Christina Davoile

NCSBA Legislative Update – February 2, 2024

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FEBRUARY 2, 2024
Despite the North Carolina General Assembly being out of session, there’s been some notable activity to report. The House Select Committee on Education Reform has been quite busy, meeting twice over the past two weeks. Typically, during these off-session periods, these committee meetings focus on policy-related reports and updates from state agencies, legislative staff, or education-related interest groups.

During the January 22nd meeting, the committee delved into reports concerning teacher compensation and benefits, as well as advanced teaching roles. Presentations were made by the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division and BEST NC, a non-profit, non-partisan business-led coalition dedicated to improving education. The BEST NC presentation really did a particularly good dive into teacher pay in North Carolina as the slide below illustrates.

To see this full BEST NC presentation, click here.  You can check out the remainder of the reports below.

Fiscal Research Division: Teacher Compensation and Benefits
Fiscal Research Division: Advanced Teaching Roles
Best NC: Advanced Teaching Roles

Moving to the January 29th meeting, the Fiscal Research Division started off with a report on Public School Technology – Assessing Demand For and Supply of State Resources. During the presentation, a key item from NCSBA’s legislative agenda was noted – the $730 million owed to the school technology fund that was unconstitutionally diverted to other purposes. Representatives Diane Wheatley (R-Cumberland) and Maria Cervania (D-Wake) serve on the committee and have introduced bills proposing the use of motor vehicle speeding fines to help address over time the $730 million owed to the school technology fund.

Additionally, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) shared two reports: the first one being  Student Device, Home Connectivity, and K12 Artificial Intelligence Guidance Updates. In that presentation DPI’s Chief Information Officer Dr. Vanessa Wrenn reported that 89 of 115 LEAs have indicated that they don’t have, or haven’t identified resources to pay for replacement devices because these federally funded programs expire this year. The other presentation was on learning loss recovery, titled NC’s Road to Recovery through Evidence-based Policymaking.

The final presentation was from the Superintendent of  Randolph County Schools, Dr. Steven Gainey, who discussed the local impact of both learning loss and technology funding. Dr. Gainey also shared concerns about the “funding cliff” that local districts will face when the federal affordable connectivity funding program ends in April and the remaining ESSER funds must be committed by the end of September. Dr. Gainey also pointed out that state funding for technology and connectivity is substantially lower for the 2023-24 school year than it was for the 2009-10 school year. To view Dr. Gainey’s presentation, click here.

Looking ahead, the Education Reform Committee is scheduled to meet again on February 12th.  An agenda has not yet been posted. Both the House and Senate are scheduled for session in case one is needed Wednesday, February 14th. The NCSBA Governmental Relations staff doesn’t anticipate any activity.

Dr. Williams Begins SBE Tenure

Dr. Michael Williams, Board of Trustees Chair of the Roanoke Rapids Graded School System officially began his tenure as the Local Board Representative on the NC State Board of Education (SBE) at this week’s board meeting. “It’s an honor and privilege to be here, I represent the hundreds of school board members from across the state. I hope to bring to the table their perspective on various matters under consideration by this board. We all share a common interest, and that is the children of this state, and affording to them the best opportunities we can provide to educate and prepare themselves for their futures.”

Dr. Williams is the 2023-2024 recipient of NCSBA’s Raleigh Dingman Award, the highest honor bestowed on a North Carolina school board member each year. By statute, each year’s award recipient serves as an ex-officio member of the NC State Board of Education. Dr. Williams also serves on the NCSBA Board of Directors.

Dr. Williams With the NC State Board of Education
Click on the image for video of Dr. Williams’ opening comments.
State Board of Education Meeting February 2024
The State Board of Education (“Board”) met on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

SBE Legislative Agenda
The Board discussed and approved its legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative short session which begins in late April. Items include:

  • $4.5 million to continue funding efforts to transform schools designated as low performing.
  • A joint ask with NC DHHS around evidence-based prevention and early intervention
  • Supporting DPI priorities to ask for resources across 3 areas:  (1) early math screeners, (2) math professional development for teachers in elementary, (3) addressing literacy to middle grade readers, 4th and 5th grade readers in particular.

DPI Legislative Agenda
DPI Secretary Truitt also shared DPI’s legislative priorities for the short session.  Items include;

  • Expansion of Read to Achieve professional development to middle grades teachers
  • Legislate a statewide policy framework for math that includes Early math screener and professional development for elementary math teachers
  • School Performance Grade Redesign
  • Grant Funding to continue support for low-performing schools and districts
  • Continued funding  for Office of Learning and Research at NC DPI

NCSBA Legislative Priorities
While it was not a part of the SBE meeting, it is useful to also list NCSBA’s legislative priorities for the short session.

  • Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent; Improving Working Conditions
    • Increased pay and additional benefits
  • Student Centered Calendar
  • Fund more School Health Personnel
  • Accountability
    • Work with and support DPI’s efforts to revamp the school grading formula, statewide testing, and what constitutes a low-performing school
  • High School Athletics
  • Modify New Early Graduate Program
    • Allow local boards of education to maintain additional requirements for students graduating in 4 years, based on local needs.

Center for Safer Schools Data Report
First, the Board received the Annual Consolidated Data Report for the 2022-2023 School year from Karen Fairley, Executive Director, Office of the Center for Safer Schools. The center compiles the report which is required by the legislature to address dropout rates, suspensions, expulsions, uses of corporal punishment, reassignments for disciplinary purposes, alternative placements, and acts of violence in the public schools.   Statistics in the report include:

  • 13.3% decrease for high school dropouts from 10,841 in 2021-22, to 9,612 in 2022-23. DPI notes this is the lowest number of high school dropouts across the state in a non-pandemic year since the 2013-14 school year.
  • Increase in school safety incidents (includes acts of crime violence, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of a weapon) from11,170 in 2021-22, to 13,193 in 2022-23. DPI notes that incidents involving weapon possession decreased by 3.7%
  • 35.7% increase in controlled substance incidents.
  • 3.7% decrease in weapon possession incidents.

DPI stated that “the report’s findings increase safety awareness and allow school districts to evaluate safety protocols while facilitating discussions around how to improve, identify and strengthen safety measures in schools and communities.”

Click here for a DPI press release on these statistics and more, including increases in suspensions and expulsions.  To see the PowerPoint presentation click here and see the full report to the legislature here.

Student Health and Safety

NC Health and Human Services Secretary, Kody H. Kinsley, wants to continue working with the Board and DPI to improve student and community health and safety. He highlighted the important impact of school-based health programs on student behavior and performance.

Secretary Kinsley reported on the following statistics:

  • North Carolina is ranked 42nd out of 50 states in youth mental health service access
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-18 in NC
  • On average more than 50 children sleep in emergency departments and DSS offices each week due to unmet behavioral health needs
  • 1 in 10 NC high school students attempted suicide
  • 1 in 3 NC high school students are chronically absent
  • 72% of NC high school students are not able to access needed mental health care

Secretary Kinsley believes that working together to address these issues in the schools maximizes the impact which in turn improves academic outcomes. See his full presentation which includes areas in need of investment, the vision for school behavioral health, and next steps,  here.

Dr. Sarah Komisaro, from the Duke Sanford School of Public policy, then spoke to the benefits of school-based telemedicine access which her research shows reduces the likelihood that a student is chronically absent by 2.5 percentage points (29 percent) and the number of days a student is absent by about 0.8 days per year (10 percent).  She added that her research suggests that telehealth can reduce violent or weapons-related disciplinary infractions. Reginald Keenan, Chair of the Healthy Responsible Students committee, summed it up later in the meeting in speaking about the Duke report and use of telemedicine in schools, “any positive effort to get to the children before the crisis is important” and it shows that “you can prevent violence if you put things in place.” See full presentation here.

Further Discussions

American Rescue Plan ESSA III Updated Budget Plan: DPI indicated that due to changes in the budgets for previously approved items, there is approximately $4.6 million currently available from ESSER III grants for further initiatives. The Board is poised to approve activities to be funded from ESSER III State Reserve funds at the March meeting.

Alan Duncan, Chair of the Business Operations Committee, reported that he expects the amount of available funds to rise until June 30 to around $5.5 million.  Proposals include $1.75 million for professional development in advanced teaching roles, $1.3 million for portrait of a graduate online learning modules, and regional training.

Up to $2 million is proposed for virtual summer courses through NC Virtual Public School. Superintendent Truitt notes that the national score card out of Harvard this week shows summer programs are recommended to recover from pandemic learning loss. $100,000 is proposed for DPI to hold a summit on AI issues with folks throughout the state. For the full list of proposed program spending see the Updated Budget Plan and the additional Funding Requests for 2024.

Career and College Promise (CCP) and Cooperative Innovative High School Programs: The full report will be submitted to the General Assembly. NC students have 3 pathways to higher education without cost as follows: College Transfer Path (CTP), Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Cooperative Innovative High Schools (CIHS).  State Board policy CACP-000 requires LEAs to have developed a CCP Partnership Agreement with their CCP college partner by December 2023. The agreement must address partnership protocols, program offerings, communication plan to broaden access, student academic support systems, and responsibilities of school/district and college personnel, responsibilities for program expenses, operation and use of facilities and transportation. See  presentation here and full report here.

Standards Revisions:  The Board received the monthly update on the progress of ongoing standards revisions. DPI is analyzing data collected from surveys that closed on the K-12 Healthful Living Standards January 14 and will now create the third and final draft for these standards. Another survey will be released in mid-February following the second draft of K-12 Arts standards.  K-12 World Language surveys will be open until mid-March.  For more information see full report here.

The Board reviewed and did not approve EPPs for Moreland University and Kipp NC to allow time for further research. For information on Moreland University see here and Kipp NC see here.

Policies Reviewed and Approved

  • Parents’ Bill of Rights Parental Concern Hearings Policy Changes
  • Ninth Grade Accelerated Preparation for College Entry
  • Middle School Introduction to Computer Science Elective Courses Requirement
  • RFP for Community Learning Centers
  • USDA Assistance Funds
  • Changes to Professional Certification of Finance Officers
  • After School Robotics Grant Recipients
  • Allotment for Modernization of LEA Business Systems
  • Heathy Active Children Policy Report
  • 2023 School Mental Health Policy Report
  • Final Evaluation Report for Innovation School District (INSD

Parents’ Bill of Rights Parental Concern Hearings Policy Changes: The Board updated State Board Policy PRNT-001, Parental Concern Hearings Procedure, so that it is consistent with 16 NCAC 06G .0701, the newly approved rule approved at the last meeting.  Changes add definitions, clarify parents’ right to request a hearing, and provide documents to be submitted. See policy changes here.

Ninth Grade Accelerated Preparation for College Entry:  The Board amended policy GRAD-006 to include the changes discussed last month which provide a recommended course sequence for both traditional and block high school schedules and for PSUs adopting sequences based on local needs. See policy here.

Middle School Introduction to Computer Science Elective Courses Requirement: The Board approved a list of elective middle school courses which satisfy the introductory computer science course requirement mandated in S.L. 2023-132. See list here.

RFP for Community Learning Centers: The Board approved the Request for Proposal (RFP) for LEAs, community-based organizations, city or county agencies, faith-based organizations, Bureau of Indian Education schools, Institutions of Higher Education, and for-profit corporations to submit applications to receive federal funds to provide education enrichment and learning support in out-of-school programs. Applications are due April 23, 2024. See report here and RFP here.

USDA Assistance Funds: The Board approved distribution of $35,228,553 in federal funds to assist districts dealing with supply chain disruptions which are causing financial difficulty/need. Recipients must agree to purchase only unprocessed or minimally processed food products.  For grant agreement and a full list recipients’ funding allocations see here and here.

