House Approves Time-Sensitive Compromise On Teacher Licensure Changes In Revised SB 219
House and Senate negotiators today reached an agreement on what changes to teacher licensure should be included in Senate Bill 219, and the full House voted 107-1 to approve the compromise legislation. If the full Senate follows suit in its floor session Monday night 6/24 as hoped, the time-sensitive measure could soon be on its way to Governor Roy Cooper.
The new SB 219, sponsored by Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond), would provide much-needed help to districts to recruit and retain needed teachers by allowing proven educators to fill teacher vacancies while pursuing their continuing professional licenses (CPL).
As with earlier versions of the bill, it would create a new “limited teaching license” for individuals who were issued an initial professional license (IPL) but do not meet the criteria for a continuing professional license (CPL). A change in the version adopted today by the House creates a second tier of the new limited license by rolling in the previously proposed “transitional license,” which would allow out-of-state applicants to teach in NC under a limited license while pursuing a CPL.
This three-year, nonrenewable limited license would have to be requested by the local board of education on behalf of either a currently employed IPL teacher or an out-of-state teacher with at least 3 years of experience who does not qualify for an immediate CPL. Also notably, and upon requests from the N.C. Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the latest version of S219 does not include previous restrictions that would have precluded urban LEAs from using the new limited license to retain and employ teachers, meaning it now will be a new tool for all LEAs statewide if signed into law.
The bill requires local boards of education to determine the experience level for out-of-state teachers they employ on the new limited license, so that they may be appropriately paid on the State salary schedule.
In addition, the bill would allow LEAs to request a 3-year limited license for a military spouse who holds a current teaching license in another state.
The bill also does the following:
- Changes the timeline from 2 years to 3 years for a CPL applicant to pass required tests.
- 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.
- 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.
House Education Committee Co-Chair, Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), presented the compromise version of SB 219 on the House floor today and urged his colleagues to approve it. He said the measure is “time-sensitive” and will “help our LEAs with some of the contracts and hiring decisions they have to make before June 30th.”
NCASA appreciates all lawmakers who have worked to expedite this important legislation helping to address the teacher shortage across the state, and we will continue our efforts to ensure its passage by the Senate on Monday and getting it signed into law by the Governor as quickly as possible thereafter.