February 8, 2017 Legislative Update

In This Issue…

  1. PENC Sets its 2017 Legislative Priorities
  2. K-3 Class Size Issue & Appointment of NC Education Leaders

PENC Sets its 2017 Legislative Priorities

We appreciate your responses to the 2017 Legislative survey. Your input helped the PENC Board of Directors set the 2017 PENC Legislative Priorities for this legislative session. As a reminder, the General Assembly convened this “Long Session” on January 11, 2017 and will adjourn when their work is complete. There is no statutory or constitutional requirement for when Session must end, but it typically lasts for about 6-7 months.  As always, you are welcome to contact PENC with your thoughts by emailing penc@pencweb.org at any time during the year.

K-3 Class Size Issue & Appointment of NC Education Leaders

The first month of the new year is behind us, and the North Carolina General Assembly is back in session. As noted above, PENC has approved its priorities and has already begun to engage in discussion with members of the General Assembly. Bryan Holloway, our new lobbyist has been meeting with the leadership of both chambers – House and Senate, as well as education leaders, to advocate for better pay across the board for all educators, adequate resources, and a better education environment in North Carolina.

One issue that has been in the news recently involves challenges associated with the new K-3 class size implementation set to take effect at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Legislators have been made aware of the potential consequences the class size legislation could have on school systems – adding more K-3 teachers could mean the loss of elective teachers; additionally, there is the question of how to fit additional classes in already crowded schools. These unintended consequences are a result of an effort to reduce class sizes, a laudable goal. We have met with education leaders in both the House and Senate, and both understand that action is needed. We have also had meetings with Senator Harry Brown and Senator Phil Berger’s staff to explain that immediate action is needed and that school systems could not wait for the budget to address this concern. The House has proposed HB 13, which is a partial fix to the solution. We are hopeful that a more permanent solution can be achieved by working with both chambers. PENC will continue to lobby for a sound solution by working with legislators to promptly address the issue.

For your reference, we thought it would be helpful to list the education leaders in each chamber below:

House Education Appropriations (Chairmen)

  • Rep. Craig Horn
  • Rep. Hugh Blackwell
  • Rep. Pat Hurley
  • Rep. Jeffrey Elmore
  • Rep. John Fraley

House Education Policy (Chairmen/women)

  • Rep. Craig Horn
  • Rep. Linda Johnson
  • Rep. Jeffrey Elmore
  • Rep. Debra Conrad

Senate Education Appropriations (Chairmen)

  • Senator Chad Barefoot
  • Senator David Curtis
  • Senator Michael Lee

Senate Education Policy (Chairmen)

  • Senator Chad Barefoot
  • Senator David Curtis
  • Senator Michael Lee

The contact information for the individuals listed above can be found at www.ncleg.net. Thank you for your public service to the children of our state, and feel free to email Bryan Holloway at lobbyist@pencweb.orgwith other questions or concerns you may have.

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.