Professional Certification of Finance Officers: The Board approved changes to the Professional Certification Program for North Carolina School Finance Officers (FINO-000) to align policy with S.L. 2023-134. Finance Officers must complete at least two hours of conflict-of-interest training regarding the making and administering of contracts every odd-numbered fiscal year. Current Finance Officers must receive their initial training by April 2024. New Finance Officers must receive their training within 90 days, and subsequent trainings in every following odd-numbered fiscal year.  See policy here.

After School Robotics Grant Recipients: Per S.L. 2023-134, the After School Robotics Competitive Grant application was provided to all PSUs. The total grant was funded at $1,000,000. NCDPI received over $2.1 million in requests from 46 schools. The Board approved the 22 recipients listed here.

Allotment to Modernize LEA Business Systems:  The Board approved changes to the allotment policy for funds to implement the School Business System Modernization Plan which supports the modernization of local education agency (LEA) business systems, particularly those that support financial, payroll, human resources, and related human capital functions. See policy here.

Healthy Active Children Policy Report: Last month DPI staff reported on ratios of licensed PE teachers to students and data showing a correlation between physical activity and less persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness among high school students in NC.  This month the Board approved the report.  See full report here.

2023 School Mental Health Policy Report:  Last month the Board discussed the need for support personnel such as school psychologists, counselors, and nurses, noting that chronic absenteeism goes down with the right ratios and time for instruction goes up.   This month the Board approved the report. See full report here.

Final Evaluation Report for Innovation School District (INSD): The Board approved the report to the general assembly with the final evaluation of the pilot program known as the Innovate School District (INSD). See report here.

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

January 29, 2024 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

Federal Budget Update: The continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress in November expired on January 19th. The day before the CR expired, both chambers of Congress kicked the can down the road again and passed a CR which expires either March 1, or March 8th, depending on the classification into which the funded federal agencies fall. The Democratic-controlled Senate remains far apart from the Republican-controlled House.

Education Department Releases National Education Technology Plan: The plan points to three key factors, or “divides,” that limit impactful education technology usage to support teaching and learning. Those divides include, 1) The Digital Use Divide, addressing opportunities to improve how students use technology to enhance their learning; 2) The Digital Design Divide, addressing opportunities for educators to expand their professional learning and build the capacities necessary to design learning experiences enabled by technology; and 3) The Digital Access Divide, addressing opportunities for students and educators to gain equitable access to educational technology. To read more about the plan, click here.

Montgomery County School System Wins $1.4 Million Federal Grant: They’re celebrating down in Troy, NC. Their system was among 19 school systems across the country receiving a total of $25 million in grants through the first-ever Perkins Innovation and Modernization Career Connected High School Programs. The grants from the Department of Education build the capacity of education and workforce systems to partner with business and industry, to develop new high-quality career-connected high school programs for more students. Grantees will leverage four evidence-based strategies, or “keys,” to help students in unlocking career success including: providing postsecondary education and career guidance; increasing access to dual or concurrent enrollment programs; increasing work-based learning opportunities; and providing industry-recognized credentials. To read a press release about the program, click here.

 

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

State News

WFAE: No Oversight For NC Charter Schools? That’s Not Really True
WFAE: Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board Is Ready For Legal Fight Over Parents Bill of Rights
News & Observer: Federal Complaint Accuses NC Parents Bill of Rights of Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination
News & Observer: NC Legislative Leader Vows Quick Response to School Board Vote On Parents Bill of Rights
News & Observer: School Crime Soars In NC Public Schools. It’s Now 38% Above Pre-Pandemic Levels.
WCNC: North Carolina Schools To Add Threat-Assessment Teams Ahead of Next Year
News & Observer: NC Schools Get $35 Million In Safety Grants. Here’s What It Can Be Used For.
Carolina Journal: School Board Rejects NC Law, A Quick Trip To Chaos
WFAE: State Education Officials Recommend Changes To Special Education Funding, Services
News & Observer: We Could Not Be More Proud; NC Leads US in Number of Nationally Certified Teachers
Charlotte Observer: New Policy Will Allow NC Private High School Athletes To Benefit From NIL
UNC System Press Release: NC Teaching Fellows Program Launches District Pilot Recruitment Initiative
WCNC: NC To Receive $12 M From White House for School Counselors
WRAL: Most NC Schools Say They’re Running Out of Money To Replace Students Laptops
WRAL: NC Creates AI Guidebook For Schools, Fourth In the Nation To Do So
WRAL: NC’s New School Voucher Program Reignites Funding Debate
North State Journal: NC Department of Public Instruction Releases AI Guidebook

National News

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Press Release: CMS Announces $50 Million In Grants to Deliver Critical School Based Health to Children
Higher Ed Dive: 2 Final Title IX Regulations Will Likely Be Delayed – Again
Education Week: How Taylor Swift’s Experience With Deepfakes Can Help Students Examine AI Ethics
Education Week: What’s On the K-12 Agenda For States This Year? 4 Takeaways
Washington Post: White House Urges Schools To Address Absenteeism Amid Troubling Data

House Select Committee on Education Reform
Monday, February 12 1:00pm
Legislative Office Building, Room 643
An agenda has not yet been released. Check the committee website linked above for updates.
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 – February 2, 2024
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NCSBA Legislative Update – January 5, 2024

As the holidays passed in the NC Senate and House, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Once again, skeletal sessions were held on Wednesday, December 20, and Thursday, December 21 with no votes taken. The legislature is scheduled to reconvene on Wednesday, January 17. We’ll certainly keep you posted on any developments.

Candidate filing for the 2024 elections closed on Friday, December 15. Incumbents and challengers from across the political spectrum seized the opportunity to submit their filing fees and secure a spot on the ballot for positions ranging from congress and governor to sheriff and school board.

Roughly 12% of State legislators (15 House & 6 Senate) chose not to run again for their current seat. 8 of those 15 House members and 2 of the 6 Senators decided to instead run for a different office (1 for State Senate, 5 for Council of State, 4 for Congress).

Click here for the list of North Carolina House candidates. Click here for the list of North Carolina Senate candidates. Click here for a list of Council of State, Congressional, and Judicial candidates.

The NCSBA Governmental Relations team would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year!

The State Board of Education (“Board”) rang in the New Year with a meeting on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  Raleigh Dingman Award recipient Dr. Michael Williams was recognized as Local Board of Education advisor for this year.
The Board approved the following:

  • Parents’ Bill of Rights Parental Concern Hearings Rule Changes
  • Three-Year High School Graduation Rule
  • Amendment to Policy on Reform of Continually Low-Performing Schools
  • Update on Temporary Rules for Interscholastic Athletics
  • Licensure Renewal Requirements
  • Standards of Professional Conduct Rule
  • Funding Model for Advanced Teaching Roles Program
  • Approval of Summer Enhancement Grant Program
  • Amendment to Schools Allotment Policy Manual

Parents’ Bill of Rights Parental Concern Hearings Rule Changes: In response to public input, the Board approved changes to the temporary rule 15 NCAC 06G.0701 it approved in November.  Changes add definitions, clarify parents’ right to request a hearing, and provide documents to be submitted.  Legal staff will return with a permanent rule later this year.   See rule with proposed changes in detail here.

Three-Year High School Graduation:  The Board approved changes to the temporary Rule 16 NCAC 06D.0510 it approved in November.  Changes address the need for PSUs to provide information on the graduation requirements for this three-year option. See changes here.

Amendment to Policy on Reform of Continually Low-Performing Schools: State Board policy DSTR-040 provides procedures for a local board of education to request authorization to implement a school reform model in a continually low-performing school under G.S. 115C-105.37B. The Board approved changes to set forth procedures for qualification for all four school reform models, including the Transformation Model, the Restart Model, the Turnaround Model, and the School Closure Model.  See policy and changes here.

Update on Temporary Rules for Interscholastic Athletics: On October 3, 2023, the General Assembly enacted S.L. 2023-133, which made significant changes to state laws governing interscholastic athletics and requires the State Board to adopt temporary rules in time for the 2024-2025 school year. The proposed temporary rules are designed to satisfy this legislative requirement and address such topics as the administration of interscholastic athletics, student health and safety, student participation requirements, amateur rules, penalties, and the appeals process. There will be a public comment period and hearing with adoption in March.  The temporary rules will take effect July 1, 2024.  A summary of the proposed changes is here.  Proposed temporary rules are here.
Licensure Renewal Requirements: The Board approved changes it reviewed last month for licensure renewal in SBE Policy LICN-005.  These changes apply to administrators, teachers, and student services personnel (including counselors, social workers, school psychologists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and media coordinators).  As recommended by PEPSC amendments include removal of the requirement for separate continuing education units (CEUs) solely related to digital teaching and learning. Also, mandatory state and local professional development must (was may) be counted towards general CEUs if certain criteria are met.  See policy changes here.

Standards of Professional Conduct Rules:  The Board approved several proposed temporary rules for public notice and comment which revise and create new provisions addressing the conduct of professional educators and revise Board rules related to teacher licensure suspension and revocation.  One of the new rules clarifies that a licensee may face disciplinary action against the license for violating the Standards of Professional Conduct.   Other provisions specify the types of sanctions the Board can impose on a licensee, including a written warning, a written reprimand, a suspension for a defined term, and revocation. Under the rules, the Board may attach remedial conditions to an action, such as a requirement that the licensee complete additional CEUs. PEPSC has reviewed and recommended the rules. See presentation here and a complete summary of proposed rule changes here.

Funding Model for Advanced Teaching Roles Program: The Board approved a funding model for the LEAs previously selected to participate in this program.  For presentations and a list of  districts participating in this program see here and here.

Approval of Summer Enhancement Grant Program: Under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act NCDPI was awarded $1.4 million in supplemental funding which it proposed to use to fund the Competitive Summer Enhancement Grant ProgramNine applications met the minimum threshold for quality and are recommended for funding of a total award of $839,557. These applicants proposed to serve 625 students in 2- or 3-week intensive summer sessions. No LEAs applied.  Of the eleven applicants that submitted a proposal, two were charter schools, eight were community-based nonprofits, and one was a community-based for-profit.  Students in Pitt, Wilson, Scotland, Guilford, Buncombe, Bladen, and Cabarrus may benefit from these programs. See overview here.

Amendment to Schools Allotment Policy Manual:  The Board approved changes to the Allotment Policy Manual resulting from the 2023-24 appropriations legislation and to address several new State grants and one Federal grant.  Grants include funding for stop sign arms, teacher apprentices, Rethink Education which provides professional development and compensates teachers for it, and  PLASMA Games which provides educational software to be used in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and career and technical education (CTE) courses. See revised Allotment Policy Manual for the 2023-24 year here.

In addition, this month, the Board received several reports and discussed the following:

  • Funding in Arrears Report
  • Ninth Grade Accelerated Preparation for College Entry
  • Standards Revisions
  • Year-Over-Year Analysis Report on Recovery from Covid-19
  • ESSA State Plan Amendment
  • $7.9 Million Grant for Math Education in Rural Schools
  • SparkNC
  • Renewal School System Report
  • Charter Schools Review Board Update
  • Charter School Renewal Process
  • Heathy Active Children Policy Report
  • 2023 School Mental Health Policy Report
  • Wilson Area School-Based Health Centers
  • Other reports

Funding in Arrears Report: This report is due for DPI to submit to the General Assembly next month. Section 7.20 of S.L.2023-134 (State Budget) requires DPI to develop a model to fund PSUs based on the actual ADM from the prior school year instead of projections for the upcoming school year. DPI is required to propose technical adjustments for public school funding to the State Board of Education for approval before submitting the State Budget Director and the Fiscal Research Division. DPI’s CFO, Alexis Schauss, gave a lengthy report on a proposed model proposed for calculating school funding which includes a method to account for newly formed charter schools. The report was for discussion only this month and will be up for State Board approval to send to the General Assembly next month. (See report here and presentation here).

Ninth Grade Accelerated Preparation for College Entry:  Since PSUs are now required to offer 3-year pathways to graduation, the Board discussed amending policy GRAD-006 to include a recommended course sequence for both traditional and block high school schedules and for PSUs adopting sequences based on local needs. See here.

