Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, June 23, 2017

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Legislative Update

June 23, 2017 


The Week In Review - Wrapping Up the Budget



As covered in this week's Special Legislative Update, a conference committee of members of both the House and Senate released the latest version of the state budget for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 biennium late Monday night. The latest version reflects compromises made between the differing House  and Senate versions of the budget. Summaries of every education-related line item expenditure in the latest budget version can be found in section F of the accompanying Money Report.

The compromise budget passed both the House and Senate, and has been sent to the Governor who now has 10 days to sign or veto it. If the Governor signs the bill, it will become the final state budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. If vetoed by the Governor, the bill will be sent back to the General Assembly for revision. If 3/5ths of both chambers vote in favor of the original bill, they may override the Governor's veto. If that occurs, the compromise budget will become the final budget for the 2017-2019 biennium.


While the main action of the General Assembly this week was the passage of the compromise budget, many other education-related bills have gained traction as the end of the 2017 Long Session of the General Assembly approaches.

Compromise Budget

The State Board of Education (SBE) highlighted "Paying our Talented Team" as a top 2017 legislative session priority. Under the compromise budget, teachers and instructional support paid pursuant to the teacher salary schedule who are currently employed and remain employed throughout the biennium will receive an average State-funded salary increase of 3.3% in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, and 9.6% in the 2018-2019 fiscal year when compared to the 2016-2017 fiscal year. 


Education-Related Budget Items and Provisions: This week's special budget update included a list summarizing education-related provisions found in the compromise budget.

DPI Financial and Business Services Analysis: On Thursday of this week, the Financial and Business Services division of DPI hosted a webinar, during which they covered their analysis of the compromise budget.  They also released documents examining the latest version of the budget, including a comparison of the 2017-18 proposed budgets and a summary of the Compromise Budget. 

Relevant Bills with Action

NC Elementary Classroom

HB 155: Omnibus Education Law Changes

Originally a bill on teacher licensure requirements,* HB 155 has undergone major revisions, now containing several parts that address different aspects of education. There are six parts to this bill:


  • Part I extends the deadline from September to October for LEAs to submit reports pertaining to school organization data. These reports are to be submitted to the State Superintendent as required by HB 13, which became Session Law during this legislative session. 
  • Part II is in response to a North Carolina Supreme Court decision that the State could not remove career status from teachers who had already attained it, as long as the teacher remained working in the same LEA.  The bill retains statutory language related to such teachers.  
  • Part III allows beginning teachers in large schools (1,500+ students) to be evaluated by a principal or an assistant principal, as long as at least one of their evaluations conducted in the first three years of teaching is done by a principal. 
  • Part IV directs the State Superintendent to convene a workgroup to study effective and positive intervention measures or policy changes to address risky behaviors in students.
  • Part V delays implementation of SBE’s policy on School-Based Mental Health Initiatives.  
  • Part VI seeks to expand the teaching of computer science in North Carolina through a collaborative effort among the State Superintendent and DPI, NC State University’s Friday Institute, and the NC School of Science and Math. A report containing recommendations on curriculum guidelines, strategies for increasing the number of qualified teachers, and alignment with the Digital Learning Plan will be submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee in January 2018. This week, the bill passed both the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, and has been placed on the Senate Calendar.


*The original contents of HB 155 are now mostly included in the amended version of SB 599, summarized below.

NC Elementary Teacher and Student

SB 599: Excellent Educators for Every Classroom

Senate Bill 599 was heard this week in the House Education K-12 Committee, which made several changes to the bill. The Committee added contents from House Bill 155, including sections that would authorize local boards of education to hire a retired principal or assistant principal as an interim principal, regardless of licensure status, and adds additional ways to qualify for a retirement license through part time work. The changes also create a pilot program to allow up to two new eligible educator preparation programs to start in the 2017-18 school year, eliminate the literacy continuing education requirement for middle school teachers, create an exception to the GPA requirement for applicants to an alternative certification program with at least 10 years of relevant experience, and require local boards of education, charter schools, and regional schools to report to the SBE when a teacher’s resignation is related to criminal history. The bill has been placed on the House Calendar. 

HB 21: Driver Instruction/Law Enforcement Stops

House Bill 21 would require the Division of Motor Vehicles to include a description of law enforcement traffic stop procedures and appropriate driver actions and interactions with law enforcement officers within its driver license handbook. It would also require the Department of Public Instruction to instruct on these topics in the driver education curriculum.  The Senate Rules Committee approved the measure late last week, and the bill passed the full Senate this week. 


HB 135: Technical Changes to Course of Study Statute

This bill reorganizes NC course of study statutes.  Over the years, changes and additions to these statutes have made the legal language complex and disorganized.  This bill “cleans up” the statutes by arranging them in a more logical way, but is described as not containing any substantive changes to existing statutes.  It was passed by the Senate Rules Committee on Thursday and will now proceed to the full Senate for approval.

