April 13, 2017 Legislative Update

Education Issues Are On The Move

The North Carolina General Assembly moved several education-related bills over the last few weeks. With the passing of filing deadlines, the bills reviewed below are set to be addressed, which will provide a better understanding of the possible legislative changes during this 2017 long session. Below you will find a list of select active education bills that may be of interest to you.

The General Assembly is taking a week long break and will return next week to continue session.

Active Education Bills

HB 117: Protect Students in Schools

HB 117, which would mandate that anyone applying for a North Carolina teaching license must undergo a criminal background check, advanced to the House Finance Committee. This bill is a renewed effort from a 2016 bill that failed. HB117 would require each LEA to utilize background checks as part of the hiring process for teaching personnel.

HB 132: High Achieving Tuition Scholarships

HB 132 heads to the House Education-Community Colleges Committee. This bill establishes a minimum 3.5 unweighted GPA for students seeking academic scholarships to North Carolina Community Colleges. Eligible students may have attended public, nonpublic, and home schools in North Carolina.

HB 149: Students W/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

HB 149 mandates that the State School Board and local School Boards work to develop tools which would enable students with dyslexia and dyscalculia to be more recognized more quickly and to implement favorable plans of action. HB 149 now moves out of committee.

HB 302: DoDEA/Clinical Educators for Student Teaching

HB 302, which allows teachers who have passed evaluation standards of the Department of Defense to serve as mentors to student teachers, has cleared the House and is in the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations.

HB 375: School Calendar Flexibility/Community Colleges

HB 375 would provide calendar flexibility to LEAs wishing to align their calendars with Community College schedules. HB 375 has passed the House and now moves to the Senate for consideration. PENC has long advocated for calendar flexibility, and we hope to see this bill successfully move forward.

HB 389: School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program

HB 389 would allow discretion among 20 selected LEAs (see original text of bill) participating in a three-year calendar flexibility pilot program. Schools in the program would not open earlier than the Monday nearest to August 10th and would not close later than the Friday nearest to June 11th. This bill has passed the House and now awaits a Senate committee.

HB 450: Future Ready Student Act 2017

HB 450 has passed the House and is now under Senate consideration. This bill requires LEAs to provide work based opportunities for students within the Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways. In addition, the bill seeks to expand CTE course offerings with support and cooperation from local business and Community Colleges.

SB 78: Cost to Comply/Federal Education Funds/ PED Study

SB 78, which heads to the Senate floor, authorizes the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to study costs incurred in complying with Federal mandates. This would provide a method of examining the amount of actual federal dollars the state could use in program implementation and education spending.

SB 218: State Health Plan Administrative Changes-AB

SB 218, which heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Pensions, Compensation, and Benefits, makes administrative changes to the State Health Plan. Changes include language clarification regarding children born to presently covered members and a clause allowing for the termination of coverage should an individual(s) provide false information regarding eligibility or enrollment status.

SB 234: SBA Pay/Needs-Based Pub. Sch. Capital Fund

SB 234 would increase state funding for administrative positions, including principals and assistant principals, by 7% for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The funds would then be given to superintendents in a block grant to award to administrators at their discretion.

SB 234 creates a principal bonus program to be awarded to principals beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. The bonus would be $2,600 to all principals, and would not count towards retirement compensation.

SB 234 gives assistant principals a monthly salary based on the salary schedule for teachers who are classified as “A” educators plus an additional 13%.

SB 234 creates a need based capital fund to be administered by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The grants shall be awarded to tier one and tier two counties to assist with their capital needs.

SB 252: North Carolina Teaching Fellows

SB 252 moves the funding mechanics for the new North Carolina Teaching Fellows program from General Assembly appropriated funds to the North Carolina Educational Endowment Fund. This new Teaching Fellows program focuses specifically on serving high needs subject areas and high needs schools. This bill has been moved to the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee.

SB 312: Surplus Computers for Low-Income Students

SB 312 authorizes nonprofit entities to receive and refurbish state surplus computers for the purpose of donating this equipment to low-income families with children in need. This bill will move to the Senate floor for debate.

SB 447: Turning TAs Into Teachers

SB 447 would give school districts with a high percentage of low performing schools the ability to grow teachers from within the school system. This would be accomplished by providing tuition assistance awards to Teacher Assistants to support them in obtaining a college degree and earn a teaching license.

SB 448: Professors in the Classroom

SB 448 would provide school districts another tool to fill hard-to-staff subjects by allowing faculty from community colleges and universities to work as adjunct instructors in the K-12 setting.

SB 462: UNC/UTeach Program

SB 462 instructs the UNC System to evaluate the possibility of implementing the UTeach Program. The UTeach Program, started at the University of Texas at Austin, recruits students enrolled in STEM majors to enter the teaching profession by offering a course of study that allows the students to earn their STEM degree in addition to a teaching certificate.

SB 517: NC New Teacher Support Act

SB 517 allows teachers that graduate from a teacher prep program with a 3.75 GPA and with a score of least a 48 on the edTPA assessment to start their career on a higher step of the salary schedule. Teachers in hard to staff subject areas and low-performing school districts would start at an even higher step.

SB 517 also increases funding to the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program to expand the program and to include more beginning teachers in the state of North Carolina.

SB 517 also reimburses graduates of a North Carolina educator preparatory program for the administrative cost of obtaining a teaching licensure. The current fee is $70.

SB 598: Future Teachers of NC

SB 598 allows students that are high achieving to consider teaching as a career through courses offered in participating high schools in which students will learn about the profession of teaching, pedagogy, and will be given the opportunity to gain field experience to see if they are interested.

SB 598 also allows students that enroll in these programs to have the opportunity to earn dual credit upon completion of the program.

Submitted by Bryan Holloway
For information about specific issues, please contact lobbyist@pencweb.org.

For more information about the North Carolina General Assembly, click here.
To identify and contact your legislators, click here.