Standards Revisions:  The Board received an update on the progress of ongoing standards revisions.   DPI indicates it is making progress on drafts of K-12 World Language and Arts standards.  Surveys on Healthful Living will be open until the middle of January.  For more information see here.

Year-Over-Year Analysis Report on Recovery from Covid-19: The Board received the 2023 Year-Over-Year Analysis Report from the Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration. This report indicates North Carolina Schools are steadily continuing to recover from the Pandemic with what DPI reports are “gains virtually across all grades and subjects.” Two of 16 standardized assessments (EOG Reading Grade 3 and EOC English II) already show gains above the recovery thresholds.   The report uses a new method of analysis which provides more information to inform local discussion about recovery from the Pandemic. The new analysis focuses on trends in achievement during the last 10 years and compares those trends during time periods before, during, and after the Pandemic. For presentation and report see here and here.

ESSA State Plan Amendment: DPI met with the Department of Education to discuss resetting long-term goals. There will be a webinar this month to gather input on this proposal to reset long-term goals, timelines, and criteria for implementing the State ESSA plan. More information is here. For an article entitled “NC’s latest response to learning loss: Asking feds to let state hit the reset button” click here.

$7.9 Million Grant for Math Education in Rural Schools: This 5-year grant awarded by the Department of Education is referred to as the Patterns for Reaching & Impacting Students in Math (PRISM).  The goal is to increase math proficiency. Through a partnership with Carnegie Learning to implement a professional development platform and coaching and WestEd to research and evaluate the impact on teachers and students,  up to 300 rural 4th grade Math teachers serving 7000 students across the state will receive ongoing professional learning. Initial groups of teachers and students will be identified this year as DPI finalizes the processes, protocols, and procedures to initiate the grant work.  Full implementation is expected to begin in January of 2025. See presentation here.

SparkNC:  SparkNC is a North Carolina nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, launched with the support of the North Carolina General Assembly in partnership with DPI with the strategic vision of developing students’ durable skills and engagement in real-world challenges.
SparkNC is designed to help students who are Spark Scholars create their own pathway to high-tech fields. Through the program a network of school districts collaborates so each district operates one or more SparkLabs to serve as physical hubs for a new kind of learning. This organization wants to expand this to districts throughout the State. SparkLabs are currently available in 20 districts, two charters, and some private schools. Wake County Schools have the newest lab located on the Wake Tech campus. Former Superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools, Dr. Lynn Moody, introduced this project to the Board and Dr. John Stover, superintendent of Rockingham County Schools reported on the value of the program currently operating in his school system.  See presentation here and website here.  For an article on this program titled “SparkNC brings self-directed, competency-based learning to public school students” click here.

Renewal School System Report:  Rowan-Salisbury Schools (RSS) is North Carolina’s only Renewal School System which provides RSS charter-like flexibility with its calendar, curriculum, personnel, and finance.  Kelly Withers, RSS superintendent, presented the district’s annual report last month and was back to respond to questions this month. See her presentation here.

Charter Schools Review Board Update: Chair Bruce Friend and Vice Chair John Eldridge, gave a brief update on the December meeting. No charters have been approved yet in the 2023 cycle, but the chair reports that of the 15 original applicants • 10 Application interviews / reviews have been completed • 6 have been moved into the Ready to Open Process/4 were declined • 2 applicants have their second interview with CSRB in January • 3 applicants withdrew prior to the interview process. See report here.

Charter School Renewal Process:  The State Board and Superintendent Truitt continue to discuss the charter school approval process. This month the discussion focused on proposed guidelines for the renewal process.  See guidelines here.  To read an article on this issue titled, “Charter school renewal policy proposal sparks testy State Board of Education debate” click here.

Heathy Active Children Policy Report: DPI staff reported on ratios of licensed PE teachers to students and data showing a correlation between physical activity and less persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness among high school students in NC.  Some good news is that 100% of LEAs have a policy in place while 50% of School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) met at least quarterly. 72% of SHACs provided annual reports to their local board. 63% of schools provided staff wellness programs.  Areas of health focused on this year were tobacco/vaping, safe school environment, mental health counseling, and social work.  Employee wellness is the top area in need of additional resources while counseling, psychological, and social services are second.  99% of LEAs elementary schools provide 30 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity through recess, physical education, classroom energizers, and GoNoodle. 76% of Middles Schools do this through Physical Education and classroom energizers, recess, intramurals. No teacher or school withheld recess as a punishment in 99% of LEAs.  See full report here.

2023 School Mental Health Policy Report:  327 to 336 total PSUs responded to DPI’s survey. Staff and the Board discussed the benefit of support personnel such as school psychologists, counselors, and nurses, noting that chronic absenteeism goes down with the right ratios and time for instruction goes up.   See full report here. For an article entitled “NC schools lack enough counselors, nurses, social workers and psychologists report says” click here.

Wilson Area School-Based Health Centers:  Within the context of the Healthy Responsible Students committee discussion on healthy schools, Superintendent Lane Mills from Wilson gave a presentation on the school-based health centers set up in Wilson County Schools.  He noted that this partnership with the local county health department enables them to provide 4 onsite clinics in the schools. Mills reported that relationships are key to making this work. A private Healthcare Foundation provided seed funding.  DPI staff indicated that the state provides some seed funding to get these clinics started in schools. Mills also noted that the clinics have been key to keeping teachers and staff in school and that telehealth has been helpful in staffing the clinics. Information on WASH is here.

Other Reports: Read to Achieve Literacy Intervention Plans Approved and Denied in 2022-2023 (report here), Pilot Program to Raise the High School Dropout Age (report here), School Connectivity Initiative (report here), Weighted Funding for Exceptional Children (report here and presentation here), and Study for Students with Extraordinary Costs (report here and presentation here).

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

December 11, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

-NC Educational Programs were awarded almost $15 million of the $277 million distributed by the Federal Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Grant Program.  The EIR programs help create, implement, replicate, and expand entrepreneurial, evidence-based innovations to improve outcomes for historically underserved learners and to evaluate such innovations. There were a total of 45 grantees.  Three listed below are the North Carolina based programs.

N.C. Department of Public Instruction PRISM: Patterns for Reaching and Impacting Students in Math  $7,868,972
Village of Wisdom, Inc. That’s Just Good Teaching Program  $4,000,000
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Strengthening Social-Emotional Learning in High Schools with Integrated Multi-Tiered Mindfulness Programming   $4,000,000

To learn more about the EIR Grants, click here.

-FCC Proposes New Rules Addressing Homework Gap: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a proposed rule to address the ongoing remote learning needs of students, school staff, and librarians through the E-Rate program.  The purpose is to help ensure families benefiting from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program are not left behind when the program sunsets on June 30, 2024. The program helps fund connected devices, Wi-Fi hotspot devices, broadband connections, and other eligible equipment and services for their needs outside of their school or library.  The FCC is reexamining the E-Rate program and seeking comment on proposals and potential actions the Commission could take to support E-Rate beneficiaries who are at risk of losing access to essential broadband connections necessary to engage in educational opportunities once the ECF program sunsets this June. The FCC is accepting comments through January 8, 2024, and reply comments are due on January 22, 2024.

For more information on these programs and to learn how to submit comments, click here.

Authors of the weekly COSSBA updates took a break following the December 11th publication.  They’ll be back at it the week of January 15th.

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

State News

North State Journal: 46% of North Carolina School Board Races Will Be Partisan in 2024
North State Journal: A Look Back At The Year In K-12 Education
WFAE: New Report – Third Grade Reading Is Bright Spot for Learning Recovery
WFAE: NC Students Face Brutal Realities of Lingering Pandemic Setbacks In Schools
WFAE: Most CMS Families Aren’t Responding to ‘Parents Rights’ Permission Requests
WFAE: Where Do NC Students Go to School? Trends Show Decline At Traditional Public Schools
WFAE: Gaston Schools Will Keep Defying NC Calendar Law For Two More Years
WFAE: NC Budget Lets Teachers Who Struggle With Licensing Exams Keep Their Jobs
News & Observer: NC Schools Lack Enough Counselors, Nurses, Social Workers and Psychologists Report Says
News & Observer: Facing a State Deadline, Wake Schools Pass Policy To Comply With Parents Bill of Rights
News & Observer: NC Schools Sue Social Media Companies For Exploiting Addictive Nature of Platforms
News & Observer: NC Is a National Leader in Charter and Private School Growth. Good News or a Threat?
Carolina Journal: Change For Good – The NC Charter School Review Board and the Road Ahead
Carolina Journal: NC Has 3rd Highest Charter School Enrollment Growth In Nation
NC Health News: Task Force To Focus On Social Media Algorithms, Gun Storage Education, To Help Keep NC Kids Safer in 2024
NC Department of Public Instruction Press Release: NCDPI Awarded $7.9 Million To Address Math Disparities in Rural Schools

National News

EdSource: Threats, Stress and Politics Pushing Superintendents Out the Door
K-12 Dive: School Districts Face Growing Competition for Students
K-12 Dive: 4 Key School Staffing Solution Themes That Emerged in 2023
K-12 Dive: 5 Insights From Top School Administrators In 2023
Education Week: Students’ Math Outcomes Have Plummeted. Here’s What To Do
Washington Post: Homeschooling’s Rise From Fringe to Fastest Growing Form of Education

There are no education-related committee meetings scheduled at this time.
The NCSBA Governmental Relations team would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Healthy New Year!
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 – January 5, 2024
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NCSBA Legislative Update – December 8, 2023

Recently, the NC General Assembly convened for skeletal sessions on Wednesday, November 29, with no votes taken. Meanwhile, County Boards of Elections experienced heightened activity as the filing period for the 2024 elections kicked off at noon on December 4th. Incumbents and challengers from across the political spectrum seized the opportunity to submit their filing fees and secure a spot on the ballot for positions ranging from Governor to school board.

Notably, the political arena saw three state legislative contenders emerge from the school boards community: Dana Caudill Jones, the former Chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education, is running for Senate District 31, the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth). Additionally, Monika Johnson-Hostler, from the Wake County Board of Education, entered the race for House District 33, the seat being vacated by the retirement of Rep. Rosa Gill, also a former school board member (D-Wake). Finally, Nancy Meek, a former Chair of the Hickory City Board of Education, filed to run  for Senate District 45, the seat being vacated by the retirement of Sen. Dean Proctor (R-Catawba).

Filing closes at noon on Friday December 15th. Click here for the list of North Carolina House candidates who have filed so far. Click here for the list of North Carolina Senate candidates. Click here for a list of Council of State and Congressional candidates.

The State Board of Education ( “Board”) met Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  The Board approved the following:

  • New Policy on Parents’ Guide to Student Achievement
  • K-12 Guidance Standards
  • Computer Science Courses Satisfying Graduation Requirements
  • Changes to Athletics Policies
  • General Licensing Requirements Policy Amendment
  • Membership NCVPS Advisory Board
  • Digital Learning Grants RFPs
  • Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports (ELISS) Competitive Grant Program
  • Contract Over $500,000

New Policy on Parents’ Guide to Student Achievement: The policy requires PSUs to develop and distribute a guide to student achievement for parents that meets certain requirements of the recent Parents’ Bill of Rights legislation. DPI staff indicated there will be a webinar next week with a template. See the policy here and the presentation here.

K-12 Guidance Standards:  Pursuant to Board policy SCOS-012 the Board approved guidance standards that are based on the American School Counselor Association Standards called Mindsets and Behavior for Student Success.  Instead of Guidance Standards, the name of this standard will be changed to Student Success Standards. See presentation here.

Computer Science Courses Satisfying Graduation Requirements: SL2023-132 created GS §115C-81.90 which requires the completion of a computer science course for graduation from high school starting with students entering the ninth grade in school year 2024-2025. The Board approved a list of Computer Science, IT, and Technology Education courses that would satisfy the graduation requirements. Click here for the list.

