NCSBA Legislative Update – September 29, 2023

The state budget storm has passed, and waters were calm this week at the NC General Assembly. No votes were taken, and only procedural sessions were held. As we mentioned in last week’s legislative update, Governor Cooper plans to let the budget bill become law without his signature. Next up is the drawing of new congressional and legislative districts. Public hearings on the process were held this week.

Calm weather in one place generally means stormy weather somewhere else. That certainly held true in Washington, DC this week as the federal government barreled towards a likely shutdown at midnight on October 1. Unlike the state budget which enables spending to continue past the July 1 deadline at previously authorized levels, the federal budget has no such provisions. Absent passing a budget, all non-essential government operations must cease.

(Pictured; NCSBA President Darrell Pennell, Rep. Virginia Foxx NC-05)

NCSBA President Darrell Pennell (Chair, Caldwell County Schools) and Governmental Relations staff spent much of the week in Washington attending the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA) Fall Advocacy Conference and meeting with several North Carolina congressional offices. It was communicated what a shutdown would mean for K-12 public education. LEAs across the state receive an average of 14.3% of their funding from the federal government, slightly higher than the nationwide average of 11.3%.  The looming shutdown was central to many of the discussions, particularly in the short term as it relates to Impact Aid, Head Start and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. Additionally, we were able to show the need for increased federal funding in several areas such as IDEA funding, cybersecurity, and school nutrition.

Education Bills On Governor’s Desk

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.

Education Bills Signed By The Governor

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 to develop a portfolio-based assessment for prospective principals
  • Requires an internship of at least 500 hours rather than a yearlong internship

Bills Vetoed By The Governor

SB749: No Partisan Advantage In Elections (primary sponsors Senators Warren Daniel, R-Burke; Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus; Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell)

  • Effective January 1, 2024, increase the number of members of the State Board of Elections from 5 to 8, with all 8 members being appointed by the General Assembly.
  • Effective January 1, 2024, decrease the number of members of each of the 100 county boards of elections from 5 to 4, with all 4 members being appointed by the General Assembly.
  • Click here for a bill summary
  • Click here for the Governor’s veto message

There is no Consortium of State School Boards Association (COSSBA) federal education report this week as COSSBA staff was hosting the Fall Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC.

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

State News

Winston-Salem Journal: Ending Reign As Speaker, North Carolina Rep. Tim Moore Won’t Run For House Seat In ’24, Either
EdNC: North Carolina Has A New Budget. Here’s What Educators Need To Know
EdNC: A Guide To Education Items In North Carolina’s New Budget
NC Newsline: Gov. Cooper Will Let State Budget Bill Become Law Without Signature
PBS: Medicaid Expansion To Begin In North Carolina As Governor Lets Budget Bill Become Law
News & Observer: Experienced NC Teachers Unhappy With Budget, Call Small Pay Raises, ‘Slap In the Face
WUNC: How A Government Shutdown Could Impact Food Assistance, Airport Workers And National Parks in NC
WRAL: A Government Shutdown Is Nearing This Weekend. What Does It Mean, Who’s Hit, and What’s Next
News & Observer: 8 NC Schools Named Best In U.S. By Department of Education. Does Your Kid Attend One?
News & Observer: New Wake Policy Says Teachers Can’t Encourage Students To Hide Info From Parents

WRAL: Virtual Teachers Beam Into NC To Give Short-Staffed Schools Some Classroom Consistency
WRAL: Wake Schools Moving Policy Changes Forward With ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ Compliance
WFAE: NC Participation And Scores On AP Tests Top Pre-Pandemic Levels
WFAE: Across North Carolina, School ‘Swatting’ Hoaxes Waste Time And Create Terror
WFAE: Book Battles Across the Region Highlight The Importance of Context
WFAE: Fact Check: Did Roy Cooper Block School Choice Bill?
WUNC: Redistricting Redux – NC Lawmakers To Again Draw New Maps For Congress And For Themselves
Carolina Journal: Legislative Leaders Argue For New State Supreme Court To Review Leandro Case

National News

Education Week: The Federal Government Might Shut Down. (Yes, Again) Here’s What Schools Need To Know 
Education Week: What’s Keeping People From Becoming Teachers? An Eye-Popping To-Do List For One
Education Week: Is This the Year Students Finally Catch up From the Pandemic? Educators Think So
K-12 Dive: Ed Tech Budget Relief: Google Doubles Down On Longer Chromebook Lifespans
Washington Post: The Big Problems With College and K-12 School Rankings
Washington Post: Home Schooling Today Is Less Religious and More Diverse Poll Finds
Washington Post: She Challenges One School Book A Week. She Says She’ll Never Stop

There are no education-related committee meetings scheduled at this time.
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 – September 29, 2023