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House Amends Low-Performing Schools Bill To Include Teacher Licensure Changes

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager

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.

  • Allow individuals with a lateral entry license or a residency license that has been renewed twice to be eligible for a limited license. Individuals who have only had a residency license for one or two years would not be eligible for a limited license.
  • Provide a one-year extension for individuals with lateral entry or residency licenses that would have expired June 30, 2019 due to failure to fulfill licensure examination requirements.
  • Clarify that the new three-year timeline in 115C-270.15(c) enacted by S.L. 2019-71 applies to individuals who held an IPL on July 1, 2019, as well as new applicants.
  • Clarify that individuals who already had IPLs as of July 1, 2019 can be eligible for a limited license if they otherwise meet the criteria for the license.

 The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) would like to thank the amendment sponsor, Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), for working with NCASA to identify recent licensure issues and take immediate action to better help schools retain and recruit quality educators.

In addition to S522, the following other bills received legislative action this week:

HB961:  ENSURING AUTHORIZATION OF FEDERAL FUNDS

  • This bill 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.
  • STATUS: House Concurred 7/24, Sent to Governor 7/26

SB5: SCHOOL SAFETY OMNIBUS

  • The latest version of this bill does all of the following:
    • Establish that school safety requirements apply to all public schools, and allow non-public schools to participate;
    • Clarify the powers and duties of the Center for Safer Schools;
    • Require county boards of education to report to state and local emergency management officials and county commissioners during county states of emergency;
    • Define the term "school resource officer" and require training for SROs;
    • Require annual vulnerability assessments for each public school building;
    • Require threat assessment teams be established at each public school and codify the duties of the threat assessment teams;
    • Require local boards of education to require peer-to-peer support programs at all schools with grades six and higher;
    • Require the Department of Public Instruction to transfer up to $1.5 million dollars to be used for the digital panic alarm system implemented by the Department of Public Safety; and
    • Require trauma kits in every public school classroom and require training for school personnel who would be reasonably expected to use a trauma kit.
  • STATUS: Passed House 7/24; Placed on Senate Calendar for 7/25

SB123:  GEO. ISO. SCH./TRANSP. EFF. BUFF./CURRITUCK CTY. SCH.

  • The latest version of the bill would do all of the following:
    • Revise the geographically isolated schools formula regarding the allocation of teachers for Currituck County Schools;
    • Allow an increased transportation efficiency budget rating for Currituck County Schools; and
    • Require the State Board of Education to develop draft policies and procedures for auditing public school attendance and membership data.
  • STATUS: Passed House 7/24; Placed on Senate Calendar for 7/25 

SB438:  EXCELLENT PUBLIC SCHOOLS ACT OF 2019

  • This bill would make various changes to the NC Read to Achieve Program, focusing on improving individual student reading proficiency, creating uniform statewide plans for literacy improvement, and strengthening literacy training for teachers. House lawmakers successfully amended the bill during floor sessions this week to allow local boards of education to select K-3 reading diagnostic assessments, rather than exclusively use the iStation diagnostic program. The House also amended the bill to require education stakeholders to consider “national and international literacy research, programs, and initiatives” in developing a statewide “Comprehensive Plan to Improve Literacy Instruction.” The Senate failed to concur with the amended version of the bill, and has appointed Senate members to a conference committee for further discussion.
  • STATUS: Senate Failed to Concur 7/24, Conference Committee Appointed

SB476:  COMPT‑BASED ASSESS. & MENTAL HLTH/TEEN VIOL

  • This bill would direct the State Board of Education (SBE) to make recommendations to the legislature on transitioning to a statewide competency-based assessment and teaching model before May 2020. The second portion of the bill would require public school units to: (i) adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol, (ii) adopt a mental health training program; and (iii) adopt a policy against teen dating and violence.
  • STATUS: Passed House 7/22, Senate Failed to Concur 7/22
Elizabeth Yelverton
eyelverton@ncasa.net
919-828-1426