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Senate Finalizing Budget That Differs Greatly From House Plan

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager

UPDATED 6-3-19

As of this In the Know publication, the N.C. Senate is expected to give approval to its 2019-2021 proposed budget, after further discussion and amendments on the Senate floor later today and tomorrow. The Senate budget differs greatly from the House budget proposal, with some of the most notable differences found in the education-related provisions. The Senate budget proposal provides less money for teacher and school personnel raises, while focusing more on state employees, who will receive an average 5% salary increase over the next two years. Among items requested by NCASA and addressed in the House budget, the Senate budget proposal does not connect the principal pay scale to the teacher salary scale, nor does it adjust the school performance grading scale. These and other differences are expected to set the stage for House and Senate budget writers to begin crafting a compromise state spending plan as the fiscal year’s end quickly approaches.

Budget documents can be accessed by clicking on the links below:

NCASA has summarized key education-related provisions in the Senate budget as follows:

Compensation Highlights:

  • Principals — Provides $15M in both FY 2019-20 and 2020-21 for an average 6.2% raise (~$4,650) for principals. It further adjusts the Principal Salary Schedule by adding one new tier in Average Daily Membership (ADM) for schools with 0-200 students, and adjusts existing tiers. The Principal Bonus Schedule is adjusted to increase the Bonus amounts for the Top 5% and Top 10% statewide performance from $10,000 to $15,000 and from $7,500 to $10,000, respectively. The budget removes the opportunity for high-performing principals who supervise D or F schools to double their bonuses; however, it uses an additional $1.3M to create a new “principal recruitment supplement” in which up to 40 principals currently paid on the “Exceeded Growth” column of the salary schedule may transfer to certain low-performing schools and receive annual salary supplements of $30,000, for a maximum of 3 years.  Despite great efforts by NCASA, the budget does not retroactively address an issue with the principal bonus multiplier, affecting approximately 90 principals across the state. For a more in-depth look at principal compensation provisions in the Senate budget, please click here.
  • Assistant Principals — Provides $850K in FY 2019-20 for an average 1.25% raise (~$740) and $1.7M in FY 2020-21 for an average 2.5% raise (~$1,450).
  • Teachers and Instructional Support — Provides teachers with an average 3.5% raise over two years, and bonuses for veteran teachers ($500 for years 15-24 and $1,000 for years 25+). Allocates $35.4M in recurring funding for 100 new school psychologists, requiring at least one in each school district.
  • Central Office and Non-Certified School Personnel — Provides central office with various raises based on position; Provides non-certified personnel a 1% salary increase for permanent, full-time employees on a 12-month contract, and a prorated amount for: full-time employees on a contract for less than 12 months; permanent, part-time employees; and hourly employees.

Benefits Highlights:

  • Bonus Leave — Provides no additional bonus leave.
  • Retiree COLA — Provides no additional retiree COLA.
  • Retirement Contribution — Sets 12.97% as the employer contribution rate for retirement, effective July 1, 2019, and increases it to 14.36% on July 1, 2020.
  • Medical Benefits — Sets $6,349 as the monthly premium employers will pay for state and school personnel who are not Medicare eligible, effective July 1, 2019; amount increases to $6,603 on July 1, 2020.

Special Provisions Affecting Public Schools:

  • Classroom Supplies to Teachers — Provides $15M in recurring funding for the Classroom Materials/Instructional Supplies/Equipment Allotment from the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund receipts, and requires LEAs to provide $300 per classroom teacher for purchasing their own classroom supplies through a new app. Although this will increase this allotment’s total to $62.5M in each year of the biennium, the $15M expansion will cover only $145 per teacher per the House’s budget proposal. This means the Senate provision would reduce funding for system-wide supplies now purchased by LEAs because part of the existing $47 million allotment would be shifted to provide each teacher $300 for use on the new app.
  • Textbooks/Digital Resources — Adds $12M recurring to increase this total allotment to $74M.
  • Student Meal Debt/Reduced-Priced Lunch — Provides $3M non-recurring and directs the State Board of Education to report on unpaid meal charges in LEAs and directs DPI to utilize appropriated funds to provide school lunches at no cost to students of all grade levels qualifying for reduced-price meals.
  • Rehire High-Need Teachers—Codifies Senate Bill 399, which allows retired teachers to return to work in high-need schools without adversely impacting the retired teachers' benefits.
  • School Capital — Provides $4.8 billion over 10 years for K-12 capital funding: $1.67B from the new State Capital and Infrastructure Fund (a pay-as-you-go plan), $1B from the Public School Capital Fund (reflecting the current $100M annually per county from the Education Lottery, and $2.1B in Needs-Based Capital Funding through the Education Lottery.
  • Repeal Right of Action/Capital Outlay Fund — Removes the local school board’s ability to take county commissioners to court if capital funding is not resolved in mediation.
  • School Safety Grants Program — Provides the following expansion funding for school safety grants: $10M recurring for School Mental Health Support Personnel; $6M recurring for SROs; and non-recurring funding of $4.5M for Safety Training, $4.5M for Students in Crisis, and $6.1M for Safety Equipment. Also directs the State Superintendent to create criteria and guidelines for grant applicants before August 1, 2019, and each year thereafter.
  • Exceptional Children Transportation Reserve Fund — Provides $3M recurring and directs DPI to establish a new grant program to support the extraordinary transportation costs of high-needs exceptional children attending LEAs and charter schools.
  • Economics and Financial Literacy — Codifies Senate Bill 134 by requiring completion of an economics and personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement in public schools, clarifying requirements for high school civic literacy, and requiring professional development for economics and personal finance teachers.
  • Funds for Cooperative Innovative High Schools — Establishes that within the funds appropriated for the cooperative innovative high school allotment, schools in a Tier 1 county will receive $275,000 each year, those in a Tier 2 county will receive $200,000 each year, and those in a Tier 3 county will receive $180,000 each year. It phases out funding for current schools who have received funds for more than 3 years by allocating for the 2020-2021 FY an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount a local school administrative unit received from the allotment for the 2019-2020 FY and no funds from the allotment for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and for subsequent fiscal years. It also phases out funding for current schools who have received funds for 2 years by allocating for the 2021-2022 fiscal year an amount equal to fifty percent (50%) of the amount a local school administrative unit received from the allotment for the 2020-2021 fiscal year and no funds from the allotment for the 2022-2023 fiscal year and for subsequent fiscal years.
  • Read To Achieve Camp Curriculum Pilot Program — Provides $70,000 non-recurring to establish a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of specific reading camp curricula for furthering reading proficiency and directs DPI to select one or more LEAs to utilize each curriculum in its reading camp.
  • Advanced Teaching Roles Changes — Repeals various current provisions regarding Advanced Reaching Roles and replaces them with new requirements for participating schools and the State Board of Education. It establishes a maximum pay increase at 30% of the State teacher salary schedule for qualified teachers and notes the program may be used in up to 12 different districts.
  • Broaden Charter School Enrollment Priorities — Codifies Senate Bill 227 by broadening charter school enrollment priority to include siblings who apply to the charter school for admission in the same school year and children of persons employed to work full-time for the charter school.

Upon final approval of the Senate budget and the start of negotiations between the House and Senate, NCASA will continue to work with leaders in both chambers to seek approval of a final budget that best meets the needs of K-12 public education in North Carolina. Look for updates on Twitter via @NCASAtweets, at and through our weekly In the Know newsletter.


Elizabeth Yelverton