Which House Bills Should NCASA Members Watch?
Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager
Last week, the North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA) featured an article on Senate bills for NCASA members to watch. Based on positive member feedback, NCASA has prepared a similar summary for notable bills in the N.C. House. While bill introductions will continue in the House through April 27, the following provides a current listing of selected House bills affecting K-12 education that NCASA deems as either favorable, neutral, or needing revisions.
FAVORABLE – House Bills Directly Addressing NCASA’s 2019-2021 Priorities:
- H79: ACADEMIC ALIGNMENT/BOARDS OF EDUCATION & CC
- Allows local boards of education to align their school calendars with local community colleges
- H241: EDUCATION BOND ACT OF 2019
- Allows voters to approve a $1.5 billion school bond for K-12 schools, paid back by State over 9 years; provides $200 million each for community colleges and the UNC system
- H276: MODIFY LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOL DEFINITION
- Modifies the definition of low-performing schools to eliminate schools that meet growth; makes associated changes to the types of schools that may be approved for a Reform model
- H354: MODIFY WEIGHTING/SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADES
- Modifies the calculation of school performance grades by increasing the value of growth from 20% to 50%
- H362: 15-POINT SCALE FOR SCHOOL PERFORMANCE GRADES
- Adopts a fifteen-point scale in the determination of school performance grades
- H428: K-3 READING AND LITERACY IMPROVEMENT ACT
- Appropriates $271 million in recurring funds to provide the dollar equivalent of teacher assistance positions, with one teacher assistant for every class in kindergarten, first, and second grade, and one teacher assistant for every three classes in third grade; requires distribution based on an estimated statewide average salary and benefits per position and an average class size of 21 students per classroom
- H521: TRANSITIONAL LICENSE/TEACHER FROM OTHER STATE
- Provides for a three-year transitional license for teachers from other states and authorizes local boards of education to determine experience credit for those teachers to pay them on the commensurate level on the state salary schedule for the term of the license; modifies the requirements for a lifetime license
- H571: CHANGES TO ADVANCED TEACHING ROLES PROGRAM
- Makes permanent and modifies teacher compensation models and advanced teaching roles
- H653: SCHOOL TRANSP. PERSONNEL SALARY CHANGES
- Requires the State Board of Education to revise certain position classifications and to provide additional information on the cost of revisions of salary grades and salary ranges for transportation personnel
- H790: RESTORE STATE EMP/ TEACHER RETIREE MED BENEFIT
- Prevents the elimination of retiree medical benefits for members first earning service under the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS), the consolidated Judicial Retirement System, the Legislative Retirement System, or the optional retirement programs, on or after January 1, 2021
- H844: REDUCE SCHOOL BUS REPLACEMENT RESTRICTIONS
- Permits the replacement of school buses after 15 years and eliminates the cap on school buses that can be replaced due to safety concerns
- H876: 1% COLA/BONUS/TSERS/FUNDS
- Provides a permanent cost-of-living adjustment and a one-time cost-of-living supplement for retirees of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System, the Judicial Retirement System, and the Legislative Retirement System
NEUTRAL – House Bills NCASA Is Monitoring but Not Actively Working Either for Or Against:
- H73: CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY EDUCATION
- Ensures instruction in civic responsibility in elementary, middle, and high school courses
- H75: SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING STUDY
- Directs the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Instruction to study the development of a mental health screening process for children in NC public schools, as recommended by the House Select Committee on School Safety
- H76: SCHOOL SAFETY OMNIBUS
- Establishes school safety requirements for all public schools; requires threat assessment teams be established at each public school and codifies the duties of threat assessment teams; requires local boards of education to require peer-to-peer support programs at all schools with grades six and higher; requires reporting on the operational status of all public schools during states of emergency; defines the term "school resource officer" and requires training for school resource officers; and requires annual vulnerability assessments for each public school building
- H359: $15/HOUR MINIMUM PAY FOR NONCERTIFIED SCHOOL EMPLOYEES
- Requires the hourly rate of the minimum salary for non-certified public school employees to be at least fifteen dollars per hour
- H377: REDUCE TESTING
- Replaces EOGs in 3-8 reading and math with NC Check-Ins; eliminates remaining EOCs in biology and replacing with ACT or "nationally recognized assessment of high school achievement and college readiness"; eliminates ACT WorkKeys; eliminates N.C. Final exams for teachers who don't have results from an EOG or EOC that can be used to evaluate their performance; prohibits school districts from giving standardized tests not required by the State Board of Education; and prohibits school districts from requiring students to do a high school graduation project
- H430: SCHOOL ETHICS TRAINING & FINANCE OFFICERS
- Requires ethics training for certain school employees; requires the terms and conditions of school finance officers' employment to mirror those of assistant and associate superintendents
- H433: ECONOMICS & FINANCIAL LITERACY ACT
- Requires completion of an economics and personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement in public schools; clarifies requirements for high school civic literacy; and requires professional development for economics and personal finance teachers.
- H434: SUICIDE RISK REF./MENTAL HEALTH/TEEN VIOLENCE
- Requires local boards of education, charter schools, regional schools, innovative schools, laboratory schools, and the Renewal School System to adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol, a mental health training program, and a policy against teen dating violence and abuse.
- H563: 30 MIN. DUTY-FREE LUNCH FOR TEACHERS
- Provides a minimum of thirty minutes of duty-free lunch time for teachers to the extent possible.
NEEDING REVISIONS – House Bills for Which NCASA Is Seeking Improvements:
- H199: PERMANENT CHARTER SCHOOL TRASNPORTATION GRANT
- Establishes a permanent charter school transportation grant program
- H315: INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIAL SELECTION
- Repeals the current process for textbook selection by the State Board of Education and replaces it with a process for local boards of education to select instructional materials; creates a process for individuals to challenge instructional materials as unfit, which could be appealed to the State Board of Education.
- H859: CLASSROOM SUPPLIES TO TEACHERS
- Provides that funds in the classroom materials, instructional supplies, and equipment allotment for the public schools shall be used for the NC Classroom Supply Program to permit teachers to purchase classroom supplies through an electronic account.