NCSBA Legislative Update – May 26, 2023

North Carolina State Budget

On Wednesday, the House voted not to concur with the Senate’s budget proposal. As a result, a conference committee, consisting of members from both chambers, will now negotiate and produce a compromise budget plan, which is expected to be complete by mid-June. The compromise budget plan will then be voted on by the House and Senate, which cannot be amended once it reaches the floor, and ultimately sent to the Governor.Garnering headlines statewide this week are the proposed pay increases and the push by both the House and Senate for universal opportunity scholarships (private school voucher program) for all students in North Carolina regardless of income level.

This morning, the Mooresville Graded Board of Education adopted two resolutions addressing both of those big issues. As a courtesy, NCSBA is sharing those resolutions below.

Adopted Resolution re: Universal Opportunity Scholarships

Adopted Resolution re: Proposed Pay Increases for School Employees

Finally, between budget negotiations and many members wanting to get a jump on Memorial Day weekend, there wasn’t very much activity at the General Assembly, but we do have a few bills to talk about:

Education Bills Passed by Senate Committees

Senate Education/Higher Education Committee

HB 432: Principal Licensure Changes (primary sponsors: Representatives David Willis, R-Union; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg; John Torbett, R-Gaston)
  • Updates principal licensure requirements
  • Eliminates the requirement that principals must have at least four years of classroom teaching experience and instead requires principals to have at least four years of experience as a “licensed professional educator”
  • Requires the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) to develop a portfolio-based assessment for prospective principals
  • Requires an internship of at least 500 hours rather than a yearlong internship
HB 8: Computer Science Graduation Requirement (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Paré, R-Wake; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford)
  • Requires the State Board of Education (SBE) to establish a computer science graduation requirement
  • Requires the SBE to maintain the 22 credits required for graduation by decreasing the number of required elective credits from six to five (the requirement would begin with students entering the 9th grade in the 2024-2025 school year)
  • Requires public school units to offer computer science instruction to students in middle and high school

Education Bills That Passed the House

Local Bills
Local bills do not go to the Governor for signature, and, once ratified, become law.

SB17: Stanly County Board of Commissioners/Board of Education (primary sponsor Senator Carl Ford R-Rowan)
  • Modifies the staggering of terms for both the Stanly County Board of Commissioners and the Stanly County Board of Education, so that four members are elected in one election cycle and three members are elected in the following election cycle
  • *Ratified on May 25, 2023
 SB 286: Make Pamlico Board of Education Partisan (primary sponsor: Senator Norm Sanderson, R-Pamlico)
  • Changes the method of election of the Pamlico County Board of Education from nonpartisan to partisan
  • *Ratified on May 25, 2023

Education Bills That Passed the Senate

Local Bills
*Note: Local bills do not go to the Governor for signature, and, once ratified, become law.
SB248: Change Number of Members On Nash County Board of Education (primary sponsors: Senators Lisa Barnes, R-Nash; Buck Newton, R-Wilson)
  • Decreases the size of the Nash County Board of Education from eleven members to seven members
  • Aligns the districts for the Nash Board of Education with the districts of Nash County Board of Commissioners
  • Provides for the boundaries of the Nash School Administrative Unit to be identical to the boundaries of Nash County
HB 452: Franklin County Board of Education Election Method (primary sponsor: Representative Matthew Winslow, R-Franklin)
  • Changes the date and method of election of the Franklin County Board of Education to a nonpartisan primary and election method
  • *Ratified on May 24, 2023
The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

May 22, 2023, Weekly Report
Headlines for this edition include:

Education Secretary Grilled By Congressional Committee: US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Tuesday, May 16. North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is the committee Chair. The hearing, titled “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Department of Education,” centered around Congressional oversight of the department and responsiveness to Congressional inquiries. As one might expect, the hearing broke down along partisan lines with Chairwoman Foxx and the Republican majority calling into question the actions of Secretary Cardona while the Democratic minority praised his efforts. Both parties expressed concern about third-party vendors who service student loans as borrowers are about to resume payments.

For a summary of the hearing click here.

The following are recent news articles, reports, and press releases on state and national education-related issues.

State News
EdNC: Legislators Visit Public School That Sets Up Newcomer Students and Families For Success
EdNC: Cooper Urges Public To Stand Up For Public Schools In Response To Senate Budget
WRAL: NC Teachers Take On A Renewed Way To Teach Reading
WUNC: Who Pays For NC Schools? State Underfunding Could Shift the Burden to Homeowners

National News 
Education Week: New Grants Could Fund 14k School Mental Health Workers. Will It Be Enough?
Education Week: ‘So Catastrophic’- How a Debt Ceiling Breach Would Hurt Schools
Washington Post: Education Slipped and Enrollment Dropped In the Pandemic, Report Shows
New York Times: The Surprising Obstacle to Overhauling How Children Learn To Read

The House Committee on Education K-12 will meet on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 1 p.m. in Room 643 of the Legislative Office Building. The following bills are scheduled to be heard:

HB 762: School Social Workers/Master’s Pay (primary sponsor: Representative Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg)

  • Identical to SB 524
  • Provides that school social workers are eligible to receive education-based salary supplements regardless of whether a master’s degree is required for licensure
HB 833: Increase Minority Male Teachers/Program Study (primary sponsors: Representatives Ken Fontenot, R-Wilson; Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg; Cecil Brockman, D-Guilford)
  • Appropriates funds to study and report on programs focused on increasing minority male teachers
SB 636: School Athletic Transparency (primary sponsors: Senators Vickie Sawyer, R-Iredell; Todd Johnson, R-Union; Tom McInnis, R-Moore)
*Chair anticipates to be added, for discussion only*
  • Passed the Senate 30-20
  • Revises oversight of high school interscholastic athletics
  • Prohibits students who do not live in a school district from competing if their enrollment is solely for athletic participation purposes
  • Recodifies and reorganizes current interscholastic athletics statutes
  • Prohibits students of male sex from competing in sports designated for females, women, or girls
To stream the House Education K-12 Committee meeting, click here.
Are you attending the NCSBA Summer Leadership Conference at Wrightsville Beach? The Governmental Relations team will be conducting a seminar at the conference on Monday, June 12. We’ll cover what’s going on at the North Carolina General Assembly, the state budget, and grassroots strategies.

Click here for more information on the conference.

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association

Christina DavoileNCSBA Legislative Update – May 26, 2023