Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, May 5, 2017

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Legislative Update

May 5, 2017      



The Week In Review

2017 UNC Coach Williams

While last week at the General Assembly saw legislators working fervently to advance their bills before the crucial crossover deadline, this week was much more subdued.  The hectic committee schedule of the last several weeks gave way to a much lighter itinerary, with only one committee meeting and few sessions. Moving forward, we hope to see a Senate budget released next week.


The biggest event came on Wednesday when the General Assembly met in joint session to honor and congratulate the UNC-Chapel Hill Men’s Basketball team on their victory in the 2017 NCAA National Championship.  Head Coach Roy Williams addressed the gathered lawmakers, emphasizing the importance of education to the future of our state.

State Board of Education

The list below includes the education bills covered during the Legislative Update Agenda Item of the May 4, 2017 State Board of Education meeting. The bills are ordered in alignment with the State Board of Education 2017 Legislative Agenda Action Items. See this link for a complete list of bills impacting K-12 education.

Action Item #1.  Paying our Talented Team: 

Teacher pay | Principal/Assistant Principal pay | Master’s and Doctoral pay | Differentiated pay


S169  Teacher Excellence Bonus Expansion                        

  • Provides for teaching excellence bonuses for certain teachers who would have received a bonus but didn’t for a variety of technical reasons.  LEAs will be reimbursed if they already paid these out.


Action Item #2.  Enhancing the Skills of the Team

Principal Preparation | Professional Development/Educator Effectiveness | Invest in students’ 

behavioral support services


S599  Excellent Educators for Every Classroom                  

  • Establishes the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission to establish high standards for educators.  Recommendations will be submitted by the Commission to the SBE who may adopt or reject for the Commission to resubmit revised standards.
  • Authorizes the expansion of educator preparation programs and creates a system that holds all programs accountable, to reorganize and clarify the educator licensure process, and to ensure availability of information on teacher vacancies occurring in NC public schools.
  • Replaces Lateral Entry with Residency Licensure which requires a Bachelor’s degree for entry to educator prep programs and requires training on the front-end of entry for professional hires vs. over 3-year timeframe.  Currently 8000 Lateral Entry teachers in NC, including Troops to Teachers. 

H634  Private Alternative Teacher Preparation                      

  • Directs SBE to approve private alternative teacher prep programs for lateral entry. Currently only State Board of Community Colleges and NC Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc. are authorized to provide lateral entry program of study.

H90    Eliminate NC Final Exam                                                  

  • Eliminates use of the NC Final Exam and analysis of student work to assess teacher performance and professional growth as part of the North Carolina Teacher Evaluation System.
  • Eliminate requirements related to student growth expectations in qualifying teachers to serve as mentors and clinical educators.

H235  Teacher Mentor Qualifications                                       

  • Changes the minimum rating of mentor teachers from "accomplished" to "proficient".
  • Accomplished: teacher exceeded basic competence on standards of performance most of the time.
  • Proficient: teacher demonstrated basic competence on standards of performance.

H339/S252  North Carolina Teaching Fellows                       

  • Re-establishes NC Teaching Fellows Program to provide forgivable loans to students preparing to be licensed teachers in STEM or special education.  Scholarship loan program to attract top students into STEM and special education fields at low-performing schools.

S461/H532  Modify UNC Laboratory Schools    

  • Modify the governance and operation of UNC Laboratory Schools. 
  • Increases the # of lab schools from 8 to 9 or more. 
  • Establishes a Board of Governors subcommittee on LAB Schools.


Action Item #3.  Investing in what Works

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model | Pre-K & Early Childhood Education |

Calendar flexibility | Medicaid reform | Compulsory School Age


H285  Suicide Prevention/Awareness School Personnel       

  • Provide for a training program on youth suicide awareness and prevention and a risk referral protocol for school personnel. 2 hours of training every 2 years.  Alignment on the schedule with our current SBE policy on mental health training may be appropriate.

H389  School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program                     

  • Direct the SBE to establish a School Calendar Flexibility Pilot Program to determine the impact of school calendar flexibility for opening and closing dates on student achievement and summer internships and to identify and quantify the communities that can support local school calendar control and those that cannot.  Data from Pilot will be used to determine any negative impact on Commerce travel and tourism in the area.

H556  Study Early Childhood Education                                   

  • Study bill:  Establish the Office of Early Childhood Education housed administratively in DPI but it would exercise its powers independently of DPI.  

H779  Charter School Changes                                                  

  • Allows 30% enrollment growth without material revision of the charter.  Does not apply to low-performing Charter schools.

H800  Various Changes to Charter School Laws                     

  • Priority enrollment for employees of charter partners.

H806  Student Notice/Charter School Closure/Restructuring 

  • Require a student and family fair notice and an impact statement prior to the closing or restructuring of a charter school.


