAL-TV will likely broadcast it online here. The Senate budget will likely be released online sometime late this afternoon or this evening. The Senate is expected to run the budget through committees tomorrow and hold floor votes on it on Thursday and Friday (possibly just after midnight on Friday morning).
  • The Senate budget is set to roll out later this afternoon. Senate leadership held a news conference this afternoon and provided the following highlights, with further detail to come once the budget is released later this evening:
    • ​​Spending focused on improving outcomes in public education
    • Increases spending 2.5% over last year's  adopted budget
    • $600M more in public education spending
    • 3.7% raise for teacher, 9% over two years, also will receive a step-increase
    • $28.5 M for principal and AP pay increases, options for principals to earn up to $15,000 in bonus pay
    • No principal pay block grant, will be a new principal salary schedule
    • $200M for state employee and other school personnel raises, $750 or 1.5% raise, whichever is greater
    • $75M for school construction dollars for high need district
    • Funding for thousands additional slots to pre-k
    • Teaching Fellows program reinstated for STEM teachers
    • Codifies previously stated promise to fund enhancement teacher in 2018-2019
      ​​

May 8, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • The Senate's 2017-2019 budget is expected to emerge early this week, with a vote on the plan by week's end. The plan will include the Senate's salary and funding priorities, as well as possible changes to the TSERS retirement system and an expansion of school choice initiatives. Please check back later this week for links to the Senate budget and Senate money report. NCASA will have a more thorough analysis of the budget in this week's In The Know. Once the Senate passes its budget, the House will then begin to work on their own separate budget plan before the two chambers come together to hammer out a final compromise budget later this year.


May 5, 2017

  • A document summarizing where legislation of note currently stands this legislative session can be found here.


May 4, 2017

  • Day 2 of the State Board of Education's monthly meeting is being held today in Raleigh. An agenda for today's meeting, along with all materials, can be found here.


May 3, 2017

  • The General Assembly remains relatively quiet, at least publicly, as much of the legislature's work is currently being done behind closed doors as the Senate prepares to roll out its 2017-2019 spending plan, which is expected to be released as early as next week.
  • Day 1 of the State Board of Education's monthly meeting is being held today in Raleigh. An agenda for today's meeting, along with materials, can be found here
  • The Senate Pensions and Retirement Committee met this afternoon and discussed Senate Bill 467. This legislation only impacts new hires hired on or after July 1, 2018 and would eliminate health benefits for retirees and move new hires from the current TSERS' pension plan to a 401(k) type retirement plan. The bill does not impact current state employees, TSERS' members, or current retirees.  The bill was slated for discussion only.  It may be voted upon by the Committee as early as next week or simply be rolled into the Senate's budget proposal which is likely to emerge next week or the week after. 


May 1, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • ​In addition to its usual monthly meetings on Wednesday and Thursday this week, the NC State Board of Education will also hold a planning session on Tuesday afternoon focusing on the Every Student Succeeds Act.


April 28, 2017

  • This week marked the point in the legislative session known as "Crossover".  “Crossover” is that date self-imposed by the General Assembly by which statewide policy bills must pass from one chamber to the other to keep them eligible for action in the 2017 Legislative Session. The Crossover deadline does not apply to bills which require funding appropriations. A list of legislation meeting the General Assembly’s “Crossover” deadline can be found here.
  • On the heels of its full passage of the General Assembly, Governor Roy Cooper quickly signed House Bill 13, modifying the maximum average class size requirements and individual class size requirements for kindergarten through third grade, into law yesterday evening. This is compromise legislation which NCASA helped draft. The bill modifies  a provision in the 2016 state budget mandating further reductions in K-3 class size and calls for a two-year phase-in that lawmakers have pledged to supplement with new funding for enhancement teachers in 2018-19 when class sizes will dip again.A press release can be found here.


April 27, 2017

  • The House gave final approval to the following legislation this afternoon:
    • House Bill 13modifying the maximum average class size requirements and individual class size requirements for kindergarten through third grade. This is compromise legislation which NCASA helped draft. The bill modifies  a provision in the 2016 state budget mandating further reductions in K-3 class size and calls for a two-year phase-in that lawmakers have pledged to supplement with new funding for enhancement teachers in 2018-19 when class sizes will dip again.A press release can be found here.
    • House Bill 514, allowing the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill to apply to open charter schools (due to a procedural error yesterday's vote needed to be re-done).


April 26, 2017

  • The following bills were given final approval on the House floor this afternoon and now head to the Senate for consideration:
    • ​​​House Bill 514, allowing the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill to apply to open charter schools.
    • ​​House Bill 600, providing for additional flexibility to LEAs to enter into leases for school buildings and other facilities and revise the procedures for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. 
    • House Bill 21, requiring driver instruction on law enforcement procedures during  traffic stops.
  • The following bills are scheduled to be taken up by the House later this evening:
    • House Bill 670, making the threat of mass violence on educational property or at an exracurricular actvity a felony. 
    • House Bill 681decreasing the burden on spouses of military personnel who are licensed teachers in obtaining a NC teacher license
    • House Bill 704establishing a joint legislative study committee to study the division of LEAs.
    • House Bill 751, requiring all students who receive a high school diploma endorsement to demonstrate a certain level of reading achievement.
    • House Bill 779making various changes to charter school laws including enrollment priority, enrollment growth rate triggering a material revision, student performance data reporting, and clarifying that charter schools may operate NC Pre-K programs.
    • House Bill 826, modifying the definition of "low-performing schools" to remove those schools which met expected growth.
  • The Senate is scheduled to take up Senate Bill 531 tonight, which repeals the statutory authority of a LEA to sue counties over the sufficiency of funds appropriated by the Board of County Commissioners.


