NCSBA Legislative Update – June 2, 2023

The legendary US Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics are local.” That truism was never more evident than this past week at the NC General Assembly. While budget negotiations between the House and Senate continued, several local bills passed each chamber. Many of these local bills continue the statewide trend of changing the election method for local boards of education from non-partisan to partisan.

School Performance Grades 
Local bills weren’t the only activity this week as the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) presented in the House Education K-12 Committee on their efforts to redesign the accountability model used to give schools performance grades across North Carolina. Currently, school performance grades are based on each school’s achievement score, weighted 80%, and on students’ academic growth, weighted 20%.  Per DPI’s presentation, in addition to these indicators, the proposed accountability model may also include additional academic and school quality indicators which could potentially include:

  • Percentage of students who graduate in five years
  • Percentage of graduates who either have confirmed acceptance in a post-secondary institution, enlisted in the military, or are employed
  • Percentage of students who participate in at least one extracurricular or intra-curricular activity
  • Percentage of students whose absences exceed 10% of school days

You can view DPI’s full presentation here.

Education Bills that Passed the House
Local Bills
*Local bills do not go to the Governor for signature, and, once ratified, become law. 

SB 248: 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 Board of Education 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, effective July 1, 2024
  • New section added which provides for partisan elections for the members of the Catawba County Board of Education, Hickory City Board of Education, and Newton-Conover Board of Education
  • Required to go back to the Senate for concurrence

Education Bills Approved by House Committees

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

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee
  • 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
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 833: Increase Minority Male Teachers/Program Study (primary sponsors: Representatives Ken Fontenot, R-Wilson; Tricia Cotham, R-Mecklenburg; Cecil Brockman, D-Guilford)

  • Approved by the House Education K-12 Committee
  • Appropriates funds to study and report on programs focused on increasing the socioeconomic and geographic diversity of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 855: Strengthening Care for Families and Children (primary sponsors: Representatives Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth; Wayne Sasser, R-Stanly; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg)

  • Appropriates $1 billion in nonrecurring, non-reverting funds from the ARPA Temporary Savings Fund to:
    • Transform child welfare and family well-being
    • Strengthen the North Carolina Behavioral Crisis System
    • Fund community and school-based behavioral health
    • Fund justice-related behavioral health mattersImprove the capacity of State psychiatric facilities
    • Improve behavioral health data technology
    • Increase Medicaid rates
  • Appropriates $40 million for statewide expansion of school behavioral health services

Education Bills Approved by Senate Committees

Statewide Bills

HB 142: Protect Our Students Act.-AB (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)

  • Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee
  • An agency bill supported by DPI and the State Superintendent
  • Increases penalties for failure of school administrators to report certain misconduct to the State Board of Education
  • Increases penalties and modifies definitions for certain sex offenses against students
  • Requires public school units to show 6th– 12thgrade students a video produced by DPI’s Center for Safer Schools containing age-appropriate information about sexual abuse, as recommended by DPI
  • Defines conduct directly related to the office or employment as it pertains to the forfeiture of retirement benefits
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 166: American Indians Graduating With Honors Act (primary sponsors: Representatives Jarrod Lowery, R-Robeson; Karl Gillespie, R-Macon; Brenden Jones, R-Columbus; Mike Clampitt, R-Swain) 

HB 190: Department of Health and Human Services Revisions (primary sponsor: Representative Larry Potts, R-Davidson)

  • Approved by the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • Makes technical, conforming, and other modifications to laws pertaining to the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Removes language requiring the inclusion of the anonymous safety tip line application on a document and display that are shared with students in public school units concerning child abuse and neglect
  • Click here for an official bill summary

Local Bills

HB 31: Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Partisan (primary sponsor: Representative Harry Warren, R-Rowan)

  • Approved by the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • Originally titled Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Filing Period
  • Provides for partisan elections for the members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education beginning in 2024
  • Allows school board to revise residency districts if an adjustment is required for a change in attendance zones
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 66: Partisan Boards of Education (primary sponsors: Representatives Jay Adams, R-Catawba; Mitchell Setzer, R-Catawba)

  • Approved by the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • Provides for partisan elections for the members of the Catawba Board of Education, Hickory City Board of Education, Newton-Conover City Board of Education o   Polk County Board of Education was added to the bill, changing the election method to partisan
  • Requires the new Buncombe County Board of Education to establish electoral districts for electing members beginning in 2024
  • Provides that members of the Buncombe Board of Education are elected in a nonpartisan primary and election beginning in 2026
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 174: W-S/Forsyth Bd. or Ed./Rural Hall Even-Year  (primary sponsor: Representative Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth)