Changes to Athletics Policies:  Board legal counsel recommended  changes in several policies to coordinate Board policies with those of the N.C. High School Athletic Association for the 2023-2024 year. Those policies are as follows;

Athletic Trainers
Interscholastic Athletics
Administering Organizations
Concussion Safety and Emergency Plans
Penalty Rules
Student Participation Rules
Reporting Rules

Counsel indicated policy changes reflect what the Board originally approved during its September meeting.

General Licensing Requirements Policy Amendment: The Board amended its policy to reflect the changes from the recent appropriations legislation and also made some technical changes. The Board approved the limited license to be renewable for a duration of three years for the same PSU and eliminated the requirement of effectiveness data for out-of-state license holders with three or more years of teaching experience. With each of these changes, the Board added provisions.

First, when a limited license is being renewed, the employing local board must submit an affidavit signed by both the supervising principal and the superintendent stating that the teacher is an effective teacher who is currently employed by the local board and who will be encouraged to continue to pursue a CPL. Second, under the revised policy, out-of-state educators with three or more years of experience will now need to (1) provide documentation showing completion of an educator preparation program approved in the state in which the educator resides and (2) have achieved a passing score on an exam approved by that state where the license is issued and which fulfills, in part, the requirement to convert the license to a continuing license in that state. Technical changes revised the definition of Public School Unit to include LEA, Charter School, ISD School, Laboratory School, or Residential School and replaced references to LEA with PSU. See policy here.

Digital Learning Grants RFPs:  The Board approved the RFPs for these grants. The North Carolina Digital Learning Plan recommends the provision of grants to support the development and dissemination of local innovative digital learning models. The goal is to have effective innovative practices, implementing digital teaching and learning in conjunction with NC Digital Learning Competencies and Digital Learning Standards for Students. All PSUs are eligible to apply for these grants.  The request for proposals opens December 6, 2023, with proposals due March 4, 2024. The programs will be implemented Fall 2024-Spring 2027. See Digital Learning Impact Grant RFP and  Emerging Technologies Grant RFP.  See presentation here.

Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports (ELISS) Competitive Grant Program:  This program funds support service programs for at-risk students to raise standards for student academic outcomes. The legislature has appropriated seven million dollars each year for 2023-2025.  Grant participants are eligible to receive grants for up to two years in an amount of up to $500,000 each year. Nonprofit corporations working with LEAs are eligible to apply to implement new or existing eligible programs for at-risk students. RFPs will be made available December 8, 2023, and are due by noon on January 17, 2023.  Approval and notification will be in March 2024. See presentation here.

Contract Over $500,000:  The Board approved amending the contract with the SAS EVAAS team to continue to gather and analyze the data needed to generate the legislatively mandated report which will quantify recovery from the pandemic. For a presentation on the amendment  click here. For the memorandum on the contracts click here .

In addition, this month, the Board received several reports and discussed proposed changes to policy as follows:

  • 2023-2024 Report Beginning of Year Early Grade Reading Proficiency
  • Report on Broadening Access to and Increasing Success in Advanced Courses
  • Report on Transition Planning for Residential Schools for the Deaf and Blind
  • Standards Revisions
  • Licensure Renewal Requirements
  • Charter Schools Review Board Update
  • Appeals from Charter Schools Review Board (CSRB)
  • Charter School Renewal Process
  • Other reports

2023-2024 Report Beginning of Year Early Grade Reading Proficiency:  New data shows that elementary school students continue to make significant improvements in their reading skills. Based on beginning-of-year testing data, North Carolina students outpaced their peers on a national level in grades 1-3, while grades K-3 have shown steady improvement since the implementation of a standardized early literacy assessment in the 2021-22 school year.  For more information see presentation here.

Report on Broadening Access to and Increasing Success in Advanced Courses:  This report indicates that due to a consistent and intentional focus in the state, improvements have been made both in terms of participation in advance level courses and performance on advanced level exams. In 2022-2023 exam fees were covered for the cost of college level exams for all in the amount of $14,178,991.45.  Professional learning was also available for teachers in all districts. There is a 15.9% increase since last year in the number of students taking at least one AP course with 93,050 students currently enrolled-the highest enrollment ever according to DPI.  NC public school students earned qualifying scores on 80,792 AP tests which is a 15.4% increase over the prior year. See the report here and presentation here.

Report on Transition Planning for Residential Schools for the Deaf and Blind:  Pursuant to Session Law 2023-10 the residential schools for the deaf and blind will be governed by separate, independent boards of trustees, effective July 1, 2024.  DPI is required to develop a transition plan and submit interim reports on progress.  This is the second of three reports.  DPI highlighted the need for HR and legal supports for these schools. See full report here.

Standards Revisions:  The Board received an update on the progress of ongoing standards’ revisions.   DPI indicated it is making progress with surveys on K-12 Healthful Living, Arts, and World Language standards this past month.  For more information see presentation here.

Licensure Renewal Requirements:  Based on changes in Session Law 2023-134, policy LICN-005 has been updated to reflect the changes for licensure renewal.  These amendments include removal of the requirement for digital teaching and learning continuing education units (CEUs) and the provision that mandatory state and local professional development may be counted towards general CEUs. The Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission (PEPSC) unanimously recommended these amendments to LICN-005 during its November monthly meeting. See presentation here.

Charter Schools Review Board Update: Chair Bruce Friend and Vice Chair John Eldridge, gave a brief update on the November meeting. The board (1) approved Movement Freedom’s grade span reduction amendment request, (2) approved two applications (Movement School Gastonia and Movement School Greensboro), and (3) began renewal presentations/interviews with 8 schools placed at 3 year renewals or nonrenewal. The next meeting of this board is December 11, and 12. For more information see here

Appeals from Charter Schools Review Board (CSRB): Two charter schools appealed to the State Board of Education from decisions by the CSRB. After hearings on the requests, the board unanimously voted to not renew the charter for Heritage Collegiate Leadership Academy and close the School of the Arts for Boys Academy (SABA).

Charter School Renewal Process:  Within the context of revising policy, the Board discussed the charter school renewal process now that there is the new CSRB. The Board discussed revising current policy to set forth its expectations regarding compliance requirements for charters to meet for the renewal process.  Chair Davis would like to see the policy set forth a process for DPI to sign off on certain requirements. He wants the State Superintendent to make sure charters are in compliance and let the Board know when they are not.  Vice Chair Duncan indicated it is problematic when there are not matching comparables.  Local board advisor, Henry Mercer said he would like to see similar expectations for all schools but thinks it will be hard to guarantee this if some are held to higher standards.

Other Reports:

  • Pilot Program to Raise School Dropout Age (report here and presentation here)
  • Teacher Compensation and Advanced Teaching Roles Program Grant Recipients (report here and presentation here)
  • 2022-2023 NC Virtual Public School Report here
  • Rowan-Salisbury Schools-Renewal School System (report here)
  • Education of Children in Private Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (report here).

The Board recognized eight Blue Ribbon Schools award winners designated by the US Department of Education. The program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The schools recognized were:

  • Beaufort County Early College High School, Beaufort County Schools
  • Fairview Elementary School, Buncombe County Schools
  • Greensboro Academy, Charter
  • Heyward C. Bellamy Elementary School, New Hanover County Schools
  • Highland School of Technology, Gaston County Schools
  • Jay M. Robinson Middle School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
  • Lucama Elementary School, Wilson County Schools
  • W.R. Odell Elementary School, Cabarrus County Schools

Click here for a news story about the Blue Ribbon Schools.

The Board also recognized and thanked Henry Mercer, Vice-Chair of the Wilson County Board of Education, for his service as local board advisor this year. Board chair Eric Davis called Henry Mercer a “kind, compassionate, deeply committed, fiercely determined advocate for our students.”  Mercer said he would miss seeing everyone on the Board but was confident he was leaving the education of the children of North Carolina in good hands with this Board.

By statute, the yearly winner of the Raleigh Dingman Award – the highest honor NCSBA bestows upon a school board member – serves one year on the State Board of Education as the local board representative. The 2023-24 Raleigh Dingman Award winner is Dr. Mike Williams, Board of Trustees Chair, Roanoke Rapids Graded School District. Dr. Williams will begin his term in January.

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

November 6, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

Federal Funding Awards Help Increase Educator Pay, Increase Diversity: The Department of Education  announced last week nearly $115 million in new awards to support 29 Teacher and School Leader (TSL) Incentive projects, which expand on the department’s efforts to ensure a well-prepared, diverse, and sustainable educator workforce. The TSL grants help districts to address educator shortages by supporting career advancement and teacher leadership opportunities, increasing compensation, and improving educator retention.

Three North Carolina School districts will receive the awards:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools                     $2,826,328
Wake County Public Schools                         $4,579,709
Montgomery County Schools                         $8,269,050

Click here to read a press release on the initiative.

November 13, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

Education Department Launches Campaign To Boost Teaching Profession: The US Department of Education has started a new campaign to elevate the teaching profession while also highlighting diversity. The centerpiece of the campaign is a public service announcement (PSA) meant to inspire more people to become teachers. The PSA will be featured on television, radio, and social media across the United States. Click here to see the PSA.

November 20, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

Congress Averts Government Shutdown – For Now: The House and Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) that President Biden then signed. The CR funds federal agencies and programs at current levels. The CR includes a “two-step” element with two separate expiration dates. The first expiration date in the CR, January 19, would apply to the programs covered by the Agriculture, Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD bills. The second expiration date, February 2, would apply to the programs covered by the Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense, Financial Services-General Government, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Operations bills.

FCC Proposes Rule to Expand Home Wi-Fi For Students Without Internet Service: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed a new rule that would allow schools and libraries to apply for funding from the E-Rate program  to fund Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless internet access services that can be used off-premises. Click here to read a press release on the proposed rule.

December 4th, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

Coalition Affirms Commitment To Bolstering Student Mental Health: The US Department of Education released a statement in conjunction with the US Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and other organizations to affirm their commitment to bolstering student mental health. The statement highlights the exacerbation of mental health issues due to the pandemic’s disruptions and emphasizes the role of schools in providing mental health services. The ED announced a $2 billion investment to create inclusive learning environments, hire and train 14,000 new mental health professionals, and collaborate with the Department of Health and Human Services to expand Medicaid reimbursement for school-based health and mental health services.

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

State News
North State Journal: Teacher and Principal Receive National Education Award
North State Journal: Three NC Districts To Receive Millions In Award Funds From US Department of Education
Carolina Journal: School Board Group Backs Gaston County in State Supreme Court SAFE Child Act Case
Carolina Journal: Private Schools Appeal Trial Court Rulings in Dismissed Opportunity Scholarship Lawsuit
Carolina Journal: Retirement System Asks State Supreme Court To Reject Harnett Pension-Spiking Case 
WFAE: More North Carolina Students Are Taking High School Classes For College Credit Than Ever Before
WFAE: North Carolina Students Must Study Computer Science To Graduate Under New Law
WRAL: K-3 Students In NC Getting Back On Track For Reading
Charlotte Observer: NCHSAA Formally Approves New Classification Model, Expects New Memorandum With State
News & Observer: NC Has Spent Over $100 Million On the Science of Reading. Is It Paying Off?
Education NC: Report Ranks Best Schools In North Carolina
Education NC: ESSER Funds: NC Districts Played It Safe On Teacher Pay And May Avoid Fiscal Cliff

National NewsEducation Week: Athletic Trainers Are Often Missing From the Sidelines In School Sports
K-12 Dive: Final Title IX Rules Delayed Once More As Ed Department Misses Deadline
K-12 Dive: School Districts Face Growing Competition For Students
New York Times: In School Board Elections, Parental Rights Movement Is Dealt Setbacks
Washington Post: Homeschooling’s Rise From Fringe To Fastest Growing Form of Education
The Hill: Should the School Year Be Extended To Make Up for Learning Loss?