April 25, 2017

  • A compromise version of House Bill 13, concerning K-3 class sizes, was approved last night in the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee and again this morning in the Senate Rules Committee.  The bill could be on the Senate floor this afternoon.  A press release providing details of the compromise can be found here
  • The House Education K-12 Committee met this morning and approved the following legislation:
    • House Bill 826, modifying the definition of "low-performing schools" to remove those schools which met expected growth.
    • House Bill 553, directing DPI to study the advisability of including lane departure to the actual driving portion of the driver education curriculum. This bill gained approval in the full House later in the day.  
    • House Bill 704, establishing a joint legislative study committee to study the division of LEAs.
    • House Bill 681, decreasing the burden on spouses of military personnel who are licensed teachers in obtaining a NC teacher license.
    • House Bill 849, restoring the authority of the Educational Longitudinal Data System to a governance board.
    • House Bill 600, providing for additional flexibility to LEAs to enter into leases for school buildings and other facilities and revise the procedures for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. 
    • House Bill 21, requiring driver instruction on law enforcement procedures during  traffic stops.
    • House Bill 840, allowing for the payment of bonuses earned by qualifying third grade teachers, AP/IB teachers, and CTE teachers who would have otherwise received the bonuses due to meeting specific requirements.
    • House Bill 751, requiring all students who receive a high school diploma endorsement to demonstrate a certain level of reading achievement.
  • ​​​The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and approved Senate Bill 531, repealing the statutory authority of a LEA to sue counties over the sufficiency of funds appropriated by the Board of County Commissioners. A similar House bill gained approved in a House committee last week, and was referred to another committee where it is awaiting action.
  • ​The House Rules Committee approved House Bill 855, establishing the first Tuesday of the first full week in May of each year as Teacher Appreciation Day in North Carolina.
  • The following bills gained full approval on the House Floor:
    • House Bill 534, requiring the State Board of Education to develop and identify courses in computer programming and coding that can be offered as an elective course in middle school and high school. 
    • House Bill 800, making various changes to charter school laws including enrollment priorities, and defining who may be eligible to teach at a charter school to allow employees of education or charter management organization to serve as teachers. One provision of the bill would have required county commissioners, and not the LEA, provide charter schools with per pupil funding amounts, however, that provision was amended out of the bill.  
    • House Bill 806, requiring a student and family fair notice and an impact statement prior to the closing or restructuring of a charter school.
  • ​The following bills gained full approval on the House Floor and now head to the Senate for consideration:
    • House Bill 13, phasing in the reduced class size requirements found in last year's budget legislation.
    • ​​Senate Bill 15, requiring additional classroom teacher allotments for geographically isolated schools meeting certain requirements. The bill was for discussion only and will likely be voted upon during the Committee's next meeting.
  • ​​The House Finance Committee met tonight and approved the following legislation:
    • House Bill 600, providing for additional flexibility to LEAs to enter into leases for school buildings and other facilities and revise the procedures for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. 
    • House Bill 779, making various changes to charter school laws including enrollment priority, enrollment growth rate triggering a material revision, student performance data reporting, and clarifying that charter schools may operate NC Pre-K programs. A provision granting a tax exemption for personal property that is owned or leased by a charter school and is wholly and exclusively used for educational purposes was amended out and removed from the bill.


April 24, 2017

CROSSOVER WEEK!- This week at the General Assembly promises to be a flurry of activity, with sessions and committee meetings likely to go late in to the night, as the “Crossover” deadline is set for next Thursday, April 27. "Crossover" is that date self-imposed by the General Assembly by which statewide policy bills must pass from one chamber to the other to keep them eligible for action in the 2017 Legislative Session. As the week promises to see action on hundreds of policy bills, NCASA asks that you keep an eye on your emails next week for any NCASA action alerts, as they may require timely action on your part to help stop legislation with a negative impact on public schools. NCASA will do its best to keep this blog up to date with all the happenings this week, starting with committee meetings today.  However, the legislative schedule and pace this week will be frantic and require NCASA to be in multiple places at the same time and may prevent us from being as thorough in our updating as usual.


  • A compromise solution to House Bill 13, concerning K-3 class size, that NCASA helped broker is set to emerge in a Senate Committee meeting tonight around 6:00 p.m.  A press release from the General Assembly containing the details of the compromise should be released shortly thereafter.  
  • ​The House Education K-12 Committee met this afternoon and approved the following legislation:
    • House Bill 514, allowing the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill to apply to open charter schools. 
    • House Bill 534, requiring the State Board of Education to develop and identify courses in computer programming and coding that can be offered as an elective course in middle school and high school. 
    • House Bill 779, making various changes to charter school laws including enrollment priority, enrollment growth rate triggering a material revision, student performance data reporting, and clarifying that charter schools may operate NC Pre-K programs.
    • House Bill 800, making various changes to charter school laws including enrollment priorities, and defining who may be eligible to teach at a charter school to allow employees of education or charter management organization to serve as teachers. One provision of the bill would have required county commissioners, and not the LEA, provide charter schools with per pupil funding amounts, however, that provision was amended out of the bill.  
    • House Bill 806, requiring a student and family fair notice and an impact statement prior to the closing or restructuring of a charter school.
  • ​Legislation eliminating the ability of school districts to sue their board of county commissioners over the sufficiency of funding is making its way through the General Assembly, with a Senate committee tomorrow.  Please click here to read more about where this legislation is in the House and Senate, and what our members can do to help.


April 20, 2017

  • The House Education K-12 Committee met this morning and gave approval to the following bills:
    • House Bill 285, providing for a training program on youth suicide awareness and prevention, as well as a risk referral protocol for school personnel. Requires the training be provided to all school personnel working directly with students in grades 6-12 every two years. 
    • House Bill 556, establishing the Office of Early Childhood Education that would be housed administratively in DPI but exercise its powers independently of DPI.
    • House Bill 634, directing the State Board of Education to approve certain qualifying alternative lateral entry educator preparation programs.
    • House Bill 725, directing DPI to study and make recommendations regarding the funding structures in place to provide mental health support in public schools. The bill gained full approval in the House later in the day.
    • House Bill 833, establishing an Office of Driver Education Services to administer the driver education program in DPI.
    • House Bill 838, authorizing the Superintendent of Public Instruction to hire 5 staff members using recurring funds from vacant positions within DPI.


