The North Carolina General Assembly reconvened for the 2019 Long Session on January the 30th. Republicans continue to control the North Carolina General Assembly, but not with supermajorities. The Governor’s Mansion is controlled by Democrat leader Roy Cooper, and his veto will have more impact this session. PENC will be working hard with all legislators to make sure your voice is heard on the many issues that will be considered this session that impact public education.
Click here to view our 2019-2021 Legislative Priorities.
The PENC priority list is extensive, and it includes such measures as providing more compensation to teachers and bringing some equality to the top end of the teaching salary schedule to pay veteran teachers what they deserve. PENC will also be working to restore master’s pay as well as keeping the fifteen point scale for school grades. Unfortunately, without action from the General Assembly, the school grade scale will convert to a ten point scale, which we do not feel is fair to our schools. PENC Lobbyist, Bryan Holloway will be reporting on our progress as the General Assembly committees begin meeting. He will continue to meet with education leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Thus far, the major education announcements include a discussion in both chambers with assisting local counties with capital needs. The House and Senate do have different proposals. The NC House proposes a $2 billion dollar bond, with around $1.5 billion going to counties for capital needs. The NC Senate plan is a pay as you go scenario that provides $2 billion over 9 years with no debt. The good news is that both chambers are looking at what they can do to help with school capital needs, but we certainly need robust financial assistance with over $8 billion dollars in construction needs throughout the state.
Early February Update
As PENC’s Lobbyist, Bryan Holloway, will continue to keep the members of PENC updated on the major happenings of education as they occur in the North Carolina General Assembly. On Monday of last week, Bryan Holloway met with Senator Rick Horner, and we discussed many of the issues that are important to members of PENC. One measure discussed was restoring Master’s pay for teachers, which is on the PENC priority list. Senator Horner indicated his intentions to file a bill restoring Master’s pay, and he did so this week. The bill is Senate Bill 28, and though this is exciting news, the bill does have a long way to go before it could become law. Remember, when you read a headline, or see the news proclaiming a bill has been filed, that does not mean it is law. Probably less than ten percent of bills filed actually make it across the finish line. That being said, we are pleased to see the bill filed by one of the Senate Education Chairs, and PENC will do all we can to help Senator Horner’s bill become a reality.
In other news, the House Education Committee met this week to discuss calendar flexibility for schools. The bills in committee were for discussion only. Calendar flexibility bills have made it through the House before, and the challenge has always been the Senate under both Democrat and Republican reigns. It is positive that this measure is being discussed, and that is due in part to groups like PENC keeping the issue alive. Like Master’s pay, PENC will continue to pursue this issue which has been ongoing for years.
Finally, Mr. Holloway met with all but two of the education chairs from both the House and Senate this week to discuss your issues. Mr. Holloway has appointments next week to meet with the other two. PENC’s Legislative Priorities will be emailed to all 170 members of the North Carolina General Assembly on Monday, February 11th. Executive Director Bill Medlin and Mr. Holloway will be circling back around with these chairs in the next couple of weeks, and they will be meeting with other members of the education committees from both sides of the aisle.
Our PENC lobbyist will be writing back again soon as more education news becomes available. Mr. Holloway will always be in Raleigh when legislators are there monitoring, working on PENC issues, and reporting on activity in the North Carolina General Assembly. Thank you for what you do to help our children have the brightest possible future in North Carolina.