Weekly Legislative Update - Thursday, April 13, 2017

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Legislative Update

April 13, 2017 

The Week In Review

NCGA 2017

Even though this was a short week at the General Assembly, actions were taken on many items relevant to education.  This week’s Senate Education/Higher Education Committee meeting revealed new efforts by legislators to address teacher retention by proposing greater incentives for STEM and Special Education teachers, as well as educators teaching in low-performing schools.  Senators on this committee also backed a plan to establish the Future Teachers of North Carolina program to help expose high school students to more information about the teaching profession.  As always, that was far from the only news on education in Raleigh.

Relevant Bills with Action

HB 265, 293, and 520:  Local School Board Election Bills

Three bills changing the election process for local school boards saw action this week. House Bills 265, 293, and 520 seek to change some local school board elections from nonpartisan to partisan, along with other changes.  Beaufort, Dare, Haywood, Hyde, Madison, Onslow, Pender, Swain, Union, and Yancey counties are included in the three bills. All three have passed from the House to the Senate.

HB 149:  Students W/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

This bill aims to provide teachers with extra resources to help students who have dyslexia and dyscalculia. The State Board of Education would be required to provide professional development to teachers, educating them on the signs of dyslexia and dyscalculia. Additionally, the State Board of Education would be required to provide electronic information to parents on the signs of dyslexia and dyscalculia and how to seek help for their child. HB 149 passed the House Tuesday and will now head to the Senate.

Fruits and Vegetables

HB 299:  State Health Plan Administrative Changes.-AB

The Senate version of this bill (SB 218) was covered in last week’s Legislative Update (link).  The House version of the bill passed the House Committee on Insurance on Tuesday and will next be heard in the House State Personnel Committee.

HB 360:  Harnett Co. Schools/Exam Window

Under HB 360, Harnett County Schools would have an extended window of time to administer exams at the end of the semester. Current legislation states that all final exams must be given within the last five days of the semester. HB 360 would expand that window to seven days for Harnett County. Students with individualized education programs can be given exceptions. Final exams for courses set by a national or international curriculum -- such as AP or IB courses -- may also be exempted.  Having passed the House, HB 360 now awaits action by the Senate Rules Committee.

NC Elementary Student taking a test

HB 532:  Modify UNC Laboratory Schools 

In 2016, the General Assembly created the UNC Laboratory Schools Program (lab schools), wherein UNC constituent institutions partner with LEAs with 25% or higher low-performing schools to provide an “enhanced education program” for students living in those LEAs, as well as training and experience for teachers and administrators in high-needs schools.  HB 532 expands the number of partner universities from eight to nine (or more), while establishing a subcommittee of the UNC Board of Governors specifically dealing with lab schools.  It also provides a waiver process for LEAs that do not meet the 25% low-performing threshold if the LEA can demonstrate that the lab school would primarily serve students who did not meet growth.  More details can be found in the bill summary.  House Bill 532 passed both the House Education – Universities Committee and the full House on Tuesday.  It now heads to the Senate.


SB 78:  Cost to Comply/Fed Ed Funds/PED Study 

SB 78 passed the Senate this week. Under this legislation, a study would be conducted to determine the cost of abiding by federal education guidelines in relation to how much federal money is received. More information about the bill can be found in last week’s Legislative Update (link).  SB 78 has now been referred to the House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations.

SB 312:  Surplus Computers for Low-Income Students 

Under this bill, the State Surplus Property Agency would give computers to nonprofits to be refurbished and then distributed to low-income families with children in school. The bill passed the Senate this week after an amendment was adopted that includes the criteria for selecting the nonprofits, as well as a clause that ensures that the computers reach families in need in all regions of the state.  The bill is now in the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.

NC Students in a Digital Learning Environment

SB 421:  Use of Career & Technical Funds/Onslow County

SB 421 authorizes Onslow County to utilize $5 million of last year’s appropriation, originally intended for the purchase and upgrade of education center equipment, for the building of a new education center.  Under this legislation, those funds would not revert.  The bill moved quickly this week, clearing the Senate Rules committee and the full Senate Monday.  It is now awaiting action in the House.