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 – December 8, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – November 3, 2023

The North Carolina General Assembly has officially concluded its long legislative session, spanning a remarkable 274 days since it began on January 24th. On October 25th, both the House and Senate jointly passed a resolution, Senate Bill 760, to adjourn the regular session. The House and Senate are set to reconvene on November 29-30, December 20-21, January 17-18, February 14-15, March 13-14, and April 10-11.

While the majority of legislative matters were resolved by early October, the House and Senate reconvened on October 24th and 25th for a final round of votes. During this time, they not only passed new Congressional and legislative district maps but also addressed a few remaining bills to bring their session to a close. Here are the details of those actions:

New Electoral Districts That Have Become Law

SB757/S.L.2023-145: Realign Congressional Districts (primary sponsors: Senators Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell; Warren Daniel, R-Burke; Paul Newton R-Cabarrus)
Passed House by 64-40 vote, Passed Senate by 28-18 vote
For a map of the new Congressional districts, click here.

SB758/S.L. 2023-146: Realign NC Senate Districts (primary sponsors: Senators Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell; Warren Daniel, R-Burke; Paul Newton R-Cabarrus)
Passed House by 63-40 vote, Passed Senate by 28-18 vote
For a map of the new NC Senate districts, click here.

HB898/S.L. 2023-149: House Redistricting Plan 2023/H898 Ed 2 (primary sponsors: Representatives Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, Sarah Stevens, R-Surry; Jason Saine, R-Lincoln)
Passed House by 62-44 vote, Passed Senate by 27-17 vote
For a map of the new NC House districts, click here.

Local Bills That Have Become Law

SB 68/S.L. 2023-143: Various Local Changes (primary sponsor: Senator Tim Moffitt, R-Henderson)

  • Passed House by 94-4 vote, Passed Senate by 45-0 vote
  • Includes a provision that outlines new boundaries for the Whiteville City Schools Administrative Unit
  • Language added to change Johnston County Board of Education elections to seven residency districts voted on by all eligible voters in the county

Bills Passed by the House

SB508: Budget Tech/Other Corrections
Passed House by 86-15 vote, Sent to Senate

  • Section 2.2: Delays the rulemaking deadline for early graduation requirements to February 15, 2024 from November 1, 2023 – as previously established in HB 259, Appropriations Act (SL 2023-134).
  • Section 2.4(a): Clarifies that the criteria for a qualifying teaching fellow for loan forgiveness also includes someone serving as a teacher in a qualifying licensure area.
  • Section 2.9: Modifies timelines for the Plasma Games Grant program – as previously established in HB 259, 2023 Appropriations Act (SL 2023-134).
  • Section 6.2(4): Directs $100,000 in nonrecurring funds to Wilson County School: Her Pride Afterschool Mentoring Program instead of to Wilson Pregnancy Center – as it was directed to in HB 259, 2023 Appropriations Act (SL 2023-134).
  • Section 7.1: Clarifies certain dates for the principal salary schedule outlined in HB 259, 2023 Appropriations Act (SL 2023-134).
The State Board of Education (Board) met Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. The Board approved the following:

  • Policy Amendment Restricting Authority for Local School Boards to Exceed Minimum Graduation Requirements
  • New Policy on Parents Bill of Rights Appeals
  • Emergency Rule on Parental Concern Hearings
  • Emergency Rule on Three-Year High School Graduation
  • Annual Report to NC General Assembly on Low Performing Districts and Schools
  • New Policy on Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind

Policy Amendment Restricting Authority for Local School Boards to Exceed Minimum Graduation Requirements:  The Board approved this policy which eliminates the specific authority for local boards of education to exceed the minimum requirements for graduation established by the SBE. Local Boards of Education may provide recommendations for additional requirements. This policy does not go into effect until the beginning of the 2024-25 school year. See the policy here.

Emergency Rule on Three-Year High School Graduation: To meet statutory obligations, the Board is required to develop a sequence of courses that shall be available to all local school administrative units to allow a student to complete the credits required for graduation in a three-year period. Additionally, the Board is required to adopt an emergency rule by November 1, 2023, to implement this requirement so that local school administrative units can advise students on the three-year graduation option beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. The Board approved the Emergency Rule on Three-Year High School Graduation. See the emergency rule here.

New Policy on Parents Bill of Rights Appeals:  The Board approved this policy which details the parental concern hearings procedure required by the Parents’ Bill of Rights. The policy describes the issues that may be appealed to the SBE under this policy and the hearing procedures for those issues. This item was before the SBE in October as a discussion item. See the policy here.

Emergency Rule on Parental Concern Hearings: To meet statutory obligations, the Board is required to adopt rules for parental concern hearings related to matters arising under Chapter 115C, Article 7B, Part 4 of the General Statues by January 30, 2024. The Board approved the proposed temporary rule and the text for the proposed temporary rule. See the emergency rule here.

Annual Report to NC General Assembly on Low Performing Districts and Schools: The Board approved a report that addresses the following:  districts and schools identified as low performing, effective improvement planning, and recommendations for additional legislation to improve student performance and increase local flexibility. See the report here and a presentation on the report here.

New Policy on Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind: The Board approved three new policies on Educational Services for the Deaf and Blind to Implement S.L. 2023-106: Parents’ Bill of Rights. See the three new policies here: (1) Parental Involvement Policy; (2) Parental Inspection of and Objection to Instructional Materials; (3) Surveys of Students

This month, the Board received several reports and discussed proposed changes to policy as follows:

NC Recovery Practitioners Network
Sixteen districts have been chosen to join this new network. The network is a partnership between NCDPI, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education, NC Collaborator, Harvard University, Georgetown University, and local district leaders. Researchers at these schools will work with DPI and local leaders to develop recovery-focused interventions and evaluation plans to address pressing issues in local school districts. For more on this and to see the districts selected see here.

NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey
At the request of the SBE, DPI has revised and updated the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey for the first time in many years. Staff released the revised draft of the survey they plan to use and discussed the goals of the survey and the data to be gathered. See presentation here and survey here.\

CARES Model Evaluation Report and One District’s Journey
This is a two year evaluation report. One of the goals of the CARES model is to improve school and district performance by 2027. The findings in the report are based on publicly available, aggregated school-level analysis. Individual student-level analysis will be included in subsequent reports based on data availability. In the last meeting, CARES school scores were broken down by region level analysis, this report goes one step further and breaks down scores by region level analysis. See a presentation on preliminary evaluation findings about CARES transformation coaching here and a presentation from Northampton County Schools here.

New Policy on Parents’ Guide to Student Achievement: The Board is committed to establishing minimum requirements by May 1. DPI is diligently engaging various stakeholders in the process of developing these requirements to ensure they align with the relevant legislation. While many aspects of the requirements are already being implemented in schools, the critical aspect was consolidating this information in a user-friendly format for parents to easily access.  This new policy is being taken up for approval next month.  See the policy here and a presentation from DPI outlining the minimum requirements and clarifying reporting deadlines here.

Computer Science Courses Satisfying Graduation Requirements:  In June 2023, a preliminary list of courses was published on the Computer Science and Technology website and distributed to PSUs for their input. The feedback received has been integrated into a list which was presented to the Board and is recommended for Board approval.  See the list of computer science courses here.  See a presentation for more detail here.

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

October 16, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

Education Department Creates Technical Assistance Centers: The US Department of Education has announced the creation of technical assistance centers. These centers will support state and local efforts to enhance student wellbeing, academic success, and school safety. Funds awarded for these technical assistance centers include $760,619 for the Comprehensive Literacy State Development Center; $18.3 million for National Technical Assistance Center for 21st Century Community Learning Centers; and $5.6 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (Title IV, Part A) and Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) Stronger Connections Technical Assistance Center. Click here for a press release with more information.

October 23, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

FCC Adopts Rule Allowing Funds for Wi-Fi on School Buses: The Federal Communications Commission has issued a new rule allowing school districts to use money from the E-Rate program, which assists schools and libraries with buying affordable broadband, toward Wi-Fi and supported devices on buses. Funding for the E-Rate program, which is under the Universal Service Fund, is typically eligible to certain schools and libraries for educational purposes, with this new rule clarifying that Wi-Fi and similar technology on school buses is an educational purpose.
October 30, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include:

House Elects A Speaker, Budget Deadline Looms: After three weeks of political drama within the Republican majority caucus, the U.S. House of Representatives has elected a new Speaker,
Representative Mike Johnson (R-LA). Now that the House has a Speaker, attention turns back to passing a federal budget. The current continuing resolution funds the government through November 17th. Speaker Johnson has already indicated that the House will need to pass another continuing resolution to fund the government through either January 15th or April 15th.
Other Federal News

Energy Department To Hold School Partnership Webinar: The US Department of Energy is hosting the Power of Partnerships webinar on Thursday, November 16 at 1:00 PM ET, for districts to learn how partnerships with community-based organizations, energy service companies, universities, and utilities are helping schools address energy improvement challenges. To register for the webinar, click here.

EPA Clean School Bus Rebate Program: The US Environmental Protection Agency is now accepting applications for its 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program. Districts can apply for rebates to replace school buses with clean and zero-emission models. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2024 at 4pm, ET. Click here for more information.

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

State News

North State Journal: NC House Republicans Unite Behind Destin Hall As Next Speaker
North State Journal: NC Dept of Public Instruction Challenges State Auditor’s ‘Egregious’ Truancy Report
North State Journal: Eight NC Schools Named 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools
Carolina Journal: Leandro’s Latest Twist Involves ‘Subject Matter Jurisdiction’
Carolina Journal: Unanimous Appeals Court Panel Rules Against Harnett Schools In Pension-Spiking Fight
WRAL: NC Supreme Court Agrees To Take Up Another Issue In the Leandro Education Lawsuit
WRAL: NC Students of Color and Students With Disabilities Are Sent To Police 2.5 Times As Often, ACLU Says
WFAE: NC Charter School Enrollment Keeps Growing While School Districts Stay Flat
WFAE: Federal Grants Will Help NC Schools Recruit, Reward, and Retain Teachers
News & Observer: NC Lawmakers Lowered Graduation Requirements. Some Schools Want Them Changed Back
News & Observer: Change Is Coming In How Math Is Taught In NC Schools. But Will It Make Students Care?
News & Observer: Free Breakfast In the Classroom? NC Offering Grants to Schools That Take the Leap
Education NC: When Will NC School Employees See Pay Raises?
Education NC: This Year’s Legislative Long Session Has Come To An End

National News

K-12 Dive: After-School Meal Participation Drops For the First Time
K-12 Dive: Education Department Watchdog To Audit Pandemic Aid Dollars Through 2025
Education Week: Need More Time To Spend ESSR Funds? Contact Your State Now, Ed Dept. Says
American Enterprise Institute: What School Boards Need To Know About Title IX
New York Times: School Cellphone Bans Are Trending. Do They Work?
New York Times: New SAT Data Highlights the Deep Inequality at the Heart of American Education

There are no education-related committee meetings scheduled at this time.
Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.orgMadison Skeens
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
mskeens@ncsba.orgRob Black
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
NC School Boards Association
rblack@ncsba.org
Christina DavoileNCSBA Legislative Update – November 3, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – October 13, 2023

Just like the old wrestler “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the NC General Assembly once again flexed their supermajority muscles this week by overriding several gubernatorial vetoes. Notably, these overrides were not directly related to K-12 education; nevertheless, local school board members should pay attention to SB 749, as it addresses the structure of local election boards.

