This Week at the Legislature
The NC General Assembly may be putting the old adage, “better late than never” to the test, but we do finally have a state budget – 84 days past the deadline. The budget passed by a vote of 69-40 in the House and a vote of 28-19 in the Senate. Governor Cooper has already announced he will let the budget bill become law without his signature which will occur ten days after he receives it. Here is Governor Cooper’s full statement on the budget and his decision.
Following up on NCSBA’s State Budget Alert we emailed Wednesday night, further down in this week’s Legislative Update you’ll see links to our summary of many more education-related policy provisions and the K12 money report. Also included below are several other important bills with action this week.
First, here are some highlights from the State budget:
Parents’ Bill of Rights “Fix”
Section 7.81, Adjustments to S.L. 2023-106, provides two big “fixes” to SB49: Parents’ Bill of Rights (PBR):
- Extends policy deadlines in Part II of PBR to the 1st day of school after January 1, 2024
- “Not withstanding” language impacts Part III of PBR and clarifies that the statute permitting certain school employees to provide first aid and other care to students remains unchanged.
Salaries – Retroactive to July 1, 2023
Teachers, Assistant Principals, and Instructional Support Personnel
- Including step increases, the average teacher salary increase over the 2-year cycle is 7% when compared to FY 2022-23.
- Total salary increases over the 2-year budget range from 3.6% to 14.9%.
- Starting teacher pay increases from $37,000 to $39,000 in FY 2023-2024 and to $41,000 in FY 2024-2025.
- Assistant principal pay remains tied to the base teacher salary schedule +19%
- An additional $30 million in recurring funds for the Teacher Supplement Assistance Allotment for a revised net appropriation of $200 million in each year of the biennium.
Other Public School Employees
- A 4% across-the-board increase in FY 2023-24 and a 3% across-the-board increase in FY 2024-25 for most noncertified staff, central office staff, and principals
- Bus drivers will receive an additional 2% on top of the across-the-board raises.
- $215.5 million over the biennium to increase employer premiums to the State Health Plan for active employees.
- $225.5 million over the biennium to increase contributions to State retirement systems & the Retiree Health Benefit Fund for retiree medical benefits
- $145.6 million to provide State retirees with a 4% one-time supplement (bonus).
Click here for NCSBA’s summary of education budget provisions and click here for NCSBA’s summary of education budget appropriations. Our summaries include most (not all) of the education budget.
Click here to access the official budget bill. Click here to access the budget committee (money) report.
NCSBA will be publishing complete legislative summaries that detail the state budget and every piece of education-related legislation in the coming days.
There was legislative activity beyond the budget as outlined below.
Local Bills Passed By the House
SB 68: Various Local Changes (primary sponsor: Senator Tim Moffitt, R-Henderson)
Statewide Education Bills Passed By the House
SB 692: Changes In Education Laws (primary sponsors: Senators Amy Galey, R-Alamance; Todd Johnson, R-Union; Tom McInnis, R-Moore)
- Passed House by 70 to 40 vote, Sent to Senate for concurrence
- Previously titled Community College Governance, All new language inserted
- Repeals statutes establishing the authorization for regional schools and creates the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience as a regional school of choice for 18 northeastern counties
- Admissions limited to students living in one of the 18 northeastern counties in the service area of the school
- Exempt 529 Plans and ABLE accounts from certain creditors
- Modifies zoning requirements for schools.
- Establish civic focus weeks when civic youth groups may present to public schools
- Modify certain powers and duties of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education
Statewide Education Bills Sent to the Governor
HB 8: Various Statutory Changes (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Paré, R-Wake; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford)
- Passed Senate by 47-0 vote, Passed House by 102-8 vote
- Originally titled Computer Sci Grad Requirement.
- Makes statutory changes.
- Requires completion of a computer science course for graduation from high school.
- Reduces the number of required elective credits to graduate high school by one.
- Creates exemptions to the requirement for students to complete a computer science course.
- Click here for an old bill summary for a previous version of HB 8.
HB 142: Protect Our Students Act/Buncombe County Bd of Ed(primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)
- Passed Senate by 47-0 vote, Passed House by 106-1 vote
- Increases penalties for all sex offenses by school personnel against a student
- Modifies the definition of a student in cases of sexual crimes against a student by school personnel
- Increases penalties for failing to report misconduct toward children
- Requires public school units to show 6th-12 graders age-appropriate videos produced by the Center for Safer Schools which include information on sex abuse.
- Requires school employees convicted of certain felonies involving a student to forfeit the portion of their state-funded retirement benefits
- Senate amendments do the following:
- Moves deadline for Buncombe County Board of Education to establish new electoral districts from February 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024.
- Instructs the Buncombe County Board of Education and the Asheville City Board of Education to jointly study a merger of their two school systems.
SB 452: DOI & Ins Law Amd/Revise HS Athletics (primary sponsors: Senators Todd Johnson, R-Union; David Craven, R-Randolph; Danny Britt, R-Robeson)
- Previously titled NC Department of Insurance Omnibus (Agency bill)
- Makes substantive changes and revises oversight of interscholastic athletics with similar language found in SB 636: School Athletics Transparency.
- Some differences from SB 636 v.3 include:
- Replaces the State Board of Education with the Superintendent of Public Instruction as the entity that enters into the memorandum of understanding with the administering organization (currently the NC High School Athletic Assn.).
- Expands requirements for the memorandum of understanding.
- Many of the changes apply beginning with the 2024-25 school year.
- Passed House by 67-43 vote, Passed Senate by 43-0 vote
- Click here to read the most recent official bill summary for SB 636, School Athletics Transparency.