LEGISLATIVE & POLICY NEWS

  • NCASA Sought, Achieved Clarifying Guidance For LEAs On Employing Retirees As High-Need Or Other Teachers

    With last week’s enactment of Senate Bill 621 into law, LEA superintendents and human resource directors had breathed a sigh of relief in knowing they can legally employ retirees under either of the following: 1) subject to an earnings cap to work part-time in any school, or 2) as a “high-need teacher” working full-time with no earnings cap or loss of pension when placed in a “high-need school.” However, guidance issued earlier this week by both the Teachers and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) created confusion on these options statewide as the Sept. 15th deadline loomed for LEAs to notify TSERS on their plans on usage of the high-need teacher option.

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  • House Republicans Override Governor’s State Budget Veto

    After months with little progress on state budget negotiations, the NC House of Representatives successfully voted on Wednesday morning to override Governor Cooper’s veto of the previously-passed state budget. The final House vote, which split between party lines, was 55 members in favor and 15 members against, out of a total of 120 House members. The budget was then sent to the Senate for an additional override vote, but it was referred to the Senate Rules Committee before any votes were taken. Senate leadership has announced, as widely reported by statewide media outlets, that it will not vote on the veto override until next week. Senate Republicans will need at least one Democrat to join them in order to successfully override the veto.

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  • 2020 State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees Changes

    The North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees (TSERS) has announced several noteworthy changes to the 2020 Plan, as well as an open enrollment period of Nov. 2-19. In guidance issued to the Personnel Administrators of North Carolina (PANC), an affiliate of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), Glenda Jones, NCASA President and PANC Public Information Officer, shared guidance regarding the following items

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  • Governor Cooper Signs Testing Reduction Act of 2019

    Governor Cooper signed the Testing Reduction Act of 2019 (S621 / Session Law 2019-212) this week, eliminating the use of NC Final Exams (NCFEs) as part of the statewide testing program to assess teacher performance and professional growth. The bill requires that the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction develop “a plan on how to use other means to accomplish the purposes for which data is collected by the NC Final Exam” to be presented to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee not later than March 15, 2020.

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  • School Start and End Dates report Approved By the State Board of Education

    The State Board of Education approved the Report on School Start and End Dates at their meeting on Thursday as required by Senate Bill 343 (Session Law 2019-165) passed July 26. The new law requires that each local board of education report to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education on the start and end dates of the student instructional calendar for the next academic year. The local board of education shall report this information for each school under the control of that board and shall identify the statutory exception authorizing an earlier start date. While the reporting deadline for the school year already in progress has been extended until September 15, future reports will be required annually by April 1.

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  • Rehired Retiree And Teacher Licensure Law Fixes Gain Legislative Approval, Sent To Governor

    The House and Senate both approved on Monday Senate Bill 621, dealing mainly with public school testing reform, but also including time-sensitive clarifications to recent laws regarding rehired retirees in Senate Bill 399 and teacher licensure changes in Senate Bill 219. The approved S621 was sent to Governor Roy Cooper, who has until Sept. 7 to determine whether to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without his signature. The NC Association of School Administrators (NCASA) has contacted the Governor’s Office to urge a quick signature on this important measure, which we are optimistic will soon become law.

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  • Lawmakers Approve ‘Mini Budget Bills’ On Salary Increases; Governor Urges Negotiation On Full State Spending Package

    Lawmakers this week rolled out and approved a series of “mini budget bills” that pulled previous salary increases from the vetoed budget in House Bill 966 and sent them as separate pay-proposal bills to Governor Roy Cooper. Meanwhile, the Governor sent all school superintendents a letter on Tuesday urging them to encourage lawmakers to “negotiate and pass a responsible budget.” The letter and public comments from the Governor this week both create uncertainty over whether he will sign the piecemeal-budget bills. In his letter, he emphasizes his priorities for a budget compromise include Medicaid expansion, “better salary increases for teachers and non-certified school personnel,” and the “first statewide bond referendum to build public schools in nearly a quarter-century.”

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  • Governor's Letter to Superintendents Regarding State Budget

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  • Republican Leaders Push Forward Piecemeal State Budget Provisions, Employee Compensation Packages To Be Discussed Next Week

    After weeks without any new action on the vetoed State budget, Republican leaders in the House and Senate have begun pulling certain budget provisions to run as separate, mini budget bills. Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) confirmed yesterday during a press conference on returning surplus funds to taxpayers that they have begun sending forward pieces of the budget that are “widely agreed upon” for stand-alone approval.

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  • Lawmakers Propose Needed Clarifications To Recent Laws On Retirees Teaching And Teacher Licensure Changes

    A bill dealing with public school testing reform emerged from a House-Senate negotiating committee late Wednesday, and now includes greatly needed changes to two laws passed earlier this session that triggered some negative unintended consequences for hiring teachers for the new school year. The Conference Committee proposal for Senate Bill 621 now includes clarifying changes to previously enacted Senate Bill 399 regarding retirees returning to the classroom, as well as Senate Bill 219 regarding teacher licensure. The clarifying changes to both laws were requested by the NC Association of School Administrators (NCASA), which has worked feverishly the last few weeks to convince lawmakers that these time-sensitive changes are critical for school districts.

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  • Compromise Legislation On Testing Reform To Face House, Senate Floor Votes Next Week

    A House-Senate negotiating committee reached a compromise Wednesday on changes needed to the state’s public school testing requirements. That compromise, contained in the Conference Committee proposal for Senate Bill 621, is set for both House and Senate floor votes Monday 8/26.

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  • 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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