April 19, 2017

  • The House State and Local Government I Committee will met this morning and approved House Bill 305, which repeals the statutory authority of a LEA to sue counties over the sufficiency of funds appropriated by the Board of County Commissioners. The bill now heads to the House Judiciary IV Committee.
  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and considered the following legislation:
    • Senate Bill 15, requiring additional classroom teacher allotments for geographically isolated schools meeting certain requirements. The bill was for discussion only and will likely be voted upon during the Committee's next meeting.
    • Senate Bill 461, making modifications to the governance and operation of the University of North Carolina Laboratory Schools as established under last year's budget.  This bill was approved by the Committee.
  • ​The House State and Local Government II Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 482, making a statutory cross-reference in law to clarify the role of the County Commissioners in school building acquisition.  The bill gained approval by the full House later in the day. 
  • The House Education Community Colleges Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon and take up House Bill 132, creating the high achieving tuition scholarship program for top-performing high school students attending a North Carolina Community College.


April 17, 2017

The Week Ahead

The General Assembly is still on "Spring Break" for the first part of this week, but will be working busily staring Wednesday as the crossover deadline is quickly approaching next week.  "Crossover" is that date self-imposed by the General Assembly by which statewide policy bills must pass from one chamber to the other to keep them eligible for action in the 2017 Legislative Session.

  • The House State and Local Government I Committee will meet Wednesday morning and is scheduled to take up House Bill 305, which repeals the statutory authority of a LEA to sue counties over the sufficiency of funds appropriated by the Board of County Commissioners.
  • The House State and Local Government II Committee will meet Wednesday morning and is scheduled to take up House Bill 482, clarifying the role of the County Commissioners in school building acquisitions.
  • ​The Senate Health Committee will meet on Wednesday morning and consider Senate Bill 316, directing the State Board of Education to develop a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and a model risk referral protocol for LEAs to provide to school personnel who work directly with students in grades K through 12.
  • ​The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon and take up the following legislation:
    • ​​Senate Bill 461, making various governance and operational changes to the UNC Lab Schools established under last year's budget legislation.
    • Senate Bill 15, providing for teacher allotments for geographically isolated K-12 schools.
  • The House Education Community Colleges Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon and take up House Bill 132, creating the high achieving tuition scholarship program for top-performing high school students attending a North Carolina Community College.
  • The House Education K-12 Committee will meet Thursday and take up the following legislation:
    • ​​House Bill 285, directing the State Board of Education to develop a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and a model risk referral protocol for LEAs to provide to school personnel who work directly with students in grades 6 through 12.
    • House Bill 556, establishing the Office of Early Childhood Education.
    • House Bill 634, directing the State Board of Education to approve certain qualifying alternative lateral entry teacher education preparation programs.
    • House Bill 838, providing for additional personnel to support the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • ​​On Thursday the Board of Trustees for the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System will hold its quarterly meeting.  An agenda for this meeting, as well as all materials, can be found here.


April 13, 2017

Rep. Hugh Blackwell, (R-Burke) has solicited NCASA's feedback on legislation which he filed earlier this week. House Bill 751 would direct the State Board of Education, for the purpose of awarding any high school diploma endorsements, to require students to have received on a nationally norm-referenced college admissions test for reading, and receive a benchmark score established by the testing organization that represents the level of achievement required for students to have approximately a fifty percent (50%) chance of obtaining a grade B or higher or a seventy-five percent (75%) chance of obtaining a grade C or higher in a corresponding credit-bearing first-year college course. Under the legislation, a student may retake a nationally norm-referenced test as many times as necessary to achieve the required benchmark score for reading in order to receive a high school diploma endorsement prior to the student's exit from high school. 


Please 
review the legislation and send your feedback to NCASA Executive Director Katherine Joyce at kjoyce@ncasa.net by the end of the day next Wednesday, April 19, 2017.


April 12, 2017

The General Assembly is on "Spring Break" the rest of this week and part of next.  The General Assembly is not expected to take up any business before next Wednesday, April 19.


April 11, 2017

The General Assembly is stacked full of committee meetings today as legislators are scheduled to take a week long "Spring Break" starting tomorrow through next Tuesday.

  • The House approved House Bill 149 this afternoon. The bill was approved in the House Education K-12 Committee earlier today. The bill requires the State Board of Education to define dyslexia as part of its policies for specific learning disabilities, and directs the Board to ensure that ongoing professional development opportunities are made available to teachers and other school personnel on the identification of and intervention strategies for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other learning disabilities. The bill also directs LEAs to review the diagnostic tools and screening instruments used for these learning disabilities to ensure they are age-appropriate and effective.  
  • ​The House Finance Committee met this morning and discussed House Bill 103, which phases in an expansion of the benefits from state and federal retirement plans that are exempt from the State income tax. The bill was for discussion only and will likely be voted upon during the next meeting of the Committee.
  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and approved a series of bills related to teacher recruitment, retention and preparation.  Those bills which were approved were:
    • Senate Bill 448, authorizing LEAs to employ higher education faculty members to serve as adjunct instructors for core academic subjects without having to obtain a teaching license.  
    • Senate Bill 517, providing for highly qualified graduates to be paid at a higher experience level on the teacher salary schedule when meeting certain qualifications, and providing for reimbursement of the fee for initial teacher licensure for successful applicants who are graduates of in-state educator preparation programs.
    • Senate Bill 598, establishing "Future Teachers of North Carolina" as a high school course offering to encourage high-achieving students with strong academics, interpersonal, and leadership skills to consider teaching as a career.
    • Senate Bill 462, directing the the UNC System to consider and evaluate the feasibility of applying for and implementing the UTEACH program as part of the curricula offered by the UNC System. UTEACH is a model program developed by the University of Texas at Austin that allows students to obtain the necessary requirements for a secondary teaching license at the same time as earning a STEM degree.
    • Senate Bill 447, expanding the teacher assistant tuition reimbursement pilot program established in last year's budget legislation to include 10 additional LEAs.​ Those LEAs are:  Bertie County Schools, Duplin County Schools, Edenton-Chowan Schools, Edgecombe County Schools, Halifax County Schools, Nash-Rocky Mount Schools, Northampton County Schools, Tyrrell County Schools, Vance County Schools, and Washington County Schools.  
  • ​​The House approved House Bill 532, making various governance and operational changes to the UNC Lab Schools established under last year's budget legislation.  The bill gained approval in the House Education Universities Committtee earlier in the day.


