Weekly Legislative Update - Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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Legislative Update

April 4, 2017

The Week In Review

As bill filing wraps up in the General Assembly, legislators are working rapidly to submit their proposals before the looming deadline.  As a result, a plethora of bills have been introduced in the last few days, many of which deal with matters of importance to our public schools. Additionally, as the Senate extended their filing deadline until today, many more bills have been filed.


Terra Tunes

The Department of Public Instruction was treated to a special musical performance on Thursday by the Terra Tunes Children’s Choir from Tar River Elementary School in Granville County.  These talented students, led by music teacher Angela Mangum, performed multiple musical pieces at DPI before doing the same at the General Assembly.  Their work is commendable, and we are very happy that they took the time to share their talents with us.

Relevant Bills with Action

SB 8: Ease Occ. Lic. Burdens on Military Families

This bill would allow military spouses to continue in their licensed occupation upon arriving in North Carolina if they are licensed in another state with similar licensure requirements.  They would have up to one year to satisfy the requirements for North Carolina licensure in their field, and would be able to practice their occupation in North Carolina during that time.  This bill was heard and approved by the House Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday.  Its next stop is the House Finance Committee.

HB 159: Charter Schools TSERS Election

As covered in last week’s Update, HB 159 proposes that charter schools that wish to participate in the NC Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System (TSERS) may do so within two years of opening. Current statute only allows for one year.  After receiving a technical amendment to correct a grammatical error, HB 159 passed the House unanimously and will now go to the Senate.

HB 302: DoDEA/Clinical Educators for Student Teaching

Heard in Thursday’s House Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee, this bill creates a way for teacher education programs to allow their students to complete their student teaching requirement in Department of Defense schools.  The committee approved the measure, and it will next be heard by the House.

math teachers


HB 336: Ltd. License/Drive to School Event Past 9:00

This bill, in a similar vein to SB 61, would allow teen drivers with Limited Provisional Licenses to drive to and from school activities after 9:00pm.  After a brief debate, House Transportation Committee members approved this proposal, and it will now be heard by the House Education K-12 Committee.

HB 339: NC Teaching Fellows

Members from both chambers of the General Assembly have introduced a new version of the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program.  The new program is focused on attracting talented North Carolinians to teach in STEM and special education classrooms. Fellows are also encouraged to teach in schools designated as low-performing.  The House version of the bill has 70 co-sponsors, including legislators from across the political spectrum, indicating the measure’s broad bipartisan support.  On Tuesday, the House Education K-12 Committee approved HB 339, and it will now proceed to the House Appropriations Committee.  The Senate version of the bill, SB 252, was recently referred to the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee, implying that action on the Senate version could be forthcoming.

STEM Education

HB 375: School Cal. Flex./CC

On Tuesday, HB 375 received a favorable report from the House Committee on Education K-12. This bill would allow for LEAs to align their school calendar start dates with their local community college. Some LEAs have expressed a desire to change their calendars so that students complete semester exams before the winter break. It also would allow community college-bound students to begin courses soon after graduation as opposed to having to wait until the next semester begins. The bill allows LEAs to begin on or after August 15. All of the 58 community colleges, except two, start on or before this date. This bill is on the House calendar for April 5.

HB 389: School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program

This bill proposes a pilot program that would offer insight into the effects of calendar flexibility on student performance. The counties chosen for the program have diverse geographic, economic and social demographics. These counties would have the ability to choose their start date as long as it is no earlier than the Monday closest to August 11. The pilot would look into the effect calendar flexibility has on student performance as opposed to its economic implications, which past studies have investigated. Passed by the House Education K-12 Committee on Tuesday, the bill now moves to the House Committee on Commerce and Job Development.   

Career and Technical Education - CTE

HB 450: Future Ready Student Act of 2017

The Future Ready Student Act was approved by the House Committee on Education K-12 this past Tuesday. This act is in response to the state’s need for skilled workers ready to fill technical occupations. Local boards of education would be required to offer at least two work-based opportunities through their career and technical education programs. The act would also implement a career awareness program for fifth-grade students so that they may be better informed when choosing classes for middle school.

HB 458: School Annual Report Card

HB 458 proposes a change to the current school performance grading system. The new system would assign schools two grades: one based on achievement and one based on growth. The bill also asks the State Board of Education to modify the school performance assessment to align with the Every Student Succeeds Act. Specific grading criteria can be found within the text of the bill. This bill successfully passed the House and has moved to the Senate.

North Carolina School Report Cards

HB 265 and HB 293: School Board Election Changes

This session, local bills have been filed to change local board of education elections in some LEAs to partisan contests.  Supporters of these bills say that providing candidates’ party affiliation on the ballot will give more information to voters, allowing them to make informed decisions. However, those who oppose these bills believe that they will increase the political nature of these elections, making them more contentious. On Wednesday, the House Committee on State and Local Government approved measures that would bring partisan school board elections to Beaufort, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender, Swain, and Yancey counties. These bills will next be heard by the House Committee on Elections and Ethics Law.

DPI Logo

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

Legislative Calendar

Monday, April 03, 2017

1:30 PM Session Convenes (Senate)     Senate Audio

7:00 PM Session Convenes (House)      House Audio

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

10:30 AM | 643 LOB Education - K-12 (House)

          Protect Students in Schools. (H117)

          Students W/Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. (H149)
          High Achieving Tuition Scholarships. (H132)
11:30 AM | 643 LOB Transportation (House)

          Driver Instruction/Law Enforcement Stops. (H21)

  1:00 PM | 1228LB Education - Community Colleges (House)

          Future Ready Student Act of 2017. (H450)


Wednesday, April 05, 2017

10:00 AM | LOB 544 Commerce and Job Development (House)

          School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program. (H389)

10:00 AM | 643 LOB Health Care (Senate)

          State Health Plan Administrative Changes. - AB (S218)

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

          Retirement Systems 2% COLAs/Funds. (H497)

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.


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