May 5, 2020

Legislative Update

On May 2nd, the North Carolina General Assembly passed compromised legislation for last week’s competing bills from the House and Senate.

In the end, the bill, which got final and unanimous approval, spent around $1.6 billion of the $3.5 billion allocated to North Carolina by the federal government through the CARES Act.  Of this $1.6 billion, just over $231 million was earmarked for K-12 public education, while $25 million was allocated for the NC Community College System.

The most significant spending allocations for K-12 education are listed below:

  • $75 million for school nutrition program support to continue to meet student nutritional needs during the school closure
  • $70 million for supplemental summer learning programs
  • $30 million for the purchase of computers or other approved one-on-one devices for students
  • $15 million for grants to exceptional children’s programs to offer extended calendar services to qualifying students
  • $11 million to upgrade internet access for underserved communities in the state 
  • $10 million toward mental health support to meet increasing student health needs
  • $5 million to the Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports Competitive Grant Program for effective program implementation and support for students classified as at-risk and who have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 crisis 
  • $5 million toward technology needs and device acquisitions for K-12 faculty and staff
  • $4.5 million toward enhancing cybersecurity needs through software and services
  • $3 million toward non-digital remote instruction to meet the needs of those students across the state with limited internet access
  • $1.488 million for software to support remote instruction
  • $1 million to upgrade and expand internet connectivity and hotspot access for students by extending Wi-Fi mobility to North Carolina school buses
  • $660,029 for facility cleaning and sanitizing, school nutrition services, and digital and non-digital remote learning support and technology for the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf, North Carolina School for the Deaf, and the Governor Morehead School for the BlindNot included in the final bill were two policy provisions supported by many educator advocates. The House had originally included a 1-year delay in the implementation of the K-3 class size mandate. This provision was not included in the final bill. In addition, calendar flexibility was also hoped for, but in the end, it did not make the final conferenced bill.  This means that waiver requests by LEAs to begin before the August 17th start date will not be approved.

The General Assembly plans to reconvene during the week of May 18th to begin consideration on how to spend the remaining federal funds.

In addition to the funding listed above, more than 396 million in additional dollars have been allocated by the federal government directly to school districts. Also, Governor Cooper has been given $95.6 million for school needs.

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.


         

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