LEGISLATIVE & POLICY NEWS

  • Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Appointed To AASA Governing Board, Joins Greene And Rockingham Superintendents In National Service

    Dr. Lory Morrow, Superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, has joined Dr. Patrick Miller, Superintendent of Greene County Schools, in representing North Carolina on the Governing Board for the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). Dr. Morrow, who also is President-Elect of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), was recognized for this appointment Tuesday at her local board of education meeting by Jack Hoke, Executive Director of the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA), which is one of NCASA’s core affiliates.

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  • What’s Happening — Or Not Happening — At The NC General Assembly

    With most traditional public schools in NC starting school Aug. 26, many educators are growing increasingly concerned by the lack of a new state budget and the funding it provides. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the budget proposal offered by Republican leadership 27 days ago, yet a compromise on a permanent state spending plan is nowhere in sight. According to Lauren Horsch, a political reporter for the NC Insider state government news service, it costs about $46,000 per day to hold a legislative session, meaning it has cost NC taxpayers nearly $1.2 million so far to continue General Assembly operations without a budget. Legislators have held a few committee meetings or floor votes on some of these days, but most recent days have seen empty hallways and little to no legislative action.

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  • Legislature Approves Read To Achieve Compromise, Eliminating LEA Flexibility To Choose Assessment

    The Senate on Wednesday voted 28-4 to give final approval to a compromise negotiated with the House on changes to the Read to Achieve program. The House quickly followed suit this morning and voted 68-48 in favor of the revised Senate Bill 438, as recommended by the bill negotiators.

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  • House Proposes Local Sales Tax Flexibility For Public Education, Approves Changes to ISD and Student Conduct Standards

    It was another slow week at the legislature, with the Senate taking another week off and the House holding very few committee meetings as the budget impasse continues. House lawmakers pushed forward a couple of bills regarding changes to the Innovative School District (ISD) and student conduct standards, and also appointed certain members to a conference committee to work out proposed changes to the State’s Read to Achieve program. Notably, House lawmakers also amended a rural health care bill to add a provision giving counties the flexibility to levy, by referendum, an additional quarter-cent local sales tax, which could be used for public education purposes. Since last week’s publication, the Governor also signed into law two education-related bills, and vetoed a bill which would have expanded enrollment for NC virtual charter schools. The legislature also presented to the Governor the Senate’s stopgap budget proposal, which would not affect K-12 education funding, but would ensure continuity in certain federal grant programs while budget negotiations continue.

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  • Caution Urged For LEAs Hiring Retired Teachers Due To New Limitations Under S399 Law

    Senate Bill 399, signed into law 7/11 by the Govenor, is intended to help districts recruit retired teachers to work in struggling schools that often are hard to staff. The law provides a new option for certain retired teachers to be employed on one-year renewable contracts to work full-time (or part-time) in schools defined as “high-need,” receive a state-prescribed salary not subject to an earnings cap, and still receive their full pension benefit.

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  • House Amends Low-Performing Schools Bill To Include Teacher Licensure Changes

    A bill dealing with low-performing schools passed the House during a floor vote on Wednesday, after lawmakers amended the bill to include unrelated but greatly-needed teacher licensure changes. The amended version of Senate Bill 522, which makes changes to Innovative School District (ISD) laws, also makes the following clarifications and changes to the recently-enacted Senate Bill 219 regarding teacher licensure.

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  • On The Governor’s Desk

    The following bills were signed into law by the Governor or presented to the Governor to be signed into law this week:

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  • Bill Action This Week

    This week was a slower week at the legislature, with the Senate taking the majority of the week off as budget negotiations reached an impasse. Lawmakers in the Senate did introduce their stopgap budget proposal, House Bill 961, in the Senate Appropriations/General Budget Committee on Monday, which would appropriate federal block grant funding while budget negotiations continue. Unlike the House stopgap budget bill, the Senate proposal does not include funds for school enrollment growth or any other K-12 items. Committee members unanimously passed H961 on Monday, and the bill is scheduled for another hearing in the Senate Rules Committee on Monday.

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  • UPDATED: Educator Preparation Program Changes, Other Bills Await Governor’s Signature

    While Governor Cooper signed several pieces of education-related legislation into law last week, numerous other items currently await the Governor’s signature, including a bill making various changes to Educator Preparation Program (EPP) standards. The changes contained in House Bill 107, which was presented to the Governor last Friday, were recommended in a report by the legislative Program Evaluation Division to “enhance the effectiveness of the EPP data reporting system.” According to a summary prepared by legislative staff, H107 would do all of the following:

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  • What LEAs Need to Know About New Law On Rehiring High-Need Teachers

    Last Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Senate Bill 399: Rehire High-Need Teachers, allowing school districts to rehire certain retired teachers to work at high-need schools while still retaining their retirement benefits. These rehired teachers would be eligible to work full-time on one-year renewable contracts and be paid at either the first step of the teacher’s salary scale, or the sixth step if teaching in approved STEM or special education areas. The law creates two new definitions that school districts must meet in order to utilize the program — “high-need retired teacher” and “high-need school.”

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  • Teacher Licensure Changes Signed Into Law

    Just ahead of Independence Day celebrations, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 219 into law on July 1, making it easier for school districts to recruit and retain more of the licensed teachers they now are trying to place in classrooms for next school year. The bill was shepherded through the General Assembly by its primary sponsor, Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), and gained almost unanimous support in the N.C. House on June 20 and N.C. Senate on June 24 before moving to the Governor’s desk.

