2 Education Bills Sent To Governor; Others Move Forward This Week
Although state budget negotiations have been the major focus this week, several policy bills affecting public education also garnered General Assembly action, including two bills that have cleared both the House and Senate and are now on their way to the Governor’s desk.
The House on Wednesday concurred with Senate changes to the following two bills and then sent them on for Governor Roy Cooper’s consideration:
- HB 57, Create Term for Public Schools & Codify NCVPS – Defines "public school unit" to refer collectively to multiple types of public schools, including those operated by LEAs, charters, regional schools, innovative schools, the residential schools for the deaf and blind, laboratory schools, and the residential School of the Arts high school, and the residential School of Science and Mathematics. Also codifies the NC Virtual Public School into law, rather than only as an ongoing state budget provision.
- HB 664, myFutureNC/Postsecondary Attainment Goal – Establishes a state goal to make significant efforts to increase access to learning so that by 2030, 2,000,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 44 will have completed a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree. Also requires annual reporting on this effort, beginning in September 2020.
Other bills affecting public schools that saw legislation action this week include:
- SB 227, TP3/Principal Fellows Consolidation – Would revamp the Principal Fellows Commission and create a two-year transition for merging the current Principal Fellows and Transforming Principal Preparation (TP3) programs by July 1, 2021. The bill gained House approval 107-0 today and goes back to the Senate for a vote of concurrence.
- SB 366, 10th Grade/College Transfer Pathways – As revised by the House Education K-12 Committee earlier, the bill would do all of the following: (i) expand the career and technical education pathway to high school freshman and sophomores to include construction and business technologies courses, (ii) expand the college transfer pathway to certain high school sophomores, (iii) require that those sophomores receive academic advising on entering college early and get parental consent before participating in the pathway, and (iv) make changes to adjunct CTE instructor requirements to allow certain skilled tradesmen without an associate or baccalaureate degree to be hired by LEAs. The bill gained approval on the House floor 108-0 this afternoon and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence. The bill sponsor, Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), has told NCASA he will move to put the bill into a conference committee for additional work before final passage.
- SB 399, Rehire High-Need Teachers – Would allow teachers who retired prior to Feb. 1, 2019 to return to work in certain high-needs schools without adversely impacting their retirement benefits. The bill was amended by the House Pensions and Retirement Committee on Tuesday, adjusting the allowable expenditure the State Treasurer can make in seeking a private letter ruling from the Internal Revenue Service in conjunction with this bill’s changes to the state’s “return to work” laws for retirees. It next goes to the House Rules Committee before on to the House floor.
- SB 500, Modify Advanced Math Course Enrollment – Would clarify requirements for advanced math course enrollment and require reporting on that enrollment. Additionally, for the 2019-2020 school year only, it would exempt certain schools from the requirement that 7th grade students who score at the highest level be enrolled in a high school math course in 8th grade. The House sent this amended bill to the Senate for concurrence late last week, and the Senate rejected those changes on Monday and then appointed a slate of Senators to negotiate the final bill contents with House conferees. The House conferees had not been appointed as of distribution of this newsletter.
- HB 411, Modify School Qual./Student Success Indicators – Would combine career and college readiness indicators for both school performance grades required under State law as well as for federal reporting purposes under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and require the State Board of Education to include additional career and college readiness information on annual school report cards. The bill was amended in the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee this week before gaining approval both by that committee and the Senate Rules Committee. It now goes to the Senate floor.
- H777, Purchase Optional Credit/Full-Time Service – Would amend retirement laws to allow an individual who did not earn membership service in a calendar year because the individual was not expected to work full-time, to purchase that service if their actual work hours exceed the system requirements. Those requirements include 30 hours per week for 9 or more months of the year for the Teachers and State Employees Retirement System (TSERS) and 1,000 hours per year for the Local Governmental Employees Retirement System (LGERS). The bill gained approval in the Senate Pensions, Retirement and Aging Committee this morning and next goes to the Senate Rules Committee.