NC Students in a Digital Learning Environment

HB 149: Students w/ Dyslexia and Dyscalculia

This bill directs SBE to define dyslexia as part of its policies for specific learning disabilities and ensure that ongoing professional development opportunities are made available to teachers and other school personnel on the identification of and intervention strategies for students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or other specific learning disabilities. The bill further directs the SBE to review the current diagnostic and screening instruments used to identify dyslexia and to develop and make information available electronically to parents, educators, and other concerned groups that provides further data on dyslexia. The bill passed the Senate Rules Committee this week, and will next be considered by the full Senate.

HB 447: Lexington Board of Education/City Council

This bill changes the Lexington Board of Education, which is currently a nine-member appointed board, to a seven-member board elected on a nonpartisan basis.  It was passed Wednesday by the Senate Select Committee on Elections, Thursday by the Senate Rules Committee, and will next be considered by the full Senate.

HB 520: Union County Board of Education/Partisan Election

HB 520 makes Union County’s Board of Education elections, which are currently nonpartisan, partisan beginning in 2018.  It also amends the process for filling vacancies on the Board.  The measure passed the Senate Rules Committee on Thursday, and will next be considered by the full Senate.

HB 532: Modify UNC Laboratory Schools

This bill, as covered in a prior newsletter, increases the number of allowed UNC system lab schools from eight to at least nine, among other changes. It passed the Senate Education Committee this week, and will next be reviewed by the Senate Rules Committee.

Charter School

HB 800: Various Changes to Charter School Laws

As the short title of the bill implies, HB 800 makes several changes to charter school laws. The bill allows charter schools to contract with an education management organization or charter management organization to employ teachers, and directs the SBE to make decisions on whether to grant a charter through the fast-track process in less than 120 days from the submission date of the application. Under current law, enrollment growth of greater than 20% in all charter schools is considered a material revision of the charter, and requires the approval of the SBE. This bill would make enrollment growth of greater than 20% a material revision only if the charter school is identified as low-performing, and increases the amount of growth not considered a material revision to 25% for charter schools not identified as low-performing. The bill also allows charter schools to give enrollment priority to students that were previously enrolled in another NC charter school in the previous school year, and would make it easier for charter schools to participate in the NC Pre-K program. The bill was revised by the Senate Education Committee this week, and was passed by the Senate Rules Committee yesterday. The full Senate will consider the bill next. 

SB 64: Veterans' History Awareness Month

In addition to designating November as “Veterans’ History Awareness” month, this bill directs the SBE to develop recommended programs for schools for use throughout the month. These programs would place particular emphasis on the impact of North Carolina’s veterans throughout history. The programs may be integrated into lesson plans and may include veteran participation and veteran sponsorship in the form of the Adopt-A-Veteran program. The bill passed the House this week, and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

NC High School Classroom

SB 125: Various Changes to Education

This bill contains two parts:  

  • The first section encourages LEAs to establish programs to recognize students with perfect attendance and to allow students who serve as pages at the General Assembly or Governor’s Office to receive the award. Currently, pages receive excused absences for their week at the legislature or Governor’s office, preventing them from receiving perfect attendance awards if they would otherwise qualify.  This bill directs LEAs to not count paging absences against a student’s attendance record for the purpose of perfect attendance recognitions.  
  • The second part of the bill expands eligibility for Class II and III Wartime Veterans scholarships by referencing the federal definition of “child” used for determination of the Pay and Allowances of the Uniformed Services to establish scholarship eligibility.  

Now having passed the House Education K-12 Committee, SB 125 will next be debated in the House Rules Committee.

SB 169: Teaching Excellence Bonus Expansion

This bill, as covered in a prior newsletter, addresses the issue of teachers who qualified for a bonus under the pilot programs initiated last session (3rd grade reading, AP/IB, CTE) not receiving them due to changing grades or courses involuntarily.  SB 169 cleared the House Education K-12 Committee on Wednesday, passed the full House on Thursday, and will next be sent to the Governor.

NC High School Teacher and Students

SB 448: Professors in the Classroom

Senate Bill 448 would authorize local boards of education to contract with higher education faculty members to serve as adjunct instructors for core academic subjects without having to obtain a teaching license.  These instructors could teach in public K-12 schools for either 20 or fewer hours a week indefinitely or full-time for fewer than six consecutive months.  The measure passed the House Education K-12 Committee on Wednesday and the full House on Thursday. The bill will next be sent to the Governor for his signature.

DPI Logo

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

Legislative Calendar

Monday, June 26, 2017

2:00 PM | Session Convenes (Senate)  Senate Audio 

3:30 PM | 544 LOB House Finance Committee 

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

6:00 PM | Session Convenes (House)   House Audio 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

  8:30 AM | 544 LOB House Finance Committee 

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

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