April 10, 2017

The Week Ahead

  • Today the Senate is poised to give final approval to Senate Bill 312, which would allow surplus computer to be refurbished and donated to low-income students and households. 
  • ​The House is set to give final approval of House Bill 375 today. The bill authorizes LEAs to schedule its start date in order to coincide with the start date of a community college serving the city or county of the LEA, but no earlier than August 15. The bill was given preliminary approval by a 100-8 vote last week.
  • ​On Tuesday the House Finance Committee will meet and consider House Bill 103, providing for equal income tax treatment of government retirees' benefits.
  • ​The House Education K-12 Committee will meet on Tuesday and consider House Bill 149, requiring a screening program to identify students with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.
  • ​The House Education Universities will consider House Bill 532 on Tuesday afternoon. The bill modifies the governance and operations of the University of North Carolina Laboratory Schools which were created in last year's budget.
  • The General Assembly is set to take a "Spring Break" from this Wednesday until next Tuesday and is not expected to take up any committee work or votes during this time. 

​​

April 6, 2017

  • The House met this afternoon and debated, and voted on, the following legislation:
    • Initial approval was given to House Bill 375, authorizing LEAs to schedule its start date in order to coincide with the start date of a community college serving the city or county of the LEA, but no earlier than August 15. Though the bill passed 2nd Reading 100-8, the 3rd and final reading was objected to, leaving final approval for next week.
    • House Bill 389, would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school year. The bill gained full approval by a vote of 104-6, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
    • House Bill 450, establishing business advocacy councils in every LEA to help identify jobs that need to be filled and directs LEAs to offer at least two work-based learning opportunities. The bill also expands CTE opportunities from grades 6-12 to grades 5-12.  The bill gained full approval.
  • The State Board of Education is holding day two of its monthly meeting today.  The agenda for today's meeting, along with all materials, can be found here.
  • The Senate Health Committee met this morning and approved Senate Bill 218, making various administrative changes to the statutes governing the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

​​

April 5, 2017

  • The State Board of Education is holding day one of its monthly meeting today.  The agenda for today's meeting, along with all materials, can be found here.
  • The House Commerce and Job Development Committee met this morning and gave approval to House Bill 389. This bill  would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school year. The bill previously gained approval in the House Education K-12 Committee and now heads to the House floor for consideration.
  • The Senate Health Committee met this morning and discussed Senate Bill 218, making various administrative changes to the statutes governing the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.  The bill will likely be voted upon by the Committee tomorrow.
  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and approved the following two bills:
    • Senate Bill 252, which reestablishes the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program for STEM and Special Education licensure areas. 
    • Senate Bill 78, directing DPI to study, report, and provide data to the Fiscal Research Division and Program Evaluation Division of the General Assembly on the cost of compliance with federal education funding mandates to LEAs.
  • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee met this afternoon and approved House Bill 497, providing for a 2% Cost-of-Living-Adjustment for members of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.

​​

April 4, 2017

  • The House Education K-12 Committee met this morning and approved the following legislation:​
    • ​​House Bill 117, Requires LEAs adopt a policy for criminal background checks for teachers for licensure and for all other school personnel applicants.
    • House Bill 132, Creates the high achieving tuition scholarship program for top-performing high school students attending a North Carolina Community College.

            A third bill,House Bill 149, was scheduled for consideration, but was held over until next week.

  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this morning and discussed Senate Bill 252, which reestablishes the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program for STEM and Special Education licensure areas. The Committee is expected to approve the bill tomorrow. The House approved the House version of this legislation last week.
  • The House Education Community Colleges Committee met this afternoon and approved House Bill 450.  The bill establishes business advocacy councils in every LEA to help identify jobs that need to be filled and directs LEAs to offer at least two work-based learning opportunities.  Also expands CTE opportunities from grades 6-12 to grades 5-12.  
  • The House Transportation Committee gave approval to House Bill 21, directing that driver education curriculum include instruction on law enforcement procedures for traffic stops that is developed in consultation with the State Highway Patrol, the North Carolina Sheriff's Association, the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, and the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association. The instruction must provide a description of the actions that a motorist should take during a traffic stop, 32 including appropriate interactions with law enforcement officers. The bill next heads to the House Education K-12 Committee for further consideration.


April 3, 2017

The Week Ahead

  • The House Education K-12 Committee will meet Tuesday morning and is scheduled to take up the following bills:​
  • The House Education Community Colleges Committee will meet Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled to take up the following bill:
  • ​​The Commerce and Job Development Committee will meet Wednesday morning and will take up the following:
    • House Bill 389, School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program.  This bill  would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school year.  We urge you to contact members of the House Commerce Committee and ask them to support this legislation. 
  • ​​The House Pensions and Retirement Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon and consider the following legislation:
  • ​​​On Wednesday, House Bill 375 is scheduled to be considered by the full House.  The bill authorizes LEAs to schedule its start date in order to coincide with the start date of a community college serving the city or county of the LEA, but no earlier than August 15. NCASA urges you to contact your House members and ask them to support and pass this important measure for school districts across the state.
  • The State Board of Education will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
    • ​To see the agenda and meeting materials for Wednesday's meeting, please click here.
    • To see the agenda and meeting materials for Thursday's meeting, please click here.

​​

March 30,  2017

  • The House met this afternoon and gave final approval to House Bill 458, which amends the A-F School Performance Grade to provide for two separate grades, one for achievement and one for growth. Currently schools receive just one grade calculated by weighing 80% achievement and 20% growth. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. The bill will likely be voted upon tomorrow by the House.
  • The House Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 302, allowing teachers employed at Department of Defense schools to be clinical educators.