Action Item #4.  Adding more Talented Members to the Team

Class size allotments/budget provision | Mentor teachers | Teacher Assistants & Instructional    

Support Personnel | School Nurses/Child and Family Support Teams | Troops to Teachers


H13  Class Size Requirement Changes                                                  

  • Phase in class size requirements, with statutory requirements becoming effective for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Requiring biannual reports on teacher allocation and class size.   
  • Requiring notice to Joint Leg. Commission on Gov Ops on class size waivers granted by SBE.  
  • Requiring timely corrective action by local boards when waivers for class size are not granted.
  • Requiring local superintendents to submit sworn affidavits of compliance with the statute with all quarterly reports.
  • Lawmakers have pledged to work on funding issues surrounding teachers in special subjects such as art, music, drama and P.E. going forward.

H339/ S252 North Carolina Teaching Fellows  /  Covered under Action Item #2

  • Scholarship loan program to attract top students into STEM and special education fields at low-performing schools.


Program Evaluation Division’s study to analyze the need for school nurses and how school nurses are funded.  DPI and DHHS participated and are in agreement mainly with recommendations for the number of nurses and a consolidated entity to oversee & fully leverage Medicaid.



Action Item #5.  Enhancing the Classroom Experience

Public School Capital Infrastructure | District & School Transformation | Instructional Supplies |

Students with Special Needs | CTE & CIHS | NC Check-Ins | Child Nutrition


H149  Students w/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia (dis cal kew lia)      

  • Require SBE and local boards of education to develop tools to ensure identification and intervention of students with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Local boards to review tools and screening instruments for specific disabilities and determine if additional tools are needed.

S603  Exceptional Education for Exceptional Children               

  • Establish the North Carolina Personal Education Savings Accounts Program to provide the option for a parent to better meet the individual educational needs of the parent's eligible child.   Scholarships awarded can be used for eligible expenses such as tuition, textbooks, etc. 

H450  Future Ready Student Act of 2017                                       

  • Directs LEAs to provide at least 2 work-based learning opportunities related to career and technical education for students.  Focus is on encouraging high school students to participate in opportunities such as apprenticeships and internships.

H495  Increase Textbook Funds & Spending Flex                         

  • Increase funding for textbooks and digital instructional resources, instructional supplies, and equipment, and to allow LEAs the flexibility to spend these funds on the resources they determine are most important. 
  • $35M for 2017-18 and $35M for 2018-2019

H898  Digital Learning Plan/Programs/Funds                                

  • Provide for additional goals for the implementation of the digital learning plan to support NC public schools and to direct that certain funds be used for this purpose.

S542/H866  Public School Bonding Act of 2017                

  • Statewide ballot referendum of $1.9 billion for public schools.

H600 School Construction Flexibility                                            

  • Allows LEAs greater flexibility to enter long-term lease agreements for the construction of school facilities.


Action Item #6.  Supporting for Results:

A-F School Performance Grades (ESSA) | DPI Expansion | Teacher Licensure |

Criminal Background Checks


H117  Protect Students in Schools                                                

  • Require criminal background checks for public school personnel employment; provide for written notice prior to suspending without pay a teacher who is incarcerated or in custody; and require notification to SBE relevant criminal history related to an educator's resignation.
  • Chairman Cobey sent letter to Senate and House Chairs on April 4, 2017 in support of background checks to include SBE centralized oversight of fingerprinting.  Identified funding needed:  $250K NR funds and $140K recurring.  Fingerprinting is not required in the bill.

H826  Modify Low-Performing School Definition                          

  • Modify the definition of low-performing schools to be those schools that receive a school performance grade of D or F and a school growth score of "not met expected growth".

H87   ESSA Plan Submission                                                          

  • Directs SBE & DPI to wait until the last permissible week to submit our ESSA state plan to USED.

H322  School Performance Grades                                                

  • Changes formula to 50/50 growth/achievement.

H458  School Annual Report Card                                                 

  • Schools would receive separate grades for achievement and growth.

Team Behind the Scene - State Board of Education Legislative Team

Last week, we had the pleasure of introducing you to our new Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Initiatives, Cecilia Holden.  This week, we would like to introduce you to the other members of our legislative team at the State Board of Education, who work hard to support Cecilia’s efforts at the General Assembly and to bring you the weekly Legislative Update during session. 

2017 SBE Leg Team

                      Cecilia K. Holden                         Robb Jansen                         Anne R. Murtha

              Director of Legislative Affairs    Policy Development Analyst        Legislative Specialist

                    and Special Initiatives


As many of you are aware, legislative sessions are often very fast-paced and the amount of legislation being considered is voluminous.  The work of our legislative team helps keep education professionals apprised of legislative goings-on, while helping Cecilia represent the interests of the public schools before the General Assembly.  We are grateful for all the work they do.

DPI Logo

See this link for a complete list of bills impacting K-12 education.

Legislative Calendar

Monday, May 08, 2017  

  3:00 PM Session Convenes (House)   House Audio 

  4:00 PM Session Convenes (SenateSenate Audio

North Carolina General Assembly 



    • Martez Hill  –  Executive Director, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3404
    • Cecilia Holden  –  Legislative Director, State Board of Education  |  919-807-4035
    • Robb Jansen  –  Policy Development Analyst, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3407
    • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist, State Board of Education  |  919-807-3403

    To view previous 2017 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

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