Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, June 2, 2017

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Legislative Update

June 2, 2017



The Week In Review

House Session 2017

2017 Budget


Budget season continues with the House unveiling the details of its $22.9 billion proposal.  House budget writers have released their plan in a piecemeal fashion, with individual sections of the budget released to individual appropriations subcommittees last week.  This process culminated with the House Appropriations Committee meeting on Wednesday.  This meeting -- when representatives had their first opportunity to amend the budget bill -- helped provide insight into the House’s spending plan.


The House sets aside $181 million for teacher pay increases, compared to $150 million for the Senate. On average, teachers will receive a 3.3% raise with the House budget, and a 3.7% raise in the Senate budget. The House budget also includes higher pay raises for experienced teachers than the Senate and Gubernatorial plans, and also adds a $2,500 signing bonus for teachers with 27+ years’ experience who agree to a two-year contract.


A comparison chart of the Governor, House, and Senate budgets is available via DPI’s Financial and Business Services Office here.


The House budget takes a different approach from the Senate’s in a few key areas: 


  • Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA):  The House budget plan includes a 1.6% COLA for retirees.
  • Teacher Assistants:  House budget authors rejected the “Turn TAs into Teachers” program, while the Senate’s plan expands it.  The program provides tuition assistance for teacher assistants who aspire to become licensed teachers.
  • Retirement:  The House adds $29.9 million in nonrecurring funds and $22.7 million in recurring funds for contributions to LEA employee retirement benefits.
  • Teaching Fellows:  The House and Senate budgets both fund a reprise of the NC Teaching Fellows Program, which helps alleviate teaching shortages by recruiting highly-qualified students to the profession.  The new program differs from the old in several key ways, one of which is the new focus on STEM and special education.  Both chambers fund the first year of the program through a reduction to the NC Education Endowment Fund of $450,000, and the second year through a $6 million appropriation.
  • Business Systems:  The Senate and House took different approaches to upgrading public schools’ business systems across the state.  While the Senate allots $29.3 million in nonrecurring funds to the project over the biennium, the House sets aside $31.7 million in recurring dollars.
  • Education Organizations:  The House budget funds Muddy Sneakers, Eastern NC STEM, and the Triangle Literacy Council at a cost of around $1.5 million (collectively).  The Senate does not include these provisions.
  • Textbook and Digital Materials: The Senate allots an additional $1.1 million in nonrecurring funds and the House allots an additional $351,000 in nonrecurring funds this fiscal year for textbooks and digital materials.
  • Driver’s Education Reimbursement: The Senate budget allots $25.8 million in recurring funds to reimburse eligible NC students for the cost of a public or private driver’s education course, which is required to apply for a learner’s permit.
  • Opportunity Scholarships evaluation:  The House budget calls for an evaluation of the Opportunity Scholarships program, setting aside $587,207 in nonrecurring funds for that purpose.
  • Governor’s School:  The Senate retools Governor’s School into the Legislative School for Leadership and Public Service, while the House budget maintains Governor’s School in its current form.
  • Future Teachers of NC Program: The Senate budget allots $278,500 in recurring funds to establish the Future Teachers of North Carolina (FTNC) program, which will allow high schools to apply to work with a local college or university to offer FTNC courses to academically gifted high school students. FTNC courses would include content on pedagogy and the profession of teaching, as well as field experiences for high school students.
  • Coding:  The House and Senate both allocate funds to create a Coding and Mobile Application Grant program.  The program, to be administered by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), receives $400,000 in recurring funds in FY 2017-18 and $800,000 in recurring funds in FY 2018-19 under both chambers’ plans.  
  • Advanced Teaching Roles:  The House, like the Governor, provides additional funds for the advanced teaching roles pilot program, established in the FY 2016-17 budget to “[support] school district efforts to create the organizational structure and innovative compensation methods that would allow classroom teachers to take on advanced teaching roles.”  The House allots $1 million in recurring funds in FY 2017-18 and 2018-19, as well as around $7.2 million in nonrecurring funds for the aforementioned fiscal years.
  • Charter Transportation Grants:  The House budget creates a pilot program to reimburse 65% of transportation expenses incurred by charter schools that have at least 50% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Around 17 charter schools are expected to qualify to receive funds through the program.
  • Central Offices:  The Senate’s proposal reduces funding for LEA central offices by $10 million in FY 2017-18 and $15 million in FY 2018-19, while the House does so by $5 million in FY 2017-18 and $10 million in FY 2018-19.
  • Data Management:  House and Senate require DPI to use up to $200,000 each fiscal year of the 2017-2019 fiscal biennium to support the purchase of a web-based electronic records and data reporting management system to automate and streamline reporting and accountability requirements to assist the Office of Charter Schools in complying with the annual reporting obligations of charter schools.
  • DPI: The House budget does not include the Senate’s proposal to reduce DPI’s funding by 25%.
  • Teacher Compensation: While both the Senate and House budgets provide an increase to the base teacher pay schedule, the House provides increases to teachers of all experience levels, while the Senate provides increases to teachers with up to twenty-five years of experience.  The chart below includes the percentage teacher base salary increases for the next fiscal year, including experience-based raises. 

