The House and Senate have agreed to adjourn for 20 days. Both chambers passed HJR 979: Adjournment Resolution to adjourn the legislative session from December 10 to December 30. However, House Speaker Tim Moore said that he does not expect voting sessions before January 3, 2022. Upon return, legislators can address vetoes, court rejected district maps, litigation on session laws, conference reports, and a few other items.
HB 91: Accountability and Fair Play in Athletics
HB 91: Accountability and Fair Play in Athletics was signed into S.L. 2021-184 on November 23. This bill requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to either enter into a memorandum of understanding with a nonprofit to administer high school interscholastic athletics (which could be the NC High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) but is not required to be) or assign administration to DPI.
Authors of HB 91 (Senators Vickie Sawyer, R-Iredell; Todd Johnson, R-Union; and Tom McInnis, R-Richmond) say that the bill is a result of an ongoing investigation into the NCHSAA over the past two years concerning lack of transparency. The passage of this bill follows meetings between representatives of the NCHSAA, the SBE, Governor Cooper, and legislators from both parties. Click here for an official bill summary.
Local Election Bills
HB 400: Asheville City Sch. Bd. Appt/Elections (primary sponsors: Representatives Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe; Brian Turner, D-Buncombe; John Ager, D-Buncombe) passed the Senate on a voice vote, concurred in the House 103-0, and was chaptered into S.L. 2021-187. This bill changes the Asheville City Board of Education from an appointed board to an elected board and increases the number of board members from five to seven. Click here for an official bill summary.
HB 118: Buncombe School Bd. Election passed the Senate 26-20, with one Republican joining Democrats in opposition. The bill was then sent to the House for a concurrence vote but was instead referred to the House Rules Committee, which means action could be taken on the bill when the legislature reconvenes in January 2022. HB 118 changes the election method for the six Buncombe County Board of Education members that run from districts. Instead of being elected by voters from across Buncombe County, board members would only be elected by voters residing in their districts. HB 118 lists out requirements for the board in establishing and revising electoral districts. Click here for an official bill summary.
Click here for a chart of all education-related bills that NCBSA is tracking.
On Tuesday, the NC Court of Appeals denied Superior Court Judge David Lee’s order for the transfer of over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. The three-judge panel ruled 2-1. According to the majority opinion, “‘the State must honor that judgement. But it is now up to the legislative and executive branches, in the discharge of their constitutional duties, to do so. The Separation of Powers Clause prevents the courts from stepping into the shoes of the other branches of government and assuming their constitutional duties. We have pronounced our judgement. If the other branches of government still ignore it, the remedy lies not with the courts, but at the ballot box.’”
This Court of Appeals decision follows State Controller Linda Comb’s request that the Court of Appeals either vacate Judge Lee’s order or prohibit Judge Lee from compelling her to perform any action required by the order. Click here for an article that provides more detail on the Court of Appeals decision and click here for an article that provides more detail on the State Controller’s request.
The State Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 1, and Thursday, December 2. During the meeting, the Board recognized Local Board of Education Advisor Brenda Stephens of Orange County for her service during the past year.
Additionally, the Board was presented with the following:
- State budget review
- COVID/ESSER/GEER expenditure update
- NC Standard Course of Study Internal Procedures Manual
State budget review: DPI staff presented a summary of education-related sections of the recently signed State budget. Major points include an average 2.5% salary increase in each year of the biennium for teachers and most instructional support personnel and additional funding for school capital. The following are DPI budget resources:
- 2021-2022 budget summary presentation
- 2021-2022 budget summary document
- 2021-2022 budget appropriations summary
- ESSER III funds appropriated in the budget
- Budget highlights presentation – slide 11 identifies which parts of the Leandro plan are funded by the budget
COVID/ESSER/GEER expenditure update: In addition to a State budget review, Board members were also presented with an update on expended federal COVID relief funds. This chart organizes the funds by program and includes expiration dates, expenditures by fiscal year, and dollar amount and percentage of unexpended funds.
NC Standard Course of Study Internal Procedures Manual: Earlier this year, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt expressed concern about the development of the NC Standard Course of Study (NCSCOS) when the Board was in the process of approving new K-12 social studies standards. During this month’s meeting, DPI followed up by presenting the draft NCSCOS Internal Procedures Manual, which provides a consistent approach in the development of standards. While DPI had previously created and updated an internal procedures manual, Superintendent Truitt said that it is important to make this process more public and coherent. Next steps include finalizing the draft NCSCOS Internal Procedures Manual, seeking stakeholder feedback, and deploying a Needs Assessment to inform the External Implementation Guide.
Click here to access all meeting materials.
As of December 1, 31 school districts allow masks to be optional (one has a pending effective date) and eight districts allow masks to be optional with certain stipulations (see map below for more information). This leaves 76 school districts that continue to require masks for all students and staff. The number of districts with mask mandates has decreased by one since Friday, November 19.
NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ policies on school mask requirements as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Richard Bostic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, Subcommittee on Use and Distribution of Federal COVID Funding will meet at 9:00 am on both Tuesday, December 7, (live stream) and Wednesday, December 8 (live stream).
Since legislative action is not expected in the next few weeks, we will not be sending out weekly legislative updates. However, if there is a need to relay important education-related information, we will make sure you receive it.
An updated version of NCSBA’s 2021 Legislative Summary, which will include summaries of every education-related State budget provision, will be shared in the next week or two.
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association