  • Approved by the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • Staggers the terms of the members of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education beginning in 2024
  • Provides for even-year elections in the Town of Rural Hall
  • Click here for an official bill summary

HB 308: Alexander Co. Bd. of Ed. Referendum (primary sponsor: Representative Jeffrey Elmore, R-Wilkes) 

  • Approved by the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
  • As introduced, this bill was identical to S233, which is currently in Senate Rules
  • Now provides for the partisan election of the Alexander County Board of Education, subject to voter approval in a county-wide referendum held at the time of the general election in 2024
  • Click here for an official bill summary
The State Board of Education met Wednesday and Thursday. The Board approved the following:
  • NC Portrait of a Graduate Endorsement
  • 2022 Annual Charter Schools Report
  • Educator Preparation Program for Central Carolina Community College
  • CTE Licensure Requirement Modification
  • Stronger Connections Grant (SCG)
NC Portrait of a Graduate Endorsement:  The Board approved an endorsement of the NC Portrait of a Graduate. The Portrait identifies the seven competencies of adaptability, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, empathy, learner’s mindset, and personal responsibility that will prepare students to succeed in college, career, or military.
See the NC Portrait of a Graduate here and endorsement here.
2022 Annual Charter Schools Report:  The report indicates that as of December 2022 over 137,500 North Carolina students were enrolled in charter schools. According to the report, there was a significant increase in enrollment and demand during the pandemic which continued into 2022 with charter enrollment representing over 9% of total public-school enrollment. The report also states that North Carolina has the nation’s fifth highest rate of charter school enrollment growth with a 19% increase between 2019 and 2022. The report notes that eight charter schools are scheduled to open in the Fall of 2023. Since 1998, there have been a total of 87 charter terminations. Vice Chair Alan Duncan requested information on comparing the number of charter schools that failed to meet growth or met or exceeded growth to the number of traditional public schools that did the same.
See the report here.

Educator Preparation Program (EPP) for Central Carolina Community College:  Under the NC Community College framework approved by the State Board of Education in June of 2022, the Board approved an EPP to operate at Central Carolina Community College beginning this fall.  Completion of the program leads to licensure – not a degree.
For more information, click here.

Career & Technical Education (CTE) Licensure Requirement Modification:  Modification allows individuals who did not clear a prior initial CTE restricted license to apply for an initial CTE restricted license in a different teaching area. The teacher must still meet all of the requirements for hire.
See the policy here.

Stronger Connections Grant (NC SCG):  DPI is in the process of screening applicants for these funds.  Federal funds are available under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  Applications must be submitted by 12:00 pm Noon EST on or before June 27, 2023.
For more information click Stronger Connections Grant.

The Board also received reports on the following:

  • Update to Licensure Testing Requirements 
  • Licensure for Service Members/Spouse
  • Teacher Bonus Program 2021-2022 Fiscal Year Report to General Assembly
Update to Licensure Testing Requirements:  The proposed changes reflect vendor updates to ETS Praxis, clarify the pedagogy assessment for secondary licensure areas, and retire the Foundations of Reading Test 090 by July 31, 2023, when Pearson discontinues the test.  As a result, Foundation of Reading (FOR) Test 190 will be the sole reading subtest for North Carolina.
For more information, click here.
Licensure for Service Members and Spouses:  This change to State Board Policy reflects federal provisions under the Veterans Auto and Education Improvement Act of 2022. The proposed change will allow a service member or spouse of a service member who is under military orders to relocate to North Carolina to use an educator’s license from another jurisdiction. This will allow them to teach in North Carolina for the duration of the military order or until June 30 of the same year, whichever is later. For more information, click here.
Teacher Bonus Program 2021-2022 Fiscal Year Report to General Assembly:  State law requires the SBE to study and report the findings on the effect of the program on teacher performance and retention and the amount of the bonuses awarded.  The report was submitted as required in March before all required information was available.  Since then, the required information has been added to the report to the General Assembly.
For the report, click here.
For the presentation the Board heard on the new information, click here.
Federal Education Reports

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.

May 30 2023, Weekly Report

Headlines for this edition include:
Education Department Shares Guidelines for Artificial Intelligence: The US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology (OET) published a new report“Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Teaching and Learning: Insights and Recommendations.” The report summarizes risks and opportunities for AI in education, research, and assessment based on public input and coincides with the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing effort to develop a consistent and comprehensive approach to AI-related challenges and opportunities.  The report also outlines AI-related risks, which includes algorithmic bias and the importance of trust, safety, and sufficient protections for educators and students.
Education News
The following are recent news articles, reports, and press releases on state and national education-related issues.

State News

National News 
As of today, no legislative committee meetings have been scheduled for next week.
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 – June 2, 2023