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Class Size Legislation Becomes Law; NCASA Summarizes Details

House bill 90 became law on March 16, 2018 in the absence of the Governor Roy Cooper’s veto. As you recall, NCASA worked extensively to seek General Assembly approval for this legislation that provides a phase in for the class size mandate. A comprehensive summary of the bill is below. Also, click here to view the bill.

H90 (Session Law 2018-2), CHANGES TO EDUCATION AND ELECTION LAWS

  • Provides that 11 school districts impacted by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) are the sole recipients of $57.8 million in funds subject to the Memorandum of Understanding between the State and the ACP. Distribution of the funding is to be determined by the LEA’s ADM and the LEA’s amount of ACP linear mileage. The affected LEAs include: Cumberland; Halifax: Roanoke Rapids and Weldon City; Johnston; Nash; Northampton; Robeson; Sampson: Clinton City; and Wilson. Effective January 25, 2018.
  • Amends G.S. 115C-301 to phase in class size requirements for grades K-3 over a four-year period rather than the two-year period outlined in S.L. 2017-9. Exceptions to class size caps include dual language immersion classes and program enhancement classes, including arts disciplines of dance, music, theater, and the visual arts; physical education and health programs; world languages; and other supplemental classes as defined by the State Board of Education. Phase-in requirements place the following limits on student ratios in K-3 classes:
    • 2017-2018 and 2018-2019: average of 20, no more than 23.
    • 2019-2020: average of 19, no more than 22.
    • 2020-2021: average of 18, no more than 21.
    • 2021-2022 and beyond: The class size requirements will be as set forth in G.S. 115C-301. This will require for kindergarten, average of 18 and no more than 21; for first grade, average of 16 and no more than 19; and for second and third grade, average of 17 and no more than 20.
  • Amends the current classroom teacher allotment within S.L. 1995-450 to define allotments for two groups of teachers: one allotment for K-5 enhancement teachers defined as those in the arts disciplines of dance, music, theater, and the visual arts; physical education and health programs; and world languages; and another allotment for all other teachers, including enhancement teachers in Grades 6-12. Also allocates state funding for the new program enhancement allotment beginning with $61,359,225 for the 2018-2019 school year and designating annual increases until reaching a full funding level of roughly $245.6 million in the 2021-2022 school year, to be determined by actual student enrollment. Allows that until July 1, 2021, the classroom teacher allotment may be used for any type of classroom teacher, including K-5 enhancement teachers, and after that date, funds for program enhancement teachers for grades K-5 will only be allotted through the new program enhancement teacher allotment fund. Also effective in 2021, the K-5 enhancement teacher allotment funds may be used for supporting other teachers, but the funding in the separate classroom teacher allotment may no longer support K-5 enhancement teachers.
  • Modifies the criteria for eligibility for Personal Education Savings Accounts (PESAs) to no longer require that the student had enrolled in a public school the prior semester, or had met one of the other criteria in lieu of that requirement, in order to be eligible to receive a PESA. Instead requites that the student meet the following five measures for eligibility to receive a PESA:
    • Resides in NC.
    • Has not yet received a high school diploma and is eligible to attend public high school in NC.
    • Has not enrolled in a postsecondary institution in a matriculated statutes eligible for 12 hours of academic credit.
    • Is a child with a disability.
    • Has not been placed in a nonpublic school or facility by a public agency at public expense.
  • Establishes an appropriation for NC Pre-K and eliminates the current NC Pre-K waiting list by requiring that the Director of the Budget include funding for NC Pre-K in the base budget as follows: 2019-2020, $82 million; and 2020-2021, $91.4 million.
  • Unrelated to education, Section 8 makes the following changes to G.S. 163A-2 that establishes the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement: adds a ninth member, which the Governor appoints; states that the Governor must make all appointments to the State Board no later than 30 days after receiving list of nominees; and gives the Governor authority to remove members of the State Board at his or her discretion.

Except as otherwise provided, the act is effective when it became law on March 16, 2018.

NCASA