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 (was the NC Governor).
  • 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

Local Bills Sent to Conference Committee

SB 68: Various Local Changes (primary sponsor: Senator Tim Moffitt, R-Henderson)

  • Senate voted NOT to concur by 49-0 vote
  • Includes a provision that outlines new boundaries for the Whiteville City Schools Administrative Unit

NCSBA Legislative Summary

Each legislative session, the NCSBA Governmental Relations Team compiles a comprehensive Legislative Summary, encompassing all K-12 education-related bills that have successfully passed into law, in addition to the K-12 education components of the state budget. The session summary was highlighted in last week’s update, and we have updated the document again this week. This invaluable resource condenses all essential legislative information that local school boards need into one place:

Click here to the view the NCSBA Legislative Summary.

Winding Down

The majority of business for the 2023 legislative long session is wrapping up. However, the NC General Assembly isn’t quite done yet. There are no votes scheduled next week, but the legislature is expected to vote on newly drawn electoral districts for both Congress and the NC General Assembly the week of October 23rd. Indications are that the session will adjourn the following week of October 30, but if this session has taught us anything, it’s to believe it when you see it, and not a moment before.

As the session winds down, the Legislative Update will revert back to monthly publication. We will of course keep you apprised of any legislative happenings between issues should the need arise. The monthly edition will continue to cover State Board of Education meetings, as well as the federal update from the Consortium of State School Boards Associations (COSSBA).

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.
October 9, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include

Congressional Chaos Continues: With the passage of the continuing resolution to keep the government funded at FY 2023 levels to November 17th, all eyes turn to the election of the next Speaker of the House after the ouster last week of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Without a speaker, the House cannot debate bills. The Appropriations Committee cannot meet to markup spending bills. The Rules Committee cannot meet to discuss what bills might be on the floor. Authorizing Committees cannot hold hearings on pressing issues. No work can be done without the selection of a Speaker.

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

State News

News & Observer: What’s Next For Former Wake Superintendent Catty Moore? A Seat On the NC Education Board
News & Observer: LGBTQ Rights Group Says NC’s New Parents Bill of Rights Violates Federal Law
News & Observer: Audit Says NC Schools Didn’t Keep Up With Monitoring Student Attendance During Pandemic
NC Newsline: State Education Leaders Disappointed By Size of Teacher Pay Raises
WFAE: North Carolina’s Audit of Pandemic-Year Truancy Sparks Debate About Its Value
WFAE: Iredell-Statesville Schools Changes Football Start Times After Incidents
WFAE: Teachers Drop Lawsuit Against Gaston County Schools As Payroll Nightmare Recedes 

National News

K-12 Dive: Many Districts Racing Against the Clock To Spend ARP Funds
Education Week: Three Reasons Why More Students Are In Special Education
Education Week: Republicans Keep Talking About Abolishing the Education Department. Why?
The Hill: Education Can Unite Us. That’s Needed Now More Than Ever
New York Times: Who Runs the Best U.S. Schools? It May Be the Defense Department
Washington Post: Guns Are Seized In U.S. Schools Each Day. The Numbers Are Soaring

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 – October 13, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – October 6, 2023

The state budget, HB259: 2023 Appropriations Act (S.L. 2023-134) became law without the Governor’s signature on Tuesday. NCSBA has updated our Legislative Session Summary outlining every education-related budget provision and law. This document will be updated as events warrant until the session adjourns.

The NC General Assembly remained paused this week with no votes taken. Legislators are expected to convene next week to consider several veto overrides and potentially other legislative business.

Education Bills Signed Into Law By The  Governor

HB 8: Various Statutory Changes (S.L. 2023-132)  (primary sponsors: Representatives Erin Paré, R-Wake; John Torbett, R-Gaston; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Jon Hardister, R-Guilford)

  • 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.

HB 142: Protect Our Students Act/Buncombe County Bd of Ed (S.L. 2023-128) (primary sponsors: Representatives John Torbett, R-Gaston; Kristin Baker, R-Cabarrus; Jake Johnson, R-Polk; Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort)

  • Increases penalties for all sex offenses by school personnel against a student
  • Modifies the definition of a student in cases of sexual crimes 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.

Education Bills That Became Law Without Governor’s Signature
SB 452: DOI & Ins Law Amd/Revise HS Athletics (S.L. 2023-133) (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.
    • 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.
  • Click here to read the most recent official bill summary for SB 636, School Athletics Transparency.

Federal Budget Update

Just two days after NCSBA President Darrell Pennell and the Governmental Relations team  wrapped up a series of meetings with various members of the North Carolina Congressional delegation, crisis was averted (for now) as the House and Senate agreed to H.R. 5860, a continuing resolution which will fund the government for 45 additional days past the October 1 deadline. Are those two things a coincidence? We’ll leave that to your judgement!

The two chambers now have until November 17 to agree on a budget, another continuing resolution, or we’ll all be facing a shutdown once again. Here is a list of how the House and Senate members from North Carolina voted on the continuing resolution:

Senate
Sen. Thom Tillis                                   YES
Sen. Ted Budd                                     YES
House
1st District                   Rep. Don Davis                                   YES
2nd District                  Rep. Deborah Ross                             YES
3rd District                   Rep. Greg Murphy                               NO
4th District                   Rep. Valerie Foushee                          YES
5th District                   Rep. Virginia Foxx                               YES
6th District                   Rep. Kathy Manning                            YES
7th District                   Rep. David Rouzer                              YES
8th District                   Rep. Dan Bishop                                  NO
9th District                   Rep. Richard Hudson                          YES
10th District                 Rep. Patrick McHenry                          YES
11th District                 Rep. Chuck Edwards                           YES
12th District                 Rep. Alma Adams                                YES
13th District                 Rep. Wiley Nickel                                YES
14th District                 Rep. Jeff Jackson                                YES

Unfortunately, the chaos on Capitol Hill did not stop with the last minute continuing resolution vote. On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) became the first Speaker in history to be voted out of the position. The vote was the result of conflicts within the Republican Caucus, who holds the majority in the House of Representatives.

As a result, there’s a North Carolinian temporarily sitting in the Speaker’s chair. Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10) serves in House leadership as the Speaker Pro Tem. Upon the removal of Speaker McCarthy, Rep. McHenry was elevated to Speaker until a new one can be elected. The first round of votes is expected next week.

State Board of Education Meeting
The SBE met Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  The Board approved the following:

  • Policy Amendment Modifying American Rescue Plan Committee Membership and Meetings (ADVS-012)
  • New Policy on Process for Appointment of Interim Superintendents (DSTR-041) and Assistance Teams (DSTR-042) for PSUs
  • Rules Review and Readoption for District and Regional Support
  • New Policy on Appeals Process for Charter Schools Review Board Decisions (CHTR-023)
  • Two Community College Educator Preparation Programs
  • Five Additional Members for Interscholastic Athletics Appeals Board
  • Annual Required Reports To The General Assembly
  • Two Contracts over $500,000

Policy Amendment Modifying American Rescue Plan Committee Membership and Meetings (ADVS-012): The Board revised this policy to decrease the total number of members from 33 to 15 and to reduce the number of meetings from quarterly to as needed.  The rationale is to increase participation and make meetings more productive. See policy amendment here. For a list of committee members see here.

New Policy on Process for Appointment of Interim Superintendents for PSUs (DSTR-041):The Board approved a new policy identifying factors the State Board will consider when determining whether the appointment of an interim superintendent is necessary or appropriate to improve student performance in a district. The policy also includes how the interim superintendent will be employed, how the position will be funded, and the reporting expectations to the SBE. See policy here.

New Policy on Assistance Teams (DSTR-042):The Board approved this policy to support the drafted update to the rule and explain how the assistance teams operate when the agency implements its powers to assign one of these teams in a district. The policy provides more definition as to who will be on assistance teams. See policy here.

Rules Review and Readoption for District and Regional Support: To meet statutory obligations for G.S. 150B-21.3A, the SBE is required to review and readopt rules during the decennial review process.  The Board reviewed and approved rules on the School Improvement Plan Dispute Resolution Process here, Local Board Cooperation with Assistance Teams here, Due Process Protections For Employees of Low Performing Schools Recommended For Dismissal here , and updated the policy on Suspension Of Powers and Duties of School Boards here.

New Policy on Appeals Process for Charter Schools Review Board Decisions:Counsel indicated that this policy responds to legislation that changed the process from one in which the State Board approves charter school applications to one in which it hears appeals from decisions by the Charter School Review Board.  The policy describes the appeals process. See the new policy CHTR-023 here.  

Two Community College Educator Preparation Programs: Based on North Carolina Law and SBE policy TCED-004, an Educator Preparation Program (EPP) must either be nationally accredited or seek approval by the SBE to become an initially authorized EPP.  In June, the SBE approved the framework for establishing an EPP at a local community college. Each local community college must still receive approval from the SBE to operate an EPP program prior to offering and admitting students.  Pitt and Robeson Community Colleges  were approved this month for initial authorization as a North Carolina EPP, bringing the total to 21 such approved programs across the state. These will be residential programs for elementary teachers to obtain licensure but not a degree.
Five Additional Members for Interscholastic Athletics Appeals Board:  The SBE approved five new members to the appeals board to review appeals of final decisions by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and the Carolina Athletic Association for Schools of Choice (CAA4SC). This brings the total of the appeals board to 10 members; the goal is to have 15. The newly approved members are: : Bobby Guthrie – Former Athletic Director, Wake County Public School System (Retired), Stewart Hobbs – Former Superintendent, Sampson County Schools (Retired), Ronnie Chavis – Former Athletic Director, Public Schools of Robeson County (Retired), Kathy Spencer – Former Superintendent, Onslow County Schools (Retired), and Jim Watson – Former Superintendent, Lincoln County Schools (Retired).

Annual Required Reports to the General Assembly: The Board approved reports on (1) Updated Career and College-Ready Graduate Program outcomes (presentation here and report here), (2) Educational Performance of Children with Disabilities and Implementation of Policies to Improve Outcomes for Students with Disabilities here and report here, (3) Four-Year Cohort Graduation Rate here, (4) Cooperative Purchasing here, (5) Full Time Equivalency of Public School Students here, and (6) Local Board of Education Waivers here.

Two Contracts over $500,000:  The Board approved the Read to Achieve Alternative Assessment Contract for Renaissance STAR Reading which will be optional for districts.  If a district opts in to the service, they will provide a $6.54 per student license. The second contract is the Consolidated K-12 Data Base Facility Information Project Contract with the Amos Group.

The Board also approved several items reviewed at the meeting last month as follows:

  • Changes to 2022-23 Student Test Performance Data
  • Updated Alternative Schools’ Accountability Model Options for 2023-2024
  • Whole Child Committee Recommendations
  • Paid Parental Leave Rule and Policy Amendment (BENF-001)
  • North Carolina Personalized Assessment Tool Evaluations (NCPAT)

Changes to the 2022-23 Student Test Performance Data: This month DPI provided changes to the data it released in September based on updated reporting from PSUs. Data corrections resulting in a status change can be seen here.

Updated Alternative Schools’ Accountability Model Options for 2023-2024:  The Board approved an update from the information last month to add one school changing the total requests for this option from 76 schools to 77 schools. See here.

Whole Child Committee Recommendations:  The Board approved the recommendations heard last month from the members of the committee regarding the need for funding for specialized instructional support personnel and expanding school-based access to Health Services. See presentation from last month here.

Paid Parental Leave Rule and Policy Amendment:  The Board approved more changes to the temporary Rule and the amendment of NC Public School Employees Benefit and Employment policy (BENF-001) to allow teachers to change districts and still be able to take advantage of the paid parental leave benefit.  The policy also now clarifies that the period of time in transition from one job to the next does not count as a break in service. The changes will be effective November 7.  See rule here and policy here.

North Carolina Personalized Assessment Tool Update (NCPAT):  In follow-up to the report at last month’s meeting, DPI shared evaluations of N.C.’s Personalized Assessment Tool. See the evaluations here and here and the presentation here.  

