NCSBA Legislative Update – September 22, 2023

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.

Benefits

  • $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)

  • Passed House by  99-6 vote, Sent to Senate for concurrence
  • Originally titled City of Hendersonville/Parking Meter Proceeds
  • Modified to incorporate a provision that outlines new boundaries for the Whiteville City Schools Administrative Unit.

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.

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

September 18, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include

House Committee Marks Up Education Bills: On Thursday, the House Education and the Workforce Committee (Chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx NC-05) held a markup of several pieces of legislation, including H.R. 4259, the Think Differently about Education Act; H.R. 5349; the Crucial Communism Teaching Act; and H.R. 5110, the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act. H.R. 4259 requires government agencies to notify parents of their right to seek assistance from outside experts when determining the individual educational plan (IEP) for their child with disabilities; H.R. 5349 provides additional information to help teachers educate American schoolchildren about the political ideology of communism; and H.R. 5110 clarifies that a prohibition on the use of federal education funds for certain weapons included in last Congress’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act does not apply to training in archery, hunting, or other shooting sports.

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

State News

News & Observer: NC Republicans Reach Budget Deal After Agreement To Drop Casino Expansion
News & Observer: Republicans Release Long Awaited $30 Billion NC Budget With Raises and Tax Cuts
WUNC: 13 Noteworthy Things In The Newly Released NC Budget
WFAE: NC Budget To Expand Private School Vouchers And Strip Power From State Board of Education
WRAL: More NC Families Would Qualify For Private School Vouchers Under Massive Program In State Budget
WRAL: Teacher Raises, School Lunches, Early Graduation, AI, Career Development. Here’s What’s In the NC Budget For Education
Carolina Journal: Legislature Passes $30 Billion Budget, Cooper Will Let Become Law
Carolina Journal: Universal School Choice Makes Its Way Into NC Budget
John Locke Foundation: A Few Education Highlights From the House Budget
NC Newsline: State Board of Education’s Power To Withhold Charter School Funding Restricted Under State Budget Proposal
EdNC: Governor Visits Principal Of The Year: ‘Public Education Has Always Been A Driving Force In North Carolina’s Progress

National News

K-12 Dive: Education Ransomware Attacks Cost Over $53B In Downtime Over Five Years
K-12 Dive: Education Department Issues Details For ARP Spending Extension Requests
Education Week: Top National Assessment of Educational Progress Official Talks About Future Of Nation’s Report Card

There are no education-related committee meetings scheduled at this time.
Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

Madison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.org

Rob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org

Christina DavoileNCSBA Legislative Update – September 22, 2023