Lawmakers Pass Technical Corrections Bill Substitute, Creating Wins and Losses for LEAs
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs and Policy Manager
Lawmakers in the House and Senate quickly voted today to adopt a conference committee substitute for Senate Bill 469—a technical corrections bill that Senate lawmakers had rejected during a floor vote on Tuesday. After S469 failed to gain the required votes earlier in the week, legislators were appointed to a conference committee, which mid-day today released a conference committee substitute containing numerous changes and additions that many public school advocates may find troubling.
NCASA was able to work with lawmakers to include in a previous version of the bill provisions which would expand school eligibility for the Principal ADM Hold Harmless provision, as well as clarify a principal double bonus issue. The conference committee substitute retained our requested language regarding the Principal ADM Hold Harmless, but the double bonus clarification was removed in this latest version.
The following is a summary of pertinent provisions of the conference committee report that was ultimately approved by both the House and Senate this afternoon:
Public School Vouchers
Section 1 of the conference report creates a new eligibility category for the Students with Disabilities Scholarship Program for students not previously enrolled in a public school.
Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program
Section 2 of the conference report changes the Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program so that the NC Principal Fellows Commission would administer the program in collaboration with the State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA), rather than a nonprofit entity, effective July 1, 2019. Currently, one of NCASA’s core affiliates, the NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association (NCPAPA) administers the program through the NC Alliance for School Leadership Development, a non-profit professional development organization.
Charter Schools Allowed To Join TSERS/State Health Plan
Section 20 authorizes the board of directors of a municipal charter school in the towns of Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill, to have the option of joining the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) and the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.
Expand Principal ADM Hold Harmless
Section 22 expands eligibility for Principal ADM Hold Harmless from schools closed for at least 15 school days due to Hurricane Florence to schools closed for at least 10 days. This provision was included in S469, at the request of NCASA, and prevents several principals from taking a salary cut Jan. 1, due to lower enrollment from displaced families.
Allow Carver Heights to Apply as Restart School/Change ISD Requirements
Section 27 allows the Wayne County Board of Education to apply to the State Board of Education to adopt a restart model for the operation of Carver Heights Elementary School, which the State Board approved last week as the selected school for takeover by the Innovative School District (ISD). This provision also repeals the statutory requirement that the State Board select at least two qualifying schools to transfer to the ISD no later than the 2019-2020 school year.
The conference committee substitute was approved by both chambers and will be sent to the Governor, who has 10 days, until December 23rd to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law without his signature. If vetoed, lawmakers could return to Raleigh to consider an override prior to December 31st, while both chambers have GOP supermajorities that have easily overridden previous vetoes.
NCASA is not yet aware of whether the Governor plans to veto this bill, but we will be closely following the outcome of this legislation and pursuing any needed next steps.