The N.C. Senate this week approved a revised version of Senate Bill 399 intended to help school districts address staffing shortages by allowing them to rehire retired teachers under a new option. As revised, however, the bill could create some legal and financial liabilities for LEAs that choose to rehire retirees under the law if ultimately enacted. Senate Bill 399 would allow certain retired teachers to return to work in high-need schools and still receive their full retirement benefits.
Senate lawmakers approved several bills attempting to expand options for school choice and charter schools on Wednesday, after members of the Senate Rules and Operations Committee approved the bills earlier Tuesday morning. Legislators expressed the most concern about Senate Bill 609, which would expand eligibility for opportunity scholarships, as well as Senate Bill 522, which would have authorized counties to provide capital funds to charter schools; however, the provision making charter schools eligible for facilities funding was ultimately removed from the bill before passage. Some of the less controversial bills would require the State Board to adopt rules allowing the transfer of sick leave between a charter school and local school administrative unit (LEA), while another bill would create notice requirements for charter schools that are attempting to close or materially revise their charters.
Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to approve their overall House Budget proposal last Friday afternoon, after hours of discussion and voting on various budget amendments. The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) worked with lawmakers to introduce a successful amendment expanding a special bonus leave provision to non-certified school personnel and central office workers, who were previously excluded in prior versions of the proposed budget.
As of this In the Know publication, the N.C. House is scheduled to give approval to its 2019-2021 biennial spending plan in two floor votes later this evening and sometime Friday. The House budget, with special provisions contained in House Bill 966 and its accompanying money report, proposes spending $23.9 billion in 2019-2020, a 3 percent increase from the current fiscal year’s total budget. Public school funding for 2019-20 is proposed at $9.70 billion, a 3% increase, with $9.84 billion in 2020-21.