March 29, 2017

  • The House met this afternoon and was scheduled to give final approval to two education related bills.  However, both were withdrawn from the calendar.  Those bills were:
    • House Bill 458, which amends the A-F School Performance Grade to provide for two separate grades, one for achievement and one for growth. Currently schools receive just one grade calculated by weighing 80% achievement and 20% growth. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. The bill will likely be voted upon tomorrow by the House.
    • ​​House Bill 375, granting LEAs the opportunity to align their start date with their local community college, but no earlier than August 15. This bill was rescheduled for a vote on April 5th.  
  • The House State and Local Government Committee met this morning and approved the following bills:
    • House Bill 265​would make the local school board elections partisan in the following counties: Beaufort, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, and Yancey
    • House Bill 293, would make the Onslow and Pender County Board of Education elections a partisan election, and clarifies the election method for the board of education in Swain County

March 28, 2017

  • The House Education K-12 Committee met this morning and approved the following legislation:
    • House Bill 458, would amend the A-F School Performance Grade to provide for two separate grades, one for achievement and one for growth. Currently schools receive just one grade calculated by weighing 80% achievement and 20% growth. 
    • House Bill 450, establishes business advocacy councils in every LEA to help identify jobs that need to be filled and directs LEAs to offer at least two work-based learning opportunities.  Also expands CTE opportunities from grades 6-12 to grades 5-12.  
    • House Bill 375, grants LEAs the opportunity to align their start date with their local community college, but no earlier than August 15.
    • House Bill 389, would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school years

            The two calendar bills, House Bill 375 and House Bill 389, now head to the House Commerce Committee for consideration. We urge you to contact    

            members of the House Commerce Committee and ask them to support this legislation. 

  • The House Appropriations Committee on Capital met this morning and received a presentation on Public School Facility Needs by the NC School Boards Association and NC Association of County Commissioners.
  • The House Education on Universities Committee met this afternoon and approved House Bill 339. The bill re-establishes the NC Teaching Fellows Program to provide forgivable loans to students preparing to be licensed teachers in STEM subject areas and special education.


March 27, 2017

The Week Ahead:

  • The House Education K-12 Committee will meet on Tuesday and take up two calendar flexibility bills. If the bills pass that committee on Tuesday, the bills could be heard in the House Commerce Committee as early as Wednesday before being heard on the House floor as early as Thursday. The legislation up for consideration next week are the following:
    • House Bill 375 grants LEAs the opportunity to align their start date with their local community college, but no earlier than August 15.
    • House Bill 389 would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school years

          NCASA urges all of our members to contact members of the House Education K-12 Committee and ask them to support both of these calendar          
          flexibility bills. Please contact members of the 
House Commerce Committee as well and urge their support for these measures when/if they are before                 the House Commerce Committee. 

  • The House Education Universities Committee will meet on Tuesday and will consider House Bill 339, which reestablishes the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program for STEM and Special Education licensure areas.
  • The House Appropriations on Capital Committee will meet Tuesday and will receive a presentation by the North Carolina School Boards Association and North Carolina County Commissioners Association on the capital needs of LEAs.
  • ​NCASA is hosting our annual Conference on Educational Leadership this week on March 30-31 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro.  We look forward to seeing you there!  If you haven't already, Register Now!


March 24, 2017

  • ​The House Education K-12 Committee will meet on Tuesday and take up two calendar flexibility bills. If the bills pass that committee on Tuesday, the bills could be heard in the House Commerce Committee as early as Wednesday before being heard on the House floor as early as Thursday. The legislation up for consideration next week are the following:
    • House Bill 375 grants LEAs the opportunity to align their start date with their local community college, but no earlier than August 15.
    • House Bill 389 would pilot calendar flexibility for 20 LEAs and allow those LEAs to start school no earlier than August 10 for three school years

          NCASA urges all of our members to contact members of the House Education K-12 Committee and ask them to support both of these calendar          

          flexibility bills. Please contact members of the House Commerce Committee as well and urge their support for these measures when/if they are before             the House Commerce Committee. 


March 23, 2017


March 22, 2017

  • The State Health Plan Board of Trustees met this afternoon and by a 5-3 vote approved the following State Health Plan changes, effective January 1, 2018:
    • Eliminate the CDHP 85/15 plan offering.
    • Reduce the number of wellness premiums/credits from three to one, by retaining only the tobacco attestation requirement on the 70/30* and 80/20 plans.
      • Subscribers who are not tobacco users or enroll in a Plan-approved tobacco cessation program will receive a $60 credit toward their monthly premium.
    • Charge the following subscriber premiums:
      • 70/30 Plan* = $25.00
      • 80/20 Plan = $50.00
    • Freeze premium rates for the family coverage tier on the 70/30 and 80/20 plans at the 2017 level.
    • Discontinue enrollment in the Stork Rewards Program March 31, 2017, to phase out the program by the end of 2017.
  • The Senate is met late this afternoon and gave final approval to Senate Bill 169, sending it to the House for consideration. This bill, filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, expands the teacher 3rd grade reading bonuses which were included in last year's budget. The budget provision allowed for certain 3rd grade teacher bonuses but required the teacher to be teaching 3rd grade the year the bonus was distributed, even though the bonus was earned the previous school year. This bill fixes some of the issues that that made a teacher ineligible for a bonus they would have otherwise qualified for when a teacher was removed from teaching 3rd grade and assigned to teach another grade level. The bill also has a similar impact for AP and International Baccalaureate teachers that would have otherwise received a bonus if they had remained employed teaching those advanced courses the year after the bonus was earned.
  • The House approved two education related bills during its floor session this afternoon, sending them to the Senate for consideration. Those bills were:
    • House Bill 90 - Eliminates the NC Final Exam and analysis of student work process as measures used to evaluate teacher performance and instead use school-wide growth values for teachers who teach less than 60% of their time in end-of-grade or end-of-course subjects.
    • House Bill 155 - Allows a retired teacher with 30 years or more experience to teach in an LEA regardless of licensure status. Additionally allows retired principal, retired assistant principal, or retired teacher to serve as an interim principal for the remainder of any school year regardless of the school administrator certification status .
  • The House Health Committee met this morning and approved two bills which now head to the House Education K-12 Committee for further consideration.  Those bills are:
    • House Bill 116 - Requires the State Board of Education and LEAs to educate participants involved in school athletics on sudden cardiac arrest and heat-related illnesses. Requires coaches to be CPR certified.  Directs the State Board to establish a database on the occurrence of injury and illnesses of students participating in athletic activities. 
    • House Bill 285 - Directs the State Board of Education to develop a youth suicide awareness and prevention training program and a model risk referral protocol for LEAs to provide to school personnel who work directly with students in grades 6 through 12. LEAs are required to provide the training to school personnel who work directly with students.
  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met jointly with the Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources Committee to discuss workforce development in North Carolina.  The Committees received presentations on this issue from the Department of Commerce and North Carolina Community College System.