This month, the Board received several reports and discussed proposed changes to policy as follows:

  • State Superintendent’s Report
  • 2022-23 Read to Achieve State Level Summary Report to the GA
  • Update from Charter Schools Review Board (CSRB) and Summary of Application Process
  • Standards Revision Update
  • New SBE Policy: Parents Bill of Rights Appeal (PRNT-001)
  • Policy Amendment: Authority for Local School Boards to Exceed Minimum Graduation Requirements (GRAD-001)
  • Report to the General Assembly Evaluating the Advanced Teaching Roles Program and Compensation Plans
  • Annual Report: The Council on Educational Service for Exceptional Children
  • Annual Report on Low Performing Districts and Schools
  • Report Evaluating Implementation and Impact of ESSER III Funded Supports for Educators in Chronically Low-Performing Schools
  • Policy Amendment To Career Technical Education (CTE)edTPA Cut Score (LICN-003)

State Superintendent’s Report:  See her press release on the budget here.

2022-23 Read to Achieve State Level Summary Report to the GA:  The presenter focused on the need for specific strategies for districts to develop master schedules, maximize resources, and find innovative ways to use subs. Superintendent Truitt says she was not surprised by the district reading camp proficiency report.  DPI is working on a process to present to legislature.  Reggie Keenan confirmed that reading camps cannot be mandatory. Truitt pointed out there has been good attendance and a need to help districts with messaging strategies.  See summary here and full report here.

Update from Charter Schools Review Board (CSRB) and Summary of Application Process:
Ashley Baquero, Executive Director of the NC Office of Charter Schools, presented an overview of the entire process from submission to approval.  She made the following points: (1) Funding only flows once a charter school has made it through the entire application process which usually takes 1 and ½ to 2 years.  (2) The application deadline is the last Friday in April with a $1000 fee to apply.  (3) The application process is now entirely electronic.  (4) There are two types of applications: accelerated to open next year and standard to open in two years. The one accelerated applicant this year was denied last month. (5) Interviews are 60 minutes or 90 minutes if a management company is involved.
The CSRB Chair, Bruce Friend and Vice Chair, John  Eldrige gave the Board a report on the first meeting of the CSRB.  There are 15 applications in this cycle.  Of the new applicants, 2 were denied on first interview, and 3 were invited for a second interview in November or December. They approved and plan to carefully monitor several schools that submitted school improvement plans.  They will review 5 additional new applicants  in 5 weeks.  Two additional applicants are being reviewed for reconsideration of SBE vote.  Wendell Hall confirmed the two schools denied are not allowed to rewrite the application but can apply again in next year’s cycle.  It was further noted that the time frame for appeal to the SBE by the two schools has expired.

Standards Revision Update:  DPI staff provided the monthly progress update on revising standards for K-12 Healthful Living, Arts, Guidance, and World Language. Surveys on World Language standards released September 15 will close on October 16. Arts surveys sent out October 2 will close November 5.  See full report here.

New SBE Policy: Parents Bill of Rights Appeal (PRNT-001): The Board discussed a new policy proposal that will be back for approval next month.  Legal staff developed the policy in response to the Parents’ Bill of Rights Legislation which gives the SBE a role to hear appeals on parental concerns. Wendell Hall believes this policy will be helpful to local boards.  Vice Chair Duncan pointed out and counsel confirmed that there is no enforcement provision in this policy because the law does not provide one.  See proposed new policy here.

Policy Amendment: Authority for Local School Boards to Exceed Minimum Graduation Requirements (GRAD-001): This amendment to SBE policy provides a mechanism for a local board to waive additional local graduation requirements for students requesting to graduate in three years.  Discussion raised questions and concerns about the policy. The superintendent advisor, Don Phipps indicated there is a need for more outreach to make sure families understand the value in the programs beyond the 22 hours. Wendell Hall says clarification is needed so local boards are informed and included in the conversation. Superintendent Truitt says this is just another step that recognizes the nature of school and work is changing.  For more details see policy amendment here.

Report to the General Assembly Evaluating the Advanced Teaching Roles Program and Compensation Plans: Approval was delayed until next month for DPI to provide a cover letter for the report highlighting the limitations on the research and a plan to strengthen data collection results to demonstrate the benefits of and needs for the program. School leaders say this program supports their efforts to recruit teachers. They suggested that to ensure equitable access to ATR, education leaders should think about how ATR might be leveraged in school improvement plans.  See presentation here and report here.

Annual Report: The Council on Educational Service for Exceptional Children: This advisory council to the SBE was established under IDEA and NC General Statutes.  The 24 member board meets quarterly and advises the SBE on unmet needs of children with special needs and the development and implementation of policies related to the coordination of services for students with disabilities.  At its June meeting, the council recommended inviting Family Organizations providing support on the ground to families navigating the education system to come speak to best practices and challenges at least once per year.  It also recommends a survey of other organizations that serve families with disabilities and mental health concerns to discern unmet needs.  See presentation  here and the report here.

Annual Report on Low Performing Districts and Schools: The State Board is required to submit a report to the Joint Education Oversight Committee annually regarding districts and schools identified as low performing, effective improvement planning, and recommending additional legislation to improve student performance and increase local flexibility.  This will be back for discussion next month. See presentation here and the report here.

Report Evaluating Implementation and Impact of ESSER III Funded Supports for Educators in Chronically Low-Performing Schools: In January 2023, the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina (EPIC) was awarded a two-year grant to provide an independent external evaluation of multi-level coaching and professional development supports provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to schools who have been in low-performing status for years. See report here.

Policy Amendment To Career Technical Education (CTE)edTPA  (LICN-003):  The Board discussed amending policy LICN-003 to add a cut score of 33 for Career and Technical Education (CTE) edTPA assessment.  PEPSC unanimously approved this policy amendment on September 14, 2023.  This will go back to PEPSC to recommend the time period needed to prepare for the change.  See summary report here and handbook here.

The following is the Consortium of State School Boards Association’s (COSSBA) most recent federal education report.
October 2, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include

Education Department Outlines Extension of Pandemic Funding Deadlines: The U.S. Department of Education has outlined procedures schools will use to extend spending deadlines for nearly $130 billion in federal pandemic aid. The department acknowledges that some grantees may require flexibility liquidating remaining Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) and Emergency Assistance to Non-Public School (EANS) funds under ARP that have been properly obligated by the September 30, 2024 deadline. The letter to grantees announces that the general liquidation extension that has been available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Acts will be available for ARP.  Click here to read the letter.

Agriculture Department Expands School Meal Program: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expanding the availability of the Community Eligibility Provision, commonly known as CEP. The program provides a simplified meal service option that allows schools to provide meals at no cost to all students without requiring families to apply for free and reduced-price meals. Instead, school districts receive federal funding based on a formula using existing data from SNAP and other programs, and local or state funds must fill any gap between program costs and federal support. Before this final rule, at least 40% of students had to live in households participating in certain income-based federal assistance programs, in order for a school, group of schools, or school district to be eligible for CEP. This final rule lowers that threshold from 40% to 25%. It is estimated that an additional 3000 school districts will be able to participate as a result. Click here to read a press release on the CEP expansion.

As part of the recently passed state budget, DPI now has $6.3 million for the 2024-2025 school year as an incentive to help districts make up budget shortfalls when implementing the CEP.

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

State News

EdNC: New Statewide Program Aims To Support Development of High Quality Principals
News & Observer: State Board of Education Says It Won’t Hear Appeals On School Book Challenges, Here’s Why
WFAE: State Board of Education Weighs How To Implement the Parents’ Bill of Rights
WRAL: NC School Districts Adjust to Controversial New Parents Bill of Rights Law
Carolina Journal: Leandro Plaintiffs Ask State’s Highest Court To Steer Clear of Latest Dispute
WFAE: School Superintendent Turnover Is Rising. A Leader Aims To ‘Keep Down the Noise’ Amid the Culture Wars
WRAL: Coaches As Teachers Shows Promise In Some NC Schools, Studies Say
WRAL: New State Budget Takes Aim At Hunger In Schools
News & Observer: Teacher Misconduct and Computer Science Graduation Requirement Bills Become NC Law
News & Observer: Change In NC Law Will Give More Teachers Up To 8 Weeks Of Paid Parental Leave
Governor’s Office Press Release: Governor Cooper Signs Seven Bills, Vetoes Two Bills and Lets Three Bills Become Session Law

National News

Education Week: What the Latest Student Test Results Reveal: 5 Things To Know
Education Week: A District Raised All Teacher Salaries, Some By Almost 22k. How It’s Working
K-12 Dive: PowerSchool Finalizes Purchase of SchoolMessenger for $300M
K-12 Dive: Supreme Court Rejects Multiple Public School Cases On First Day of 2023 Term
New York Times: The Great American Teacher Crisis
U.S. Education Department Blog: Online For All: Coalition Mobilizes for Digital Equity during Back-to-School Season

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 – October 6, 2023
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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
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 29, 2023
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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
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NCSBA State Budget Alert – September 20, 2023

Much like a student submitting overdue homework, the North Carolina General Assembly has at last unveiled the State budget.

On Tuesday evening, Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) convened a press conference to reveal a budget agreement had been reached. Notably, they announced that the casino provisions would not be included in this budget, with no separate vote on casino legislation planned at this time.

Today, lawmakers made the final state budget figures public, and the crucial budget votes are slated for Thursday and Friday.

Click here to access the budget bill.
Click here to access the budget committee (money) report.

The total General Fund allocation for FY 2023-2024 is $29.7 billion, In 2024-25 the allocation increases to $30.8 billion for a two year increase of 11.4%. For K-12 public education, the budget appropriates $11.5 billion in 2023-2024 for an increase of nearly 2% over FY 2022-23. $11.9 billion is appropriated in 2024-2025, for an additional increase of 3.5% over FY 2023-2024.

The following are K-12 education highlights of the two year biennium 2023-2025 state budget. We will provide a more comprehensive summary in our Friday Legislative Update at the end of the week.

Parents Bill of Rights

Due to implementation concerns raised by the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA) and other groups deadlines for the policies in Part 2 of SB49: Parents’ Bill of Rights have been pushed back to the first day of school after January 1, 2024. The new implementation deadlines can be found in the 2023 Appropriations Act on page 139, Section 7.81(d), line 12.

Additionally, NCSBA sought to continue to allow teachers and other school personnel who provide treatment to students from first aid to emergency care without parental consent. The  fix can be found in the 2023 Appropriations Act on page 138, Section 7.81(c), line 41.

Finally, the budget language also clarifies that parents must be given notice of the opportunity to opt out of any protected information survey given as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey or the National Youth Tobacco Survey. Before this clarification, parents would have been required to opt in. This exemption can be found in the 2023 Appropriations Act on page 138, Section 7.81(b), line 31.

Salary Increases

Teachers and other school employees paid on the Teacher A Salary Schedule will receive an average 7% raise over the biennium. Pay increases for teachers range from 3.6% to 14.7% over the biennium. Raises will be retroactive to July 1, 2023.

Teacher A Salary Schedule

Years of Exp. 2022-23 2023-24 Increase over 2022-23 2024-25 Increase over 2023-24
0 $3,700 $3,900 5.41% $4,100 5.13%
 1 $3,800 $3,984 7.68% $4,175 7.05%
2 $3,900 $4,085 7.50% $4,250 6.68%
3 $4,000 $4,187 7.35% $4,325 5.88%
4 $4,100 $4,289 7.23% $4,400 5.09%
5 $4,200 $4,391 7.10% $4,475 4.34%
6 $4,300 $4,481 6.69% $4,572 4.12%
7 $4,400 $4,572 6.32% $4,663 4.06%
8 $4,500 $4,662 5.95% $4,753 3.95%
9 $4,600 $4,753 5.62% $4,844 3.90%
10 $4,700 $4,843 5.28% $4,935 3.83%
11 $4,800 $4,933 4.96% $5,025 3.76%
12 $4,900 $5,024 4.67% $5,116 3.70%
13 $5,000 $5,114 4.37% $5,206 3.62%
14 $5,100 $5,205 4.10% $5,297 3.58%
15 $5,200 $5,306 4.04% $5,388 3.51%
16 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
17 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
18 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
19 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
20 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
21 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
22 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
23 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
24 $5,200 $5,306 2.04% $5,388 1.54%
25 $5,400 $5,510 5.96% $5,595 5.45%
26+ $5,400 $5,510 2.04% $5,595 1.54%

With the exception of school bus drivers, school employees not paid on the teacher salary schedule including principals, central office staff and non-certified personnel will receive an across-the-board salary increase of 4% in 2023-2024 and additional across-the-board salary increase of 3% in 2024-2025. Bus drivers will receive an additional 2% in 2023-2024.

