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Bill Action This Week

Elizabeth Yelverton | NCASA Legal Affairs & Policy Manager

 

This week was a slower week at the legislature, with the Senate taking the majority of the week off as budget negotiations reached an impasse. Lawmakers in the Senate did introduce their stopgap budget proposal, House Bill 961, in the Senate Appropriations/General Budget Committee on Monday, which would appropriate federal block grant funding while budget negotiations continue. Unlike the House stopgap budget bill, the Senate proposal does not include funds for school enrollment growth or any other K-12 items. Committee members unanimously passed H961 on Monday, and the bill is scheduled for another hearing in the Senate Rules Committee on Monday.

 

In addition to H961, the following other bills received legislative action this week:

 

S5: School Safety Omnibus

  • The bill clarifies school safety requirements, requires county boards of education to develop county state of emergency plans for all public school units in the county, and requires public schools to implement annual building vulnerability assessments. While a previous version of the bill removed a requirement creating school threat assessment teams, the bill was amended again in the House Rules Committee on Monday to require such threat assessment teams be established at each public school. The latest version of the bill also requires LEAs to require peer-to-peer support programs at all schools with grades six and higher. The bill also clarifies the powers of the Center for Safer Schools and requires certain training for school resource officers. 
  • STATUS: Placed on 7/22 House Calendar

 

S123: Geo. Iso. Sch./Transp. Eff. Buff./Currituck Cty. Sch.

  • Lawmakers removed the original contents of Senate Bill 123 concerning transfer of sick leave between a charter school and LEA and replaced the contents with a revision in the geographically isolated schools formula for Currituck County Schools. The revised bill also allows an increased transportation efficiency rating for Currituck County Schools, so that it may secure funding for additional school buses.
  • STATUS: Passed House Rules Comm. 7/16, Scheduled for 7/22 House Rules Comm.

 

S301: Regional School Modifications

  • The bill directs the participating unit to first adopt a resolution requesting withdrawal from the regional school and submit the resolution to the regional school Board of Directors (BoD). Following a public comment period, the BoD may conditionally approve the withdrawal resolution with a vote of at least two-thirds membership. Finally, the resolution is submitted to the State Board of Education for further public comment and possible approval of the withdrawal resolution by a majority vote.
  • STATUS: Passed House 7/16, Placed on 7/22 Senate Calendar

 

S354: Sam’s Law

  • Requires seizure action plans for students who have seizure disorders and training for school employees and volunteers on how to assist and provide medication to these students.
  • STATUS: Senate Failed to Concur 7/15

 

S366: 10th Grade/College Transfer Pathways

  • The most recent conference committee report expands student academic pathway options by permitting enrollment in college courses for certain freshmen and sophomore high school students. It also requires the State Board of Education to include work experience and industry recognized licenses/credentials, rather than just education attainment level, in creating the criteria for hiring adjunct career and technical education teachers.
  • STATUS: Reported by conference comm. 7/17, Placed on 7/22 Senate calendar

 

S438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019

  • This bill would make various changes to the NC Read to Achieve Program, focusing on improving individual student reading proficiency, creating uniform statewide plans for literacy improvement, and strengthening literacy training for teachers.
  • STATUS: Passed second reading in House 7/17, Placed on 7/22 House Calendar

 

S476: Compt.-Based Assess. & Mental Hlth./Teen Viol.

  • This bill would direct the State Board of Education (SBE) to make recommendations to the legislature on transitioning to a statewide competency-based assessment and teaching model before May 2020. The second portion of the bill would require public school units to: (i) adopt and implement a suicide risk referral protocol, (ii) adopt a mental health training program; and (iii) adopt a policy against teen dating and violence.
  • STATUS: Passed House 7/16, Placed on 7/22 Senate Calendar

 

S621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019

  • This bill eliminates North Carolina Final Exams (NCFEs); replaces end-of-grade assessments (EOGs) with a "through-grade assessment model" similar to the NC Check-Ins; replaces end-of-course assessments (EOCs) with a nationally recognized assessment of high school achievement, such as the ACT or SAT; requires reporting on and reductions in local testing; prohibits graduation projects as a condition of graduation; requires a review of the third grade reading end-of-grade test to ensure alignment with the Read to Achieve alternative assessment.
  • Senate members failed to concur with the latest House version during Monday’s floor vote, expressing concern that the changes made by the House would actually increase the amount of testing for students. The House and Senate have now appointed certain members to a conference committee in an attempt to work out their differences.
  • STATUS: Senate Conference Comm. appointed 7/18

 

Elizabeth Yelverton
eyelverton@ncasa.net
9197032487