March 21, 2017

  • The Senate gave final approval to the following bills this afternoon:
    • Senate Bill 55 - Authorizes counties to adopt ordinances providing for civil penalties for passing a stopped school bus.
    • Senate Bill 64 - Establishes November as Veterans' History Awareness Month and directs the State Board of Education to develop programs regarding the contributions of veterans.  Encourages school to collaborate with veterans and veterans' service organizations during Veterans' History Awareness Month.
    • Senate Bill 68 - Encourages LEAs to adopt student attendance recognition programs and, if adopted, requires that students serving as legislative or Governor's pages be eligible for participation. 
    • Senate Bill 125 - Expands the definition of child for purposes of qualifying for certain scholarships award to the children of military veterans.
  • The House Education K-12 Committee met this morning and approved the following legislation:
    • House Bill 90 - Eliminates the NC Final Exam and analysis of student work process as measures used to evaluate teacher performance and instead use school-wide growth values for teachers who teach less than 60% of their time in end-of-grade or end-of-course subjects.
    • House Bill 155 - Allows a retired teacher with 30 years or more experience to teach in an LEA regardless of licensure status. Additionally allows retired principal, retired assistant principal, or retired teacher to serve as an interim principal for the remainder of any school year regardless of the school administrator certification status .
    • House Bill 302 - Allows teachers employed at Department of Defense schools to be clinical educators.
  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee on Education met this morning and heard presentations regarding the NC School of Science and Mathematics and degree completion in the UNC system.


March 20, 2017

  • NCASA sent a letter to all members of the Senate this morning concerning the impending K-3 class size ratio changes set to soon take place. 
  • The Week Ahead:
    • ​​The Joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee will continue meeting this week and continue preliminary work on the 2017-2019 budget
    • The House Education K-12 Committee will meet Tuesday morning and is expected to take up the following bills:
    • The House Health Committee will meet Wednesday morning and is expected to take up the following bills:
    • The State Health Plan Board of Trustees will meet on Wednesday afternoon.


March 16, 2017

  • NCASA, in conjunction with the North Carolina Principals & Assistant Principals' Association (NCPAPA) sent a letter to the sponsors of Senate Bill 234 expressing our concerns with the proposed method of paying principal salaries by providing a block grant dollar allotment to districts to contract with principals individually. Talking points outlining NCASA's and NCPAPA's concerns can be found here.
  • The House passed House Bill 235 this morning, and the bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. This legislation expands the eligibility for mentor teachers by lowering the criteria from "accomplished" to "proficient" and allowing for retired teachers to serve as teacher mentors.  This is due to a concern from some districts being able to find enough teacher mentors.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee met this morning and approved  Senate Bill 169.  This bill, filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, expands the teacher 3rd grade reading bonuses which were included in last year's budget. The budget provision allowed for certain 3rd grade teacher bonuses but required the teacher to be teaching 3rd grade the year the bonus was distributed, even though the bonus was earned the previous school year. This bill fixes some of the issues that that made a teacher ineligible for a bonus they would have otherwise qualified for when a teacher was removed from teaching 3rd grade and assigned to teach another grade level. The bill also has a similar impact for AP and International Baccalaureate teachers that would have otherwise received a bonus if they had remained employed teaching those advanced courses the year after the bonus was earned.The bill next heads the the Senate Rules Committee.


March 15, 2017

  • The House approved the following bills this afternoon, which now move to the Senate for consideration:
    • House Bill 322 - This legislation would increase the weight of school growth in the calculation of school performance grades from the current 20% to 50%. The 15-point scale would still be in place for school years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, at which point the scale would revert to a 10-point scale barring further action from the General Assembly.
    • House Bill 135 - This legislation makes technical statutory organizational  changes to  the statutes related to the Standard Course of Study, and does not make changes to the Standard Course of Study.
  • Two bills have recently been introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly that could drastically change the way interscholastic athletics operate in public schools statewide, since if either becomes law, students who do not attend a particular school would be allowed to play on any of the school’s athletic teams for the first time.  To view more information on these bills, and NCASA's concerns, please click here.
  • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee met  Wednesday afternoon and approved the following bills, which were also later approved by the full House and sent to the Senate:
    • House Bill 176 - Pensions Integrity Act
    • House Bill 183 - Retirement Admin. Changes of 2017
  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and heard a presentation on the University of North Carolina System enrollment growth and the enrollment growth adjustment model.


March 14, 2017

  • The House Education K-12 Committee will met this morning and approved the following bills, all of which will likely gain full House approval later this week:
    • House Bill 322 - This legislation would increase the weight of school growth in the calculation of school performance grades from the current 20% to 50%. The 15-point scale would still be in place for school years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, at which point the scale would revert to a 10-point scale barring further action from the General Assembly.
    • House Bill 90 - Eliminate NC Final Exam. This bill was not voted on, but was for discussion only.
    • House Bill 135 - This legislation makes technical statutory organizational  changes to  the statutes related to the Standard Course of Study, and does not make changes to the Standard Course of Study.
    • House Bill 235 - This legislation expands the eligibility for mentor teachers by lowering the criteria from "accomplished" to "proficient" and allowing for retired teachers to serve as teacher mentors.  This is due to a concern from some districts being able to find enough teacher mentors. 
  • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee met this afternoon and approved the following bills:
    • Senate Bill 64 - Establishes November as Veterans' History Awareness Month and directs the State Board of Education to develop programs regarding the contributions of veterans.  Encourages school to collaborate with veterans and veterans' service organizations during Veterans' History Awareness Month.
    • Senate Bill 68 - Encourages LEAs to adopt student attendance recognition programs and, if adopted, requires that students serving as legislative or Governor's pages be eligible for participation. 
    • Senate Bill 125 - Expands the definition of child for purposes of qualifying for certain scholarships award to the children of military veterans.
  • The full Senate approved Senate Bill 75.  This legislation would move to amend the NC Constitution to provide a cap on state income tax at 5.5%. This is potentially problematic for public schools as it would limit the ability of the State to raise revenue to keep up with growing student populations, possibly shifting the burden to local government to make up the revenue difference. The bill also limits the ability of future General Assemblies in how to effectively respond to unexpected fiscal and economic circumstances.
  • The Joint Senate and House Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and and received a presentation from the State Education Assistance Authority on Higher Education Financial Aid.