Proposed salary schedule for principals:

2023-2024 Principal Annual Salary Schedule
Avg. Daily Membership            Base             Met Growth         Exceeded Growth
0-200                                         $75,526        $83,078                  $90,631
201-400                                      $79,302        $87,232                  $95,162
401-700                                      $83,078        $91,386                  $99,694
701-1,000                                   $86,855        $95,540                  $104,226
1,001-1,600                                $90,631        $99,694                  $108,757
1,601+                                        $94,407        $103,848                $113,288

2024-2025 Principal Annual Salary Schedule
Avg. Daily Membership            Base             Met Growth         Exceeded Growth 0-200                                          $77,792        $85,570                  $93,350
201-400                                      $81,681        $89,849                  $98,017
401-700                                      $85,570        $94,128                  $102,685
701-1,000                                   $89,461        $98,406                  $107,353
1,001-1,600                                $93,350        $102,685                $112,020
1,601+                                        $97,239        $106,963                $116,687

Additionally, principals can receive a bonus if their school is in the top 50% for growth. Those bonuses are as follows:

2023-2024 Principal Bonus Schedule
Statewide Growth Percentage                                             Bonus
Top 5%                                                                                $15,000
Top 10%                                                                              $10,000
Top 15%                                                                              $5,000
Top 20%                                                                              $2,500
Top 50%                                                                              $1,000

Other pay highlights include:

  • School psychologists, speech pathologists and audiologists with a master’s degree or higher shall receive a supplement of 10% of their monthly salary, plus an additional $350 per month.
  • Small and low wealth counties receive dollar for dollar match from DPI to provide teacher signing bonuses up to $1000.
  • Rural school districts will receive an extra $30 million for teacher supplements.

Ethics Training

One of the key items on the NCSBA Legislative Agenda was the implementation of ethics training. We are delighted to report that these provisions have found their place in the final state budget. The budget language explicitly states, “Every employee of a local school administrative unit involved in the creation or management of contracts, as specified in G.S. 14-234, shall undergo a minimum of two hours of conflicts of interest training pertaining to the formulation and administration of contracts.” For comprehensive details on this particular provision, please refer to Section 7.41(a) of the 2023 Appropriations Act, located on page 105, line 30.

Moreover, there are several additional budget provisions that warrant highlighting:

Section 7.27 School Health Personnel Allotment (pages 96-97)

  • Removes the requirement for local boards of education to provide at least one school psychologist and requires local boards of education to instead provide school health support services in accordance with G.S. 115C-316.5
  • Reflects the transfer of school nurse, counselor, and social worker positions from the Instructional Support Allotment to the School Psychologist Allotment, which will be redesignated as the School Health Personnel Allotment
  • Encourages school districts to fill these positions with full-time, permanent employees but allows the allocation to be converted to a dollar equivalent to contract with a third party to provide relevant services
  • Prohibits the SBE from requiring that a school nurse obtain a four-year degree as a condition of employment
  • Lists the duties of school counselors and career development coordinators

Section 7.36 School Safety Grants (page 100)

  • Continues the School Safety Grants Program, which is used to improve safety in PSUs by providing grants for (i) services for students in crisis, (ii) school safety training, (iii) safety equipment in schools, and (iv) subsidizing the School Resource Officer Grants Program
  • $35 million appropriated per year over the biennium

Section 7.44 Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program (pages 110-112)

  • Expands the Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Program to all school districts and no longer limits districts from having more than five participants per year
  • Lists requirements for applications, award of funds, selection of teacher assistants, and local reporting

Section 7.44A Teacher Apprentice Grant Program (page 112)

  • Establishes the Teacher Apprentice Grant Program to provide grants to local school districts to award funds for (i) tuition at educator preparation programs for eligible 2023 NCSBA teacher apprentices and (ii) salary supplements for teacher apprentices who become teachers in the district
  • Awards up to $4,600 per semester for up to four academic years

Section 7.45 Economically Disadvantaged Public School Support Funds (page 114)

  • Requires DPI to establish the Economically Disadvantaged Public Schools Support Program to provide funds to support the efforts of qualifying economically disadvantaged public schools to continue to exceed growth in subsequent school years
  • Clarifies that the funds associated with this Program will supplement and not supplant local funds

Section 7.55 CTE Modernization & Expansion (page 118)

Of the funds appropriated to DPI, up to $2,000,000 in nonrecurring funds for each year of the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium shall be used to create a grant program for modernization of Career and Technical Education programming, materials, training, and professional development for courses conducted in grades six through 12

Section 7.58 Eliminate Student Copay for Reduced-Price Meals (page 119)

  • Funds appropriated from the General Fund to DPI for reduced-price school meal copays shall be used to provide school breakfasts and lunches at no cost to students of all grade levels that qualify for reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program in the current school year
  • If the funds are insufficient to provide school meals at no cost to students qualifying for reduced-price meals, allows DPI to use funds appropriated to the State Aid for Public School fund Section

7.59 CEP Meal Program Expansion Pilot (pages 119-120)

  • Requires DPI to establish a pilot to expand public school participation in the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program to increase student access to free school breakfast and lunch
  • Requires the pilot to be available for the 2024-25 fiscal year with the intent of continuing the pilot through the 2025-27 biennium

7.73 Limited Teacher Licensure Changes  (page 133-134)

  • Changes the three-year limited license for teachers from nonrenewable to renewable
  • Requires teachers who are renewing a limited license to submit an affidavit from the employing local board of education that is signed by both the principal and the superintendent for the school to which the teacher is currently assigned
  • Requires the affidavit to validate specific criteria

7.74 Out-of-State Teacher License Reciprocity (pages 134)

  • Modifies the requirements for an out-of-state license applicant by requiring the State Board of Education to grant a Continuing Professional License (CPL) to a teacher licensed in another state with substantially similar licensure requirements who has at least three years of teaching experience and is in good standing with the other state

Section 8A.6 Expand Eligibility for Opportunity Scholarships (pages 187-196)

  • Makes all NC K-12 students eligible for Opportunity Scholarships
  • Replaces opportunity income requirements with a sliding scale based on household income as follows:
  • Incomes not in excess of 100% of the amount required to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – 100% of tuition per student
  • Incomes not in excess of 200% of the amount required to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – 90% of tuition per student
  • Incomes between 200% and 450% of amount required to qualify for federal free or reduced lunch – 60% of tuition per student
  • Section 8A.6 (e) creates accountability for the Opportunity Scholarship program through standardized testing. Tests shall be administered to all eligible students enrolled in grades three and 3 higher whose tuition and fees are paid in whole or in part with a scholarship grant as follows:
  •  a. The nationally standardized test designated by the Authority in grades three and eight.
  • b. The ACT in grade 11.
  • Prohibits local boards of education to require more credits to graduate than what is required by the State Board of Education (currently, 22 credits).

For the 2032-33 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, $520.4 million will be appropriated to the Program

Bruce Mildwurf
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
bmildwurf@ncsba.org

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

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

Christina DavoileNCSBA State Budget Alert – September 20, 2023
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NCSBA Legislative Update – September 15, 2023

The heat wave has finally broken, but tempers continue to flare within the General Assembly as North Carolina finds itself more than two months overdue in passing a state budget.

Although legislative leaders planned for budget votes this week, no action was taken. At the heart of this delay lies the divisive issue of legalizing brick-and-mortar casinos in four economically challenged counties. The Senate sees the potential revenue from legalized casinos as the funding source to pay for their tax cuts which were deeper than what the House proposed. As such, President Pro-Tem Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) supports incorporating this targeted casino legalization into the budget; however, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) contends there aren’t sufficient Republican votes within his chamber to pass a budget inclusive of casino legalization.

This week, the House Republican Caucus met for nearly four hours discussing the casino provisions behind closed doors but could not get a majority of its members on board. Nevertheless, both chambers are set to convene in the coming week. Amidst the fiery debates between the two chambers over the casino issue, some legislative activity did manage to take place during the week.

Education Bills Passed By The Senate

HB 432: Principal Licensure Changes (primary sponsors: Representatives David Willis, R-Union; Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke; Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg; John Torbett, R-Gaston)

  • Passed Senate by a 47-0 vote, sent back to House for concurrence
  • 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

Local Conference Committee Reports With Votes

HB 5: Local Omnibus Changes

  • Bill previously titled Fuquay-Varina/Clemmons Deannexations
  • Section 15 of new bill impacts Buncombe County and Asheville City school districts
    • Changes effective dates for establishing new electoral districts for Buncombe County Board of Education as outlined in HB 66/S.L. 2023-72.
      • The old date was February 1, 2024 and the new date is June 30, 2024
    • Authorizes the Buncombe County Board of Education and the Asheville City Board of Education to jointly study the feasibility of a merger between those two boards
  • Passed second reading in the Senate by a 34-10 vote, final vote calendared for Tuesday September 19, with a final House vote expected the same day

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

September 11, 2023 Headlines From the Weekly Report Include

Congress Has Yet To Pass A Budget As Shutdown Deadline Approaches: Both chambers of Congress are back from their August recess. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed all 12 of its spending bills before the recess with bipartisan support. The House has only approved one FY 2024 spending bill on the floor—the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs package—and only a handful have won approval from the full committee. The spending bills must be passed by both chambers before the start of the new federal fiscal year on October 1 – something that is looking increasingly unlikely.

Education Department Has New Kindergarten Initiative: The U.S. Department of Education has launched the Kindergarten Sturdy Bridge Learning Community, “a multi-state effort to make kindergarten a transformational experience at the start of each student’s formal education journey,” the press release states. The department will invite state education agencies and local education agencies to participate in a “community of practice” where they can learn from their peers, receive technical assistance, and share best practices to enhance the kindergarten experience including the transitions into kindergarten and 1st  grade.

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

State News

News & Observer: NC Teachers and Workers Are ‘Mad and Frustrated’ As GOP Casino Fight Delays Raises
WUNC: As State Budget Negotiations Stall, Understaffed Schools Await Funding
WUNC: Casino Disagreement Leaves NC Without Budget As Republicans Trade Barbs
WRAL: Democrats Slam Republicans Over Proposed Casinos and Budget Delay
WRAL: Budget Talks At An Impasse: What Happens Next
News & Observer: NC Schools Have More Than 3,500 Teaching Vacancies. How Can The State Get More Teachers?
WFDD: Guilford County Board of Education Hires Legal Counsel To Handle Dispute Over District 3 Seat
WFAE: Can Joy Help Boost Test Scores? CMS Leaders Say Yes
WFAE: CMS Board Considers New Goals For Reading, Math, Graduating With a Plan
WUNC: Republican Lawmakers in NC Tap Breaks On Confidential Voting Records Bill
WRAL: NC Republicans Delay Vote On Key Election Bill
Carolina Journal: NC Pre-K Centers To Gain $8 Million From Government Programs
EdNC: Mental Health, School Safety and More: Student Insights At the Start Of A New Year
Best NC: Study On Teacher Pay In North Carolina

National News

K-12 Dive: Public Engagement Is A Rising Priority In School Communications
Education Week: Older Students Running Out of Time For Academic Recovery
Washington Post: A Program To Cut School Suspensions In Chicago Worked Very, Very Well. Here’s How

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 15, 2023
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