NC Elementary Classroom

SB 447:  Turning TAs into Teachers

This measure, passed by the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, would expand the Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement Pilot Program.  This program, currently operating in Anson, Franklin, Moore, Richmond, and Scotland county LEAs, would be expanded, beginning in the 2017-18 school year, to include Bertie, Duplin, Edenton-Chowan, Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash-Rocky Mount, Northampton, Tyrrell, Vance, and Washington LEAs.  It also clarifies that teacher assistants who student teach in the same LEA may continue to receive their regular salary and benefits.  The bill’s next stop is the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee.

SB 448:  Professors in the Classroom 

Senate Bill 448 allows local school districts to contract with faculty members at institutions of higher education to serve as adjunct instructors of core subjects in grades K-12.  Preservice training conducted by an LEA or educator preparation program is required for adjunct instructors who do not have a teaching license.  Adjunct instructors would be able to serve in this role for no more than 20 hours a week or for no more than a year on a full-time basis.  The bill passed the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, and is now awaiting action by the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations.

SB 462:  UNC/UTEACH Program 

The UTEACH program, originally developed at the University of Texas at Austin, is a teacher education program designed to attract STEM teachers to secondary classrooms.  Per the bill, UTEACH is a “course of study that combines the requirements for rigorous STEM degrees and for secondary teaching certification without adding time or cost to four-year degrees.”  Senate Bill 462 directs the University of North Carolina System President (or designee) and Board of Governors to study the UTEACH program and determine the feasibility of implementing such a program in its system.  It passed the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and will now proceed to the Senate Committee on Rules and Operations.

STEM Education

SB 517:  North Carolina New Teacher Support Act 

Under this legislation, teachers who are highly-qualified graduates of teacher education programs in North Carolina would be incentivized for teaching in low-performing schools or in STEM and special education.  Highly-qualified graduates (defined as graduating from an NC-based teacher education program with a 3.75 GPA or higher and a score of 48 or higher on the edTPA assessment, or an equivalent score on a comparable assessment) would be paid at the 3-year experience level if they teach in a low-performing school and at the 2-year level if they teach STEM or special education.  SB 517 also allocates funds to expand the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program, including new sites at Appalachian State University and UNC-Wilmington.  It also directs the State Board of Education to reimburse initial licensure fees for graduates of approved North Carolina teacher education programs.  The bill passed the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, and will next be heard by the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget.


SB 598:  Future Teachers of North Carolina 

Senate Bill 598 establishes the Future Teachers of North Carolina (FTNC) program for high school students interested in pursuing a career in teaching.  Administered by the University of North Carolina General Administration, FTNC would be a collaborative effort among UNC constituent institutions to develop courses to be taught in high schools to prospective future teachers.  These courses, per the bill, shall “include both content on pedagogy and the profession of teaching and field experiences for high school students.”  Students receiving a “B” or higher in an FTNC course will receive dual credit from their partner UNC constituent institution and their high school.  Senate Bill 598 was approved by the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee on Tuesday, and now heads to the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget.

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

Legislative Calendar


Monday, April 17, 2017

12:00 PM Session Convenes (House)   House Audio

  4:30 PM Session Convenes (SenateSenate Audio

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

10:00 AM | 544 LOB State and Local Government II (House)

          County Comm. Role in School Bldg Acquisition. (H482)

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

          Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel. (S316)

          Notice of Medicaid SPA Submissions. (S368)

          Family/Child Protection & Accountability Act. (S594)

12:00 PM | 544 LOB Education/Higher Education (Senate)

          ApprenticeshipNC. (S597)

          Modify UNC Laboratory Schools. (S461)

          Teachers/Isolated K-12 Schools. (S15)

  1:00 PM | 544 LOB Finance (Senate)

          Accountability for Taxpayer Investment Board. (S138)

          Increase Teacher Supplement/Electronic Notice. (S343)  

  2:00 PM | 1228/1327 LB Education - Community Colleges (House)

          High Achieving Tuition Scholarships. (H132)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

  9:00 AM | 643 LOB Education - K-12 (House)

          Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel. (H285)

          Office of Early Childhood Education. (H556)

          Private Alternative Teacher Preparation. (H634)

          Supt. Public Instruction Support Staff. (H838)

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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