March 13, 2017

  • The Week Ahead
    • Governor Roy Cooper will deliver the State of the State address tonight to a joint session of the General Assembly
    • ​The Joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee will continue meeting this week and continue preliminary work on the 2017-2019 budget
    • The House Education K-12 Committee will meet Tuesday morning and is expected to take up the following bills:
    • The Senate Education/Higher Education Committee will meet Tuesday afternoon and is expected to take up the following bills:

    • ​​The House Pensions and Retirement Committee will meet Wednesday afternoon and is expected to take up the following bills:


March 10, 2017

  • House Bill 322 has been filed and would increase the weight of school growth in the calculation of school performance grades from the current 20% to 50%.
  • School Calendar Bill Update (courtesy of North Carolina School Boards Association)
    • As of March 10:

      - 41 local bills have been filed giving various types of calendar flexibility to 74 school systems.
      Local calendar flexibility bills filed in the Senate:  12
      Local calendar flexibility bills filed in the House:  29

      - 1 statewide bill allows all LEAs to begin school no earlier than August 10 (
      HB 53 sponsored by Reps. Cody Henson, Kevin Corbin, Mitch Setzer, and Michele Presnell).
      Click
      here to see if a calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA.

March 9, 2017

  • A press conference was held by Senate leaders, and State Superintendent Mark Johnson, regarding a new piece of legislation, Senate Bill 234, filed today providing for a new capital fund for the State's neediest counties and for school-based administrator pay. The plan provides a 7% increase for principals, but provides principal funds in a block grant, while providing a 13% increase tied to the teacher "A" scale for assistant-principals.  All new funds expended under these plans will be from Lottery revenue.  You can watch a replay of the press conference here
  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and reviewed a Program Evaluation Division's study on funding for North Carolina's community colleges.  
  • ​The Senate Rules Committee met and approved Senate Bill 75.  This legislation would move to amend the NC Constitution to provide a cap on state income tax at 5.5%. This is potentially problematic for public schools as it would limit the ability of the State to raise revenue to keep up with growing student populations, possibly shifting the burden to local government to make up the revenue difference. The bill also limits the ability of future General Assemblies in how to effectively respond to unexpected fiscal and economic circumstances. The bill could be on the Senate floor for a full vote by the Senate early next week.
  • Lawmakers today announced a plan for a new NC Teaching Fellows Program that will focus on STEM and Special Education.


March 8, 2017

  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and received a presentation on funding for community colleges.  
  • The House State and Local Government Committee met this morning and approved House Bill 55, which is a local bill authorizing the Apex police department to provide law enforcement assistance to the Cary police department on the grounds of the temporary Apex high school in Cary. This is a very local and specific bill impacting Wake County Schools only. The bill gained full House approval later in the afternoon.
  • The Senate Finance Committee met and approved Senate Bill 75.  This legislation would move to amend the NC Constitution to provide a cap on state income tax at 5.5%. This is potentially problematic for public schools as it would limit the ability of the State to raise revenue to keep up with growing student populations, possibly shifting the burden to local government to make up the revenue difference. The bill also limits the ability of future General Assemblies in how to effectively respond to unexpected fiscal and economic circumstances.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee met this afternoon and approved Senate Bill 55,  authorizing counties to adopt ordinances providing for civil penalties for passing a stopped school bus.


March 7, 2017

  • The Senate Higher Education/Education Committee met this afternoon and approved  Senate Bill 169.  This bill, filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, expands the teacher 3rd grade reading bonuses which were included in last year's budget. The budget provision allowed for certain 3rd grade teacher bonuses but required the teacher to be teaching 3rd grade the year the bonus was distributed, even though the bonus was earned the previous school year. This bill fixes some of the issues that that made a teacher ineligible for a bonus they would have otherwise qualified for when a teacher was removed from teaching 3rd grade and assigned to teach another gradelevel. The bill also has a similar impact for AP and International Baccalaureate teachers that would have otherwise received a bonus if they had remained employed teaching those advanced courses the year after the bonus was earned.The bill next heads the the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • A study by Duke Law School's Children's Law Clinic on the impact of school vouchers in North Carolina can be found here. 
  • ​The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and went over the Governor's recommended 2017-2019  budget for public education.  The newly named CFO of the Department of Public Instruction, Adam Levinson, then provided the Committee with the State Board of Education's budget, and non-budget, priorities.  A few Senators pointedly asked Levinson why the Board hasn't done more to implement a more stringent teacher background check policy.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee met this morning and discussed Senate Bill 61, which allows drivers under the age of 18 with provisional license to drive directly to or from a class held at a high school or post-secondary school after 9:00 p.m., if the driver is enrolled in the class.  The bill gained much discussion when an amendment was proposed to further allow the exception of driving directly to or from a worship service. Due to the amount of discussion and concern the bill was held over for further debate and information before a vote will be taken.  


March 6, 2017

  • The Week Ahead
    • ​The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee will continue meeting this week and is expected to discuss the Education portion of Governor Cooper's proposed budget. The Committee will likely receive  feedback from the Department of Public Instruction and/or the State Board of Education on Governor Cooper's proposed budget.
    • ​The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday and take action on Senate Bill 61, This bill authorizes a holder of a limited provisional license to drive past 9:00 p.m. when driving to or from a class the holder is enrolled in that is held at a high school or post-secondary school.  This bill was for discussion only and no vote on it was taken.  
    • The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and take action on Senate Bill 75. This bill would amend the North Carolina Constitution to set the maximum tax rate on income to 5.5%.


March 2, 2017

  • The State Board of Education is holding day two of its monthly two-day meeting today.  The agenda of the Board's meeting can be found  here
  • The House and Senate Appropriations met today and received apresentation of the Governor's proposed 2017-2019 budget.  The Governors budget can be found here.
  • H24 - Passed the House today.  This bill establishes a Joint House and Senate Study Committee to study the unfunded liability of the Retiree Health Benefit Fund.


