The House Committee on K-12 Education passed several bills relating to school performance grades on Tuesday, as well as one agency bill on mandatory education reporting, and one bill prohibiting corporal punishment in public schools. Of the bills relating to school performance grades, three bills address items identified by NCASA as legislative priorities: (1) Making permanent the 15-pt. grading scale; (2) Modifying the definition of low-performing schools; and (3) Increasing the weight of school growth in calculating school performance grades.
Legislators in the House gave final approval to the Education Bond Act of 2019 this morning, and it will now be sent to the Senate for further discussion and likely comparison to the pay-as-you-go school capital funding plan offered by Senate lawmakers. In regards to school safety, House Bill 76: School Safety Omnibus passed its first reading in the Senate and was sent to the Senate Rules Committee, after lawmakers in the House approved an amended version of the bill last Thursday. School calendar flexibility continued to be a hot topic, as members of the House Committee on K-12 Education approved two bills affecting the school calendar law. House Bill 117 would create a pilot program allowing 22 counties to choose their start and stop dates for the school year, while House Bill 79 would allow districts to align their school calendars with those of community colleges. Committee members approved both bills, which were then both referred to the House Rules Committee. Numerous education-related bills were filed this week, including two bills modifying the school performance grade, two additional calendar flexibility bills, one bill creating teacher licensure reciprocity for out-of-state teachers, and several bills relating to school personnel pay and benefits. The NCASA Advocacy Team will continue to monitor the progress of all education-related legislation and provide members with timely updates.
K-12 Education Committee Chairs filed a bill today that would clarify an issue regarding bonus awards for some principals who have previously been ruled ineligible. As a result of ambiguous wording within the 2018 State Budget providing the Principal Bonus Schedule, SL 2018-5, Section 8.3(a), certain principals who supervised schools with a D or F School Performance Grade, and greatly improved their schools so that they were in the Top 50% of the Statewide Growth Percentage, became ineligible for doubling their performance bonus award because they moved their school to a School Performance Grade of C under 2017-18 results. If their school had made less progress and remained a D in their school’s grade, their bonus would have been doubled, as occurred for some of their colleagues who led similar improvements.
Governor Roy Cooper proudly told state lawmakers, “[T]he state of the State is determined” during the annual State of the State Address on Monday. Governor Cooper addressed members of the North Carolina House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the millions of North Carolinians watching remotely, to discuss his priorities for the legislative session, including an increased investment in public education. “To start, we must come together and insist our public schools come first,” the Governor stated towards the beginning of his speech.