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Teacher Licensure Changes Signed Into Law

Katherine Joyce | NCASA Executive Director

Just ahead of Independence Day celebrations, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 219 into law on July 1, making it easier for school districts to recruit and retain more of the licensed teachers they now are trying to place in classrooms for next school year. The bill was shepherded through the General Assembly by its primary sponsor, Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), and gained almost unanimous support in the N.C. House on June 20 and N.C. Senate on June 24 before moving to the Governor’s desk.

The new law does the following:

  • Changes the timeline from 2 years to 3 years for a continuing professional license (CPL) applicant to pass required tests, so long as the applicant attempts the tests in the first year of the initial professional license (IPL).
  • Provides a one-year extension through June 30, 2020 for elementary education (K-6) and special education teachers with IPLs set to expire June 30, 2019.
  • Creates a new limited teaching license for currently employed IPL teachers who do not meet the criteria for a CPL and for out-of-state teacher licensees who do not qualify immediately for a CPL; the employing LEA must request the limited license for either type of teacher they want to retain or employ.
  • Allows local boards of education to request the new limited license for a military spouse who holds a teaching license in another jurisdiction.
  • Authorizes local boards of education to determine experience credit for newly employed teachers to pay them at the commensurate level on the State salary schedule during the first year of employment.
  • Reduces the service requirement for a lifetime teaching license from 50 years to 30 years.
  • Allows the State Board of Education to adopt emergency rules to implement all these new licensure options “as soon as practicable, and no more than 10 days” from when the bill becomes law.

A more comprehensive summary of the law as prepared by legislative staff is available here.

During its monthly meeting on July 11, the State Board of Education (SBE) discussed emergency rules needed to implement the new licensure options provided by S219. SBE approved of the following recommendations made by DPI staff:

  • S219 requires DPI to notify teachers with initial professional licenses (IPL) if they are in noncompliance with IPL requirements. The State Board approved a rule defining this “notification” as sending an electronic message to the teacher’s email address on file with NCDPI.
  • The State Board approved a rule explaining that for a teacher to “fulfill the examination requirements” of 115C-270.15(e), the teacher must submit his/her materials, including exam results, to the NCDPI.
  • To enact 115C-270.25, which concerns out-of-state applicants seeking a continuing professional license, The State Board approved a rule defining the “evidence” of the teacher’s effectiveness in another state.

 

NCASA worked extensively on this measure with the bill sponsor, education committee chairs, and conference committee members who negotiated the final language that ultimately became law. We appreciate the bipartisan General Assembly support for this much-needed and time-sensitive legislation, as well as Governor Cooper’s agreement to sign it into law quickly to assist LEAs with hiring teachers for the 2019-20 school year.

Katherine Joyce
kjoyce@ncasa.net
919-828-1426