Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, March 17, 2017

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Legislative Update

March 17, 2017

The Week In Review

This week, the General Assembly took up several measures involving education.  From a proposal changing the way schools are graded, to one adjusting requirements for mentor teachers, legislators have shown a keen interest in bringing their ideas to the table.  As state lawmakers proceed with their work, we expect to continue seeing movement on bills that are important to North Carolina’s public schools.

NC Elementary Classroom

New Hires

State Superintendent Mark Johnson named Chloe Gossage to the position of Senior Legislative Director and Chief Budget Advisor.  Ms. Gossage brings six years of experience in the General Assembly’s non-partisan Fiscal Research Division and two years as policy director under Governor McCrory.


Dr. Eric Hall has been hired as the Superintendent of the Achievement School District (ASD).  Dr. Hall comes to the Department with over twenty years of educational experience, including with Communities in Schools of North Carolina and AMIKids.

Relevant Bills with Action

NC School Office

HB 135:  Technical Changes to Courses of Study Statute

Even though this bill is lengthy, it is simply a reorganization of current statute with no material changes to current law. HB 135 passed the House this week, and will now head to the Senate.

HB 235:  Teacher Mentor Qualifications

A study revealed that 41 schools in North Carolina did not have a qualified mentor teacher available. There are also shortages of qualified mentor teachers in other schools across the state.  To address this problem, HB 235 allows teachers rated as “proficient” to serve as mentor teachers, and gives principals the flexibility to use teachers from other schools as mentor teachers in their school. The House voted to approve the bill on Thursday, it now proceeds to the Senate.

math teachers

HB 322:  School Performance Grades

This bill increases the weight of the school growth score in calculating school performance scores. Currently, 80% of a school’s performance score is derived from its school achievement score and 20% from its school growth score.  This bill would establish that each of those criteria count toward 50% of the school performance score.  On Wednesday, the House passed HB 322 and it now goes to the Senate.


STEM Education

HB 339 | SB 252:  North Carolina Teaching Fellows

Legislation was filed in both the House and Senate to establish a new Teaching Fellows program with a focus on attracting STEM and special education teachers to North Carolina.  The new program would be governed by a North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission, established in this bill.  The program would begin at five teacher education programs (yet to be determined) around the state, and would allow individuals with college credit and college degrees to apply for the forgivable loan.  Like the former Teaching Fellows program, Fellows will repay their loans through service in North Carolina public schools.  One year of funding will be repaid per year of service in a low-performing school, whereas one year of funding will be repaid for every two years of service in other schools. Neither the House nor Senate version of this bill have been heard by a committee, and therefore many changes are possible as these bills move forward.


SB 55:  School Bus Cameras/Civil Penalties

School bus drivers and others have expressed concern about drivers illegally passing school buses while they are stopped.  This, of course, presents a hazard for children getting on and off the bus.  As covered in prior Legislative Updates, this bill will provide local school districts with the option of placing cameras on school buses to record a passing driver’s face and license plate.  It also specifies that these photos can be used for the criminal prosecution of these drivers.  SB 55 is scheduled on the Senate calendar for consideration on Tuesday.

School Bus

SB 61:  Limited License/Driving to School Past 9:00

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard from an expert during a discussion-only hearing on SB 61.  This bill would allow an exemption for drivers under 18 years of age who can only drive before 9:00 pm to allow them to drive back and forth to school activities after 9:00 pm.  Dr. Robert Foss, an expert in the study of young drivers, lauded the great success of the graduated licensing system in reducing teen crashes and highway deaths, and advised committee members to proceed with caution when making changes.  The committee will vote on this bill at a time yet to be determined.

DPI Logo

See this link for a complete list of bills impacting education.

Legislative Calendar

Monday, March 20, 2017

4:00 PM Session Convenes - Senate Calendar (Senate Audio)

7:00 PM Session Convenes - House Calendar  (House Audio


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

  8:30 AM | 423 LOB Appropriations, Education (Joint) (House)

10:00 AM | 643 LOB Education - K-12 (House)

             Eliminate NC Final Exam. (H90)
             Modify Educator Licensure Requirements. (H155)
             DoDEA/Clinical Educators for Student Teaching. (H302)

  1:00 PM | 421 LOB Judiciary II (House)

             Registration Discretionary for Sexual Battery. (H123)
             Revise Gang Laws. (H138)


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

12:00 PM | 415 LOB Pensions and Retirement (House)

            Charter School TSERS Election. (H159)
            Charter Schools in State Health Plan. (H273) 

North Carolina General Assembly 



  • Martez Hill  –  Executive Director, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3404
  • Robb Jansen  –  Policy Analyst & Legislative Liaison, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3407
  • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3403
  • Sarah Sturdivant  –  Legislative Intern, State Board of Education

To view previous 2017 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.