March 1, 2017

  • Governor Roy Cooper released his 2017-2019 budget today, which can be found here.  The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will meet jointly tomorrow morning to receive a presentation on the Governor's budget.  
  • The State Board of Education is holding day one of its monthly two-day meeting today.  The agenda of the Board's meeting can be found here. The Board will continue its monthly meeting tomorrow morning. 
  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and heard a presentation on LEA budget flexibility.  Alexis Schauss of the Department of Public Instruction pointed out to the members of the Committee that it is impermissible under law to transfer otherwise allotted funds into the central office administration allotment, and that that allotment is just about 1% of the public education budget.
  • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee met today and approved two bills, which will likely gain full House approval tomorrow. Those bills are:
    • H24 - This bill establishes a Joint House and Senate Study Committee to study the unfunded liability of the Retiree Health Benefit Fund.
    • H115 - This bill makes technical and conforming changes to the law governing the Teachers' and State Employee's Retirement System.
  • The House gave full approval to the following bills today:
    •  H87 -  Legislation which prohibits the State Board of Education or DPI from submitting the state plan required by ESSA until the latest possible date established by the U.S. Department of Education. The bill was amended to allow SBE and/or DPI submit the plan within the last 7 business days preceding the last possible date established by the U.S. Department of Education. 
    •  H97 - Directs the State Board of Education to modify the State graduation requirements to include one required credit in arts education to be completed by each student at any time in grades six through 12.  Requirement would be implemented beginning with students entering the sixth grade in 2020.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed Senate Bill 61.  This bill authorizes a holder of a limited provisional license to drive past 9:00 p.m. when driving to or from a class the holder is enrolled in that is held at a high school or post-secondary school.  This bill was for discussion only and no vote on it was taken.  


February 28, 2017

  • Governor Cooper is set to release his 2017-2019 proposed budget on Thursday morning. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will meet jointly that morning to receive a presentation outlining the Governor's budget priorities. 
  • The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee met this morning and discussed budget practices, policies, and process.  The Committee will continue its preliminary budget discussions tomorrow.
  • ​The House K-12 Education Committee met and approved two bills, both of which will likely gain full House approval later this week.  Those bills are:
    •  H87 -  Legislation which prohibits the State Board of Education or DPI from submitting the state plan required by ESSA until the latest possible date established by the U.S. Department of Education. The bill was amended to allow SBE and/or DPI submit the plan within the last 7 business days preceding the last possible date established by the U.S. Department of Education. 
    •  H97 - Directs the State Board of Education to modify the State graduation requirements to include one required credit in arts education to be completed by each student at any time in grades six through 12.  Requirement would be implemented beginning with students entering the sixth grade in 2020.


February 27,  2017

  • The Week Ahead
    • The House K-12 Education Committee will meet Tuesday, February 28, and is scheduled to take action on the following bills:
      • H87- ESSA Plan Submission
      • H97 - Arts Education Requirement​
    • ​​The Joint House and Senate Appropriations on Education Committee will continue meeting this week and is expected to continue its preliminary work on the 2017 budget process.

    • The House Pensions and Retirement Committee will meet Wednesday, March 1, and is scheduled to take action on the following bills:

      • H24- Study Unfunded Liability/Retiree Health Fund

      • H115- Retirement Technical Corrections Act of 2017


February 24, 2017


Courtesy of NCSBA:  ​Several school calendar flexibility bills have already been filed a month into this 2017 legislative session. 


  • 19 local bills giving various types of calendar flexibility to 41 school systems.
  •  1 statewide bill-allows all LEAs to begin school no earlier than August 10 (HB 53 sponsored by Reps. Cody Henson, Kevin Corbin, Mitch Setzer, and Michele Presnell).
  •  Click here to see if a calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA.


*Action Needed/Draft Local Calendar Bill*

If NO local calendar flexibility bills have yet been filed for your LEA:
Please ask members of your local delegation, particularly on the Senate side, to introduce a local bill giving your LEA calendar flexibility.  Use this draft local bill: 
click here for the draft bill.

If a local calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA only in the House:
(1) Be sure to thank the bill sponsor(s).
AND
(2) Ask your Senate members to introduce a similar local calendar flexibility bill for your LEA in the Senate.
Use this draft local bill:  click
here for the draft bill.

If a local calendar flexibility bill has been filed for your LEA in the Senate:
Be sure to thank the bill sponsor(s).


February 23, 2017

  • H6- Legislation establishing the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform, passed its third reading on the House floor, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.


February 22, 2017

  • H6- Legislation establishing the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform, passed its second reading on the floor, and is set to gain final approval in the House tomorrow.
  • S55, authorizing civil penalties for passing a stopped school bus, was discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee today.  The bill likely will be voted upon during that Committee's next meeting.
  • Thank you to all who have completed and returned your district’s response to the class size survey that NCASA circulated and collected at the request of the General Assembly. We delivered 91 responses to the legislature yesterday, and responses continued to come in through the night. Senate leadership has asked that we continue to collect surveys from the few districts that have not yet responded, as they want to see class size information from every district. If you have not yet sent in your survey, please work to get it to me ASAP for forwarding to lawmakers as requested. In conjunction with delivering the responses to the General Assembly, NCASA prepared and sent a letter to Sen. Phil Berger, President Pro Tempore of the N.C. Senate, to help explain the limitations of and problems with the survey that the legislative staff sent to NCASA for distribution to school districts. We also released a press release to reflect the efforts by our school districts to be cooperative and transparent in sharing information on the lawful and allowable ways in which you are using your teacher funding.We are hopeful that these efforts will lead to positive action by the N.C. Senate on the K-3 class size issue soon. Please continue a positive dialogue with your Senators to ask for a timely resolution on the K-3 issue, and thank your House members for their unanimous support of House Bill 13 that has now been sent to the Senate for consideration. Also to help NCASA advocate on your behalf, please make us aware of your outreach to and feedback from lawmakers on the K-3 issue. Thanks again for your help and support.