NCASA Weekly Update: 4/16/20
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager
As students, parents, and educators across the State continue to adjust to their new daily routines, policymakers have also begun to embrace the challenge of utilizing virtual meetings, online voting sessions, and webinars to address time-sensitive issues. The State Board of Education and the NC General Assembly both held special meetings again this week to address COVID-19 related-issues previously brought to their attention in a guidance document prepared by the NC Association of School Administrators (NCASA) and one of its core affiliates, the NC School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA). The following is a summary of K-12-related items addressed by state policymakers this week.
NC General Assembly
Members of the Education Working Group met this afternoon to discuss funding flexibility and class size issues, as well as issues specific to nonpublic schools and higher education. Legislative staff presented a 9-page draft education omnibus bill addressing various concerns discussed by committee members in last week’s meeting, including but not limited to testing waivers and school accountability, modifications to school personnel recruitment and reporting, modifications to educator preparation programs, and licensure modifications for teachers and other school personnel. Members can access all documents shared with working group members during today’s meeting by clicking on the document links below.
- Education Working Group Meeting Agenda: 4/16
Members of the House Select Committee on COVID-19: Continuity of State Government Working Group met earlier in the week on Tuesday to discuss various statutory and administrative issues in which regulatory relief has been requested from the General Assembly. Among other items, members discussed delaying the requirement to submit the school capital outlay report to the General Assembly by May 1. Legislators recommended delaying the submission of this report to July 1 for 2020 and 2021, due to late filings of reports by counties. In addition, several groups, including the NC Association of County Commissioners and UNC School of Government, requested the legislature provide flexibility relating to open meeting laws and remote participation. Lastly, the committee members discussed a request from the NC Treasurer’s Office to allow the Treasurer to grant flexibility from State Health Plan payment deadlines during times of a declared disaster. The full document discussed by the Continuity of State Government Working Group can be accessed by clicking here.
State Board Of Education (SBE)
Members of the State Board of Education met this afternoon in an emergency conference call session to approve certain COVID-19 waiver requests, as well as discuss how it will allocate the ~$350 million in federal funds expected to be provided to NC public schools in response to the coronavirus. Board members discussed draft planning allotments for the K-12 Emergency Relief Fund and a draft policy containing special provisions for allocating these funds. Board members also voted to approve the following during today’s meeting:
ES & P 1 - Report to the General Assembly: Adjunct Career Technical Education (CTE) Instructors
- The SBE approved this report for submission to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee, due April 15, 2020.
DIGTL 1 - COVID-19: Digital Teaching & Learning Legislative and Board Requests
- The SBE gave approval to extend the Digital Teaching and Learning Initiative Grant Funds expenditure date from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020, in order to prevent unspent funds from reverting on June 30, 2020. This would require legislative action.
- The SBE also gave approval to extend the completion deadline for the NC Digital Learning Progress Rubric from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020 in order to allow time for each public school unit (PSU) to accurately complete the data, and for potential revisions to be made in the tool to capture remote learning readiness.
BSOP 1 - COVID-19: Driver Education (DE) Carryover Allowance
- The SBE gave approval to include in its legislative requests at least a one-year carryover allowance for Driver Education (DE) funds to off-set potential budgetary shortfalls for next year’s budget.