Which Senate Bills Should NCASA Members Watch?
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager
N.C. Senate lawmakers hit a key deadline April 2, which was the last date that new bills could be filed in that chamber. Although bill introductions continue in the N.C. House through April 27, the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA) now has an indication of which public school issues are likely to be considered in legislation championed by state Senators. The following is an incomplete listing of selected Senate bills affecting K-12 education that NCASA deems as either favorable, neutral or needing revisions.
FAVORABLE – Senate Bills Directly Addressing NCASA’s 2019-2021 Priorities:
- S5: BUILDING NORTH CAROLINA'S FUTURE (NCASA would support in conjunction with a significant statewide school bond referendum for K-12 facilities.)
- Allows state and local educational institutions access to funding from the State Capital and Infrastructure Fund to address critical capital funding needs.
- S170: EXPAND PRINCIPAL BONUS MULTIPLIER ELIGIBILITY.-AB
- Expands eligibility for principal bonuses provided in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and provides additional payments in accordance with that expanded eligibility to include principals whose schools were in the Top 50% of growth and moved their school performance grade from a D or F to a C or higher.
- S219: MODIFY TEACHER LICENSING REQUIREMENTS
- Modifies teacher licensure requirements to create a new avenue for school districts to retain initially licensed teachers who have not yet passed required tests for conversion to a continuing license and ongoing employment.
- S397: Class Size Waivers/PE K-5 Teacher Funds
- Creates a new waiver school districts can obtain in lieu of meeting K-3 class size mandates if they have inadequate facility space to accommodate new classrooms and/or a teacher shortage limiting their ability to hire a sufficient pool of licensed teachers.
- S399: REHIRE HIGH-NEED TEACHERS
- Allows retired teachers to return to work in high-need schools without adversely impacting the retired teachers' benefits.
- S520: SCHOOL ETHICS TRAINING & FINANCE OFFICERS (=HB430)
- Requires ethics training for certain school employees and requires the terms and conditions of school finance officers' employment to mirror those of assistant and associate superintendents.
- S612: HS CREDIT/DUAL ENROLLMENT WORKFORCE TRAINING
- Directs the State Board of Education to revise its policy on dual credit allowances to award high school course credit for workforce continuing education pathway college courses.
- S613: SCHOOL CALENDAR ACCOMMODATION/STATEWIDE
- Provides an accommodation to local boards of education in adopting the school calendar.
NEUTRAL – Senate Bills NCASA Is Monitoring but Not Actively Working Either for Or Against:
- S38: CLASS SIZE REPORTING/PRINCIPAL
- Requires that the school principal report to the superintendent on noncompliance with class size requirements in kindergarten through third grade.
- S134: ECONOMICS & FINANCIAL LITERACY ACT
- Requires completion of an economics and personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement in public schools, clarifies requirements for high school civic literacy, and requires professional development for economics and personal finance teachers.
- S227: BROADEN CHARTER SCHOOL SIBLING PRIORITY
- Broadens charter school enrollment priority to include siblings who apply to the charter school for admission in the same school year and children of persons employed to work full-time for the charter school.
- S343: CHANGES TO EDUCATION REPORTS
- Revises reporting requirements related to education, including reporting on the school calendar start dates adopted by all school districts.
- S354: STUDENT NOTICE/CHARTER SCHOOL CLOSURE/RESTR
- Provides student and family fair notice and an impact statement prior to the closing or restructuring of a charter school.
- S408: PENSIONS BENEFITS REVISION
- Improves the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System's and the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System's abilities to collect reimbursements for overpayments made to reemployed beneficiaries; extends the legislative enactment implementation arrangement under the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System and the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System; allows the State Treasurer to perform criminal background checks; and makes changes related to the North Carolina State Health Plan.
- S412: MODIFY SCHOOL QUAL./STUDENT SUCCESS INDICATOR (HB411)
- Modifies the school quality and student success indicator used for the purpose of compliance with federal law for grades nine through twelve.
- S621 TESTING REDUCTION ACT OF 2019
- Reduces testing administered to students in public schools.
NEEDING REVISIONS – Senate Bills for Which NCASA Is Seeking Improvements:
- S350: EQUAL FUNDING FOR ALL STUDENTS/HACKNEY
- Repeals the Hackney amendment to charter school funding.
- S374: REPEAL RISKY RETIREMENT PAYMENTS
- Eliminates Option 4 and Option 6 retirement optional allowances under the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System and the Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System.
- S438: EXCELLENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACT OF 2019
- Modifies the implementation of the North Carolina Read to Achieve Program in order to attain statewide reading proficiency by the third grade.
- S521: CHANGES/TRANSFORM. PRINCIPAL PREP. PROGRAM
- Makes changes to the membership of the Principal Fellows Commission; clarifies the authority of the commission over the Transforming Principal Preparation Program (TP3) and various other changes to the program; transfers the funds and administration of individual forgivable scholarship loans from the Principal Fellows Program to the Principal Fellows and Transforming Principal Preparation Grant Program.
- S522: VARIOUS CHANGES TO CHARTER SCHOOL LAWS
- Makes various changes to the laws affecting charter schools.
- S580: CLASSROOM SUPPLIES TO TEACHERS
- Provides that funds in the classroom materials, instructional supplies, and equipment allotment for the public schools shall be used for the North Carolina Classroom Supply Program to permit teachers to purchase classroom supplies through an electronic account.
- S609: K-12 SCHOLARSHIP CHANGES
- Simplifies the eligibility requirements for the children with disabilities scholarship grant program; clarifies eligibility for scholarship programs to apply to certain four-year-olds; and makes various other changes to the opportunity scholarship (private school voucher) program, including expanding the family income eligibility.