May 23, 2019

Legislative Update

The North Carolina General Assembly continues to consider many items of interest to public school stakeholders. The Crossover deadline has now passed, which means that no more non-finance related education bills will be filed and/or passed from one chamber to the other. However, in total, 88 education-related bills have met the crossover deadline and will continue through the process of being heard and potentially become law. Those important pieces of legislation have been previously highlighted in earlier PENC updates. Most of these 88 bills are minor and of less consequence to the broader K-12 public school community. However, PENC will follow all of these bills and will provide updates on those bills that will significantly impact PENC members and other interested parties.

SB 374 Repeal Risky Retirement Payments

This bill would remove some retirement payment plans currently available to retirees. The stated reason for the change is to ensure stability to the State Retirement System through decreasing risk to the current system and to the retiree. Click here to see existing retirement options.

HB 56  Arts Education Requirement

This bill would require the State Board of Education to change current graduation requirements to include art-based credit. This requirement would take effect starting with 6th graders in the 2022 school year. Waivers would be available to transfer students from out of state.

SB 399  Allow for Retired Teachers to Return to Work in High Need Schools

This bill reflects revisions to the previous version of the bill regarding LEAs and the process of re-hiring recently retired teachers to teach in high-need schools. The criteria has been restricted and as such will likely present legal and financial challenges to LEAs who pursue recent retirees to teach under this program.

HB 798  Low Performing Schools (ISD)

This bill reflects the most recent modifications to the Innovative School District plan, which is designed to take over and manage low performing schools. This iteration of the ISD would change how low performing schools are identified and increase communication between stakeholders (LEAs and County Commissioners). The state’s lowest performing school would always be added to the list annually as well as other schools meeting different levels of qualification assigned to the bottom 5 percent of low performing schools.

SB 580 Classroom Supplies to Teachers

This program proposal would allow classroom teachers across the state to spend up to $400.00 on classroom and instructional materials. PENC supports this measure while recognizing concerns raised by LEA’s regarding district allocations of supply funds. However, Legislative Leaders have indicated that the $400.00 per teacher plan is based on new monies and the LEA allotments for supplies and instructional materials will continue.

SB 438

SB 438 was introduced, which addressed some perceived deficiencies with the original Read to Achieve Act passed in 2013. According to Senate President Phil Berger, there were parts of the program that were working well and other components that needed adjustment. This Act would seek to implement Summer Reading Camps and offer targeted staff development to meet student’s needs to improve 3rd-grade reading proficiency.  The Act utilizes current and past performance data to adjust the program to meet current student needs.

HB 377

This bill, which passed the House and now moves to the Senate, eliminates K-8 EOG tests and allows shorter “check-in” tests during intervals in the school year. For high school testing, the NC Final Exam would be eliminated, and the ACT would be utilized to measure student growth and ensure school accountability.

HB 315

HB 315 passed the House and will provide LEAs with discretionary flexibility on how instructional monies are spent and on which platforms instructional materials are delivered (instructional technology, textbooks, etc.). Also, the bill provides a parental review of instructional materials selected by districts.

HB 184 Study State Health Plan Design

This bill allows lawmakers to study and review the State Health Plan and identify areas for improvement and modernization, including goals-based incentives for providers and members and healthy lifestyle promotion. In addition, the bill will examine the needs and concerns of stakeholders in the State Health Plan.

HB 354 (=H313Modify Weighting/School Performance Grades.

This bill would change how performance grades are calculated. Presently, grades calculate 80 percent from proficiency and 20 percent from growth. The new proposal would calculate 50 percent for proficiency and 50 percent for growth. The bill would also change how performance grades are calculated. Presently, grades calculate 80 percent from proficiency and 20 percent from growth. The new proposal would calculate 50 percent for proficiency and 50 percent for growth.

HB 362 (=H14515-Point Scale For School Performance Grades.

This bill would keep the 15-point scale for performance grades for schools as opposed to moving to the 10-point scale, which was the most recent current law.

HB 266 School Annual Report Card.

This bill separates grades for school achievement and school growth. This bill would create a 15-point grading scale, measuring school achievement and would utilize a 10-point scale, based on EVASS standards, to measure school growth.

HB 79 Academic Alignment/Boards of Education & CC.

This bill would allow for some scheduling flexibility and let local school boards align their schedules with the community college system.

HB 276 Modify Low-Performing School Definition.

This bill would remove the language of “low performing school” while modifying the definition using revised measurements. If a school has met expected growth, it will not be classified as “low performing.”

HB 241 Education Bond Act of 2019

A school bond measure has passed the House (H.B 241) and will move on to the Senate. Although changes are anticipated, the bond issue has received broad support. Its highlights include $1.5 billion in capital funding to K-12 schools, $200 million to community colleges, and $200 million to the UNC system. The bond measure would allow flexibility to local school boards to best determine spending priorities. In addition, the bond would provide crucial funds to rural schools which face a capital funding disadvantage. As of 3/18/19, this measure has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations in the Senate.

HB 275 (=S189CTE Pilot for Guilford Co. Schools.

This Pilot proposal, specific to Guilford County, would allow traditional high schools to host the Innovative Signature Career Academy Program. As of 3/26/19, this measure has been referred to the House Committee on Finance and has not seen action since.

SB 134 Economics & Financial Literacy Act.

This bill would mandate that students in high school complete an Economics and Financial literacy type course as a requirement for graduation. In addition, staff development opportunities would be extended for teachers in the content area. This bill has not seen action since April 3rd and is currently in the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget.

HB 199

This bill would provide funding to Charter Schools to meet student transportation needs and will allow qualifying schools to receive reimbursement for up to 65 percent of their transportation costs. This bill was referred to the House Committee on Appropriations on 4/9/19.

HB 485 Virtual Early Learning Pilot Program.

Under this proposed bill, a pilot program would be established for a virtual or online academy for preschool-aged children.

HB 493 Abuse & Neglect Resources.

This bill would mandate that public school students be equipped with necessary resources regarding child abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and similar concerns.

HB 521  Provisional License/Teacher from Other State.

This bill is part of an ongoing effort to ease the process for out of state teacher licensure candidates and would allow for one-year provisional licenses for teachers coming to North Carolina from other states. Also, LEAs would make final determinations regarding the salary schedule and what credits for experience could be used.

HB 563 30 Min. Duty-Free Lunch for Teachers.

This bill would attempt to ensure that teachers receive a 30-minute duty-free lunch to the extent that funds and proper student supervision are available.

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