NCASA COVID-19 Weekly Update: April 9, 2020
While many students and staff across the state prepared for a much-needed spring break next week, policymakers continued to share guidance and take action in response to issues arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The following is a summary of actions taken this week:
NC General Assembly
Various working groups for the House Select Committee on COVID-19 met this week to provide updates on COVID-19’s ongoing impact on state operations, health care, and education.
During the State Operations Working Group meeting on Tuesday, State Budget Direct Charles Perusse gave a presentation on the current economic outlook and overall fiscal picture for the state. Perusse noted the state was “heading for a recession, if not already in one” and that state sales tax revenue is expected to take a major hit. The state’s chief legislative economist told senior budget writers last week that the state could experience a $1.5B-$2.5B loss in expected revenue through June 2021, as reported by the News & Observer.
During the Education Working Group meeting earlier today, legislative staff gave presentations to committee members on COVID-19’s impact on graduation and testing requirements, Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs), educator and staff licensure, as well as evaluations and observations.
- Graduation Requirements and Testing
- Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs)
- Educator and Staff Licensure
- Evaluations and Observations
The Education Workgroup began looking at potential legislative actions that are needed to address various education requirements that are being adversely affected by COVID-19 and school campus closure in each of these issue areas. The Workgroup is considering the proposals listed in the “Possible Approach” column of each grouping of issues reviewed today. Many of these proposals address recommendations made by NCASA and the NC School Superintendents’ Association to provide relief requested by superintendents and other school leaders to help them navigate the remainder of this school year.
Any NCASA members who have feedback or concerns on the proposals now being considered for legislative action should contact NCASA Executive Director Katherine Joyce, firstname.lastname@example.org, by noon Monday 4/13, so your feedback can be conveyed to the Workgroup.
State Board of Education
In an emergency conference call meeting held this afternoon, members of the State Board of Education approved numerous legislative and policy waivers relating to accountability, graduation requirements, licensure and educator preparation, transportation and class size. The entire agenda and recommendations document for this meeting can be accessed by clicking here.
SLA 1 - COVID-19: Accountability Recommended Policy & Legislative Changes
- The SBE approved 19 joint SBE/NDPI waiver requests for submission to the NC General Assembly.
SLA 2 - COVID-19: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Legislative Waiver
- The SBE gave approval to a waiver proposal to be submitted to the NC General Assembly for the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) graduation requirement for the 2019-2020 school year.
ES & P 1 - COVID-19: Licensure & Educator Preparation Legislative Requests
- The SBE gave approval to request legislative action as follows:
- Licensees Converting to Continuing Professional License (CPL)—The SBE recommends extending all licenses with a June 30, 2020 expiration date to June 30, 2021. Licensees would not convert to a CPL but maintain their Initial Professional License (IPL) until they pass the tests by the June 30, 2021 deadline.
- Praxis Core—The SBE recommends waiving the requirement to pass the PRAXIS Core for admission to an EPP for the 2020-21 academic year.
BSOP 1 - Approval of Contracts over $500 Thousand per CNTR-002
- The SBE approved a limited, three-month extension of the emergency contract that the State entered with Imagination Station, Inc. (“Istation”) in January of this year. The full contract amendment can be accessed by clicking here.
BSOP 2 - COVID-19: Transportation Hold Harmless Efficiency Ratings
- The SBE gave approval for a funding formula to be developed and implemented so that at a minimum, school districts will not face any reduction in their funding formula transportation allotment compared to 2019-2020 levels.
BSOP 3 - COVID-19: Class Size Legislative Waiver
- The SBE gave approval to submit a waiver proposal to the General Assembly for the required K - 3 class size and affidavit.
BSOP 4 - COVID-19: Federal Programs Monitoring and Support Waiver Response
- The SBE approved the submission of the Federal Programs Monitoring and Support COIVID-19 Waiver Response as presented.
Congress passed the CARES Act on March 27, providing $30.75B in new funding to the Education Stabilization Fund, and $13.23B specifically allocated for K-12 services. NC is expected to receive $849M from the Fund, which will be dispersed to schools in the same way they receive Title I funds.