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  • Lawmakers Approve Extending 15-Point Scale For Calculating School Performance Grades

    House Bill 362, which would permanently extend the 15-point scale for calculating A-F school performance grades, is on its way to the Governor after clearing both the Senate and House this week. The Senate unanimously approved the measure 49-0 Tuesday, and the House voted 112-4 on Wednesday to accept the Senate’s changes. The bill was then sent to Governor Roy Cooper for further consideration and approval.

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  • House Education Committee Approves Read to Achieve Changes, Modified Education Bills

    Members of the House Education Committee approved several modified Senate bills Wednesday, which replaced the original bills’ contents with House proposals regarding the Innovative School District (ISD), school safety protocols, competency-based assessment models, and teen mental health. Committee members also unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) to improve the NC Read to Achieve Program, as well as a separate bill creating a statutory withdrawal process for regional schools. Further details on the bills heard in Tuesday’s committee are as follows:

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  • Lawmakers, Governor At Impasse Over State Budget; General Assembly Making Plans For Long Recess

    N.C. House efforts to override Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the $24 billion state budget languished this week as the bill remained on the chamber’s floor calendar without action. Meanwhile, the Governor on Tuesday rolled out a compromise package showing his movement on some key areas of contention, except for his full Medicaid expansion proposal. However, GOP legislative leaders quickly discarded the proposal, saying any budget package with Medicaid expansion as an ultimatum is not a compromise. Lawmakers then took two main steps indicating they are preparing for an indefinite standoff on the state budget.

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  • Principal Preparation Changes Signed Into Law

    Governor Roy Cooper signed into law last Friday a bill which will expand principal preparation opportunities across the State by merging the existing Transforming Principal Preparation Program (TP3) with the Principal Fellows Program. The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) was extensively involved in producing the final version of Senate Bill 227, and we would like to thank the Governor and his team for their efforts and cooperation in quickly signing this important bill into law. This week brought a change in pace from last week’s packed schedule at the legislature, with both the House and Senate taking some time off to observe Independence Day. While there was little new discussion and debate, a few education bills moved forward in the Senate Rules Committee, and a couple of others were sent to the Governor for approval.

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  • Lawmakers Schedule Vote to Override Governor’s Budget Veto

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper officially vetoed the state budget proposal on Friday, sending lawmakers back to the negotiation table after weeks of budget talks. Governor Cooper noted in a statement, “I am vetoing this budget because it prioritizes the wrong things. It values corporate tax breaks over classrooms, gimmicks over guaranteed school construction, and political ideology over people.” The $24 billion budget proposal sent to the Governor for approval on Thursday was seen as a compromise between House and Senate plans, but lacked several items seen as crucial to the Governor, including Medicaid expansion and a school facility bond referendum. The Governor’s proposed $25.2 billion budget would fully expand Medicaid and provide $2 billion from a statewide bond for K-12 school facility needs, among other investments. Lawmakers in the House have scheduled a vote on Monday to attempt to override the Governor’s veto, but it is still unclear whether Republicans will have enough support from Democrats to successfully override the veto.

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  • Scotland County Schools’ Superintendent Selected as the 2019 NCASLD/NCSSA Dr. Brad Sneeden Leadership Award Winner

    The North Carolina Alliance for School Leadership Development (NCASLD) and the North Carolina School Superintendents' Association (NCSSA) has announced the selection of Dr. Ron Hargrave, Superintendent of Scotland County Schools, as the recipient of the Dr. Brad Sneeden Leadership Award. The award was presented on Sunday, June 23 at the NCSSA Superintendents' Summer Leadership Retreat in Asheville and is awarded in honor and recognition of a superintendent who has demonstrated a strong commitment to life-long learning, unwavering integrity in leadership and transformation of vision into action.

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  • Senate Education Committee Approves 15-Point Scale; Principal Preparation Changes Sent to Governor

    In addition to releasing a compromise budget proposal this week, House and Senate members also approved several important education policy bills and sent several education bills to the Governor for final approval. Members of the Senate Education Committee approved a bill on Wednesday which would make permanent the 15-point school performance grading scale, as well as direct the State Board of Education and State Superintendent to study and make recommendations to improve our school performance grading system. The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) would like to thank Rep. Craig Horn (R-Union) and Sen. Rick Horner (R-Nash) for working with NCASA to maintain the current 15-point scale, which is one of NCASA’s Top 5 Legislative Priorities this session.

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  • Lawmakers Approve Compromise On State Budget; Governor Cooper Expected To Veto

    Legislative leaders unveiled their compromise on a $24 billion state budget Tuesday, reflected in this bill text and money report, and the House and Senate both gave preliminary approval Wednesday, despite concerns Governor Roy Cooper has raised about key priorities he says are missing from the deal. The Governor’s opposition to lawmakers not including Medicaid expansion, a K-12 school bond referendum and what he has referred to as “significant” pay increases for teachers, make it likely the budget will face his veto after it clears its final vote in both chambers later today as expected.

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  • State Budget Negotiations Progressing; Compromise Deal May Emerge Soon

    House and Senate budget writers worked late nights this week and also opened talks with Governor Roy Cooper in an effort to compromise on key differences in the 3 proposed state spending plans pushed forward this session. The major sticking point from the Governor’s perspective, based on social media reports from his staff, continues to be reluctance from lawmakers to include Medicaid expansion in the final state budget. Late this week he suggested that budget negotiations be split into two tracks, with one focusing on Medicaid and other health care issues and the other focusing on all other issues tied to the state budget framework.

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