We have reached the fifth month of the new fiscal year as private budget negotiations continue between legislative leaders and the governor. This week’s budget news consists of Senate leader Phil Berger saying that legislative leaders remain “very, very far apart” on reaching a budget compromise with the governor. Senator Berger is also quoted saying “We’re probably getting real close to the point where we are going to have to just put together a conference report (between the House and the Senate) and submit it to the chambers for a vote.” House Speaker Tim Moore stated that he is hopeful that a budget proposal could be released the week after next. The legislature will be taking a break next week, but Speaker Moore said that budget negotiations with the governor will continue. Click here for an article on budget talk this week.
Distribution of Federal COVID Funding
The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, Subcommittee on Use and Distribution on Federal COVID Funding held its first meeting on Wednesday and was presented with the following:
- The History and Future of the COVID-19 Pandemic in NC
- Justin Lessler, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill
- NC’s Economic Forecast
- John Connaughton, Ph.D., Professor of Financial Economics, UNC Charlotte
- Click here for an article on this presentation
- Pandemic-Related Economic Stresses for Local Government
- Anita Brown-Graham, J.D., ncIMPACT Initiative Director
This week the General Assembly voted along party lines to approve legislative and congressional maps, which do not require the governor’s signature to become law.
Click here for an article on these new maps.
This week the State Board of Education met for its biannual planning and work session, as well as its monthly meeting. The following are presentations that were provided during the Board’s #NCBetheChange planning and work session:
- The Time is Now: District & Regional Support – Powerful Partnerships to Advance District and School Improvement
- Resource Allocation: National and State Best Practices
- Strategies for Building Resilience with Social Emotional Learning
- Building the Teacher Pipeline and Diversifying the Teaching Workforce
- School Funding Systems and Resource Equity
- Public Education Finance in NC
- Starting with Equity
- District Perspectives – Leveraging NC Multi-Tiered System of Support and Innovations to Promote Positive Outcomes for Students
- Operationalizing the SBE’s Strategic Plan
Following the presentations, Board members reflected on the important work to be done. From social and emotional learning to school finance, Board members expressed the need to figure out what is working versus what is not, how to learn from schools and districts, and how to move forward with the Board’s strategic plan. In terms of implementing what the Board learned about education funding, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt voiced that more money does not always create better outcomes and that root cause analysis, as well as evaluations of new and existing programs, are key to improving many education issues.
Additionally, some Board members explained how they feel like they’ve been dealing with the same problems for years and really hope that now is the time that change will begin to take place. Along with operationalizing the Board’s strategic plan, the Board hopes to create a clear path forward that will withstand future changes in DPI leadership. Click here to access the planning and work session agenda, which includes additional information on presenters.
During the monthly meeting, the Board was presented with DPI Office of Learning Recovery and Acceleration’s draft research and evaluation plan pertaining to student’s lost instructional time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The term “lost instructional time” refers to disrupted student learning caused by unprecedented experiences, which DPI hopes to capture the impacts of by analyzing what student outcomes were (in 2018-2019), what they were predicted to be prior COVID-19, and what they are now. The hope is that this analysis will create a basis for long-term plans for student learning recovery and how to track progress. The Board will receive an update on the draft plan in its December meeting
Additionally, the Board approved DPI’s request to allocate $3.6 million in unallocated Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II funds, including $200,000 for the development of a graduate profile that supports accountability reform. This “portrait of a graduate” is part of the Superintendent’s Operation Polaris, which is her four-year strategic vision, and will be utilized by school districts to identify the skills and knowledge that will allow students to excel in their post-secondary plans. Click here for an article on the “portrait of a graduate”.
The Board did not receive a COVID-19 update from DHHS this month, but it is worth noting that on Friday, October 29, the FDA authorized emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. We will provide updates to DHHS guidance when it is released.
Click here to access all meeting materials.
Average daily membership (ADM) data released by DPI shows that traditional public school student enrollment slightly increased since last school year but remains low compared to pre-pandemic levels. So far in the 2021-2022 school year, there has been a 0.8% gain from the 2020-2021 school year, but an overall 4.3% decrease from the 2019- 2020 school year. (This data comparison is based on the first month’s ADM for each school year.) The 4.3% decrease can be compared to the 0.2% decrease from 2018-2019 to 2019-2020. This EdNC article includes an interactive map that shows ADM changes for each school district.
This week, according to a court filing, plaintiffs in the Leandro case requested that Superior Court Judge David Lee order State leaders to transfer over $1.7 billion from the unappropriated balance in the General Fund to fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan. This request follows an October 18 court hearing where Judge Lee gave plaintiffs a November 1 deadline to submit a proposed court order requiring the General Assembly to fund the Plan, followed by defendants submitting their response by November 8. After the defendant’s response is received, Judge Lee stated that he may either enter an order or convene another court hearing. The Plan reportedly costs $690.7 million to fund in 2021-2022 and $1.06 billion in 2022-2023.
Many local school boards approved changes to their mask policy this week. 20 school districts allow masks to be optional (Randolph County is effective November 15). Surry County allows masks to be optional on a school-by-school basis, and Hyde County allows masks to be optional for vaccinated students and staff (effective November 15). This leaves 93 school districts that continue to require masks. For comparison, last week 13 school districts allowed masks to be optional and 102 required masks.
NCSBA continues to track local school boards’ policies on school mask requirements as districts vote monthly on whether to modify their current policy (required by Section 10 of SB 654/SL 2021-130). Click here to access a chart of school board actions. If your school district changes its mask policy or you have corrections to the chart, please email information to Richard Bostic at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We recently released our first edition of the NCSBA 2021 Legislative Summary. We will update the Summary as education-related bills become law, and we will also include all education-related budget provisions that become law.
Click here to access the NCSBA 2021 Legislative Summary. The Legislative Summary can also be accessed by going to this NCSBA webpage and clicking Annual Legislative Summaries, which will take you to a webpage that includes a link to the 2021 Summary, as well as past legislative summaries.
Additionally, click here for a chart that lists the status of education-related bills.
As of 2:30 pm on Friday, November 5, there are no education-related meetings scheduled.
Due to NCSBA’s Annual Conference being held on Thursday, November 11, and Friday, November 12, we will not be sending out a Legislative Update next week. However, if there is a need to relay important education-related information, we will make sure you receive it.
Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Assistant Director of Governmental Relations
N.C. School Boards Association
Governmental Relations Research Specialist
N.C. School Boards Association