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Principal Double Bonus Clarification & ADM Hold Harmless Expansion Makes Legislative Headway

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs and Policy Manager

A technical corrections bill clarifying language in the principal bonus statute has been passed in the NC House of Representatives. The committee substitute to Senate Bill 469 contains various technical corrections, including a provision which seeks to expand eligibility for the principal double bonus to principals previously excluded due to ambiguity in the original double bonus law. Legislators approved an amendment to the bill on the House floor today after some education groups expressed concerns that the technical corrections bill did not go far enough in clarifying the double bonus statute. While many legislators have been receptive to fixing these issues, the amended bill still must pass in the Senate.

The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) was made aware of issues with the principal double bonus statute through one of its core affiliates, the NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association (NCPAPA), and quickly began working with lawmakers to correct the issue, which affected approximately 90 hardworking principals. The issue is the result of ambiguous wording within the statute providing the Principal Bonus Schedule, SL 2018-5, Section 8.3(a), in which certain principals who supervised schools with a D or F School Performance Grade, and greatly improved their schools so that they were in the Top 50% of the Statewide Growth Percentage, became ineligible for doubling their performance bonus award because they moved their school to a School Performance Grade of C under 2017-18 results. New proposed language would allow such principals who improved their schools to a Grade C to be eligible for the double bonus. 

In addition to clarifying the double bonus statute, SB 469 also expands eligibility for principals to be “held harmless” in average daily membership (ADM) determinations if his or her school was located in a declared disaster area. Last week, legislators passed SB 823, which provided the ADM hold harmless provision, but this provision was limited to schools that were closed for 15 days or more. NCASA spoke with legislators about the need to reduce the 15-day requirement to include more impacted schools, and lawmakers proposed a new 10-day requirement in the technical corrections bill.

NCASA will continue to follow the progress of the technical corrections bill and work with legislators and other education groups to reach a resolution to these issues for North Carolina’s principals. 

Elizabeth Yelverton