2017 Teacher Salary Chart 6.2.17

NC State Board of Education Seal

Legislative Update to the State Board of Education


Cecilia Holden, the State Board of Education’s Legislative Director, offered a comprehensive legislative update to the Board at Thursday’s Board Meeting. The update centered around the education-related components of the proposed Senate and House budgets, but other legislation was discussed. You can access a summary of Ms. Holden’s update here.

Graduation Cap and Diploma

Every Student Succeeds Act Planning Session (ESSA)


On Tuesday, the North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) held a Planning and Work Session to gather feedback on the state’s draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. The SBE hosted groups to include:

  • Business and Community Leaders
  • Charter Schools
  • Early Childhood Educators
  • Institutions of Higher Learning/Community Colleges
  • Local Boards of Education
  • Principals
  • Teachers


While each group of stakeholders offered feedback on the components of the ESSA plan that most affects their group, all groups discussed the Accountability and Assessment Model Proposal from North Carolina’s Local Education Agency (LEA) Superintendents.


The feedback offered during Tuesday’s session will be used to improve the latest draft of North Carolina’s ESSA plan, which will be released by mid-June. The SBE and Department of Public Instruction are committed to ensuring compliance with ESSA and maximizing the benefits of this legislation for all stakeholders. Educators, parents, students, and other stakeholders may read the State’s most recent ESSA plan here, and may offer comment through the Let’s Talk section of the NCDPI website.


ESSA Plan Timeline:


  • mid-June 2017- An updated draft of North Carolina’s ESSA plan will be released.


  • mid-June to mid-July 2017- Public comments on North Carolina’s updated ESSA plan will be collected on the Let’s Talk section of the NCDPI website.


  • mid-July to mid-August 2017- Governor Cooper will review the latest draft of the State’s ESSA plan and approve it or suggest changes.


  • mid-August to mid-September 2017- The SBE will perform a final review of the ESSA plan and approve it at the SBE’s September meeting.


  • September 18, 2017- The final ESSA plan is due to be submitted to the US Department of Education.


Please note that these dates are subject to change based on the timeline of the Governor’s approval of the ESSA plan and pending legislation.

Relevant Bills with Action

Career and Technical Education - CTE

HB746 - Omnibus Gun Changes

HB 746 combines an array of changes to statewide handgun regulations. In its current version, the bill will direct the State Board of Education to develop the content of two high school elective courses- a Wildlife Conservation course and a Firearm Safety Course-that can be offered at North Carolina high schools. It passed House Finance this week and is scheduled for debate on the House floor.

DPI Logo

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

Legislative Calendar

Monday, June 5, 2017

  2:00 PM Session Convenes (SenateSenate Audio 

  3:00 PM Session Convenes (House)   House Audio 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

  1:00 PM | 544 LOB  Finance (Senate)

          Excellent Educators for Every Classroom. (S599)


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

10:30 AM | Rep. David Lewis - Press Conference | Press Room LB  

North Carolina General Assembly 



    • Martez Hill  –  Executive Director  |  919-807-3404
    • Cecilia Holden  –  Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Initiatives  |  919-807-4035
    • Robb Jansen  –  Policy Development Analyst  |  919-807-3407
    • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist  |  919-807-3403
    • Dylan Blackburn – Legislative Intern

    To view previous 2017 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

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