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