K-12 Education Legislative Update - Thursday, March 29, 2018

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K12 Education Legislation Update

Vision Statement:  Every public school student, through access to needed resources and rigor, will graduate ready for post-secondary education and work, prepared to be a globally engaged and productive citizen.

Mission Statement: The State Board of Education will use its constitutional authority to lead and uphold the system of public education in North Carolina that guarantees every student in this state an opportunity to receive a sound basic education.

March 29, 2018      

The Week In Review and Looking Forward into Next Week


Legislators have been in Committee meetings this week, as they continue to ramp up for the 2018 short-session. The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee (PED) members received presentations and discussed the current process for solving local funding disputes between local Boards of Education and Boards of County Commissioners. The Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units heard from two UNC-CH researchers on the current academic literature on the ideal size of LEAs and the potential impact of dividing LEAs. 


The State Board of Education will meet next Wednesday and Thursday. The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee will convene on Tuesday morning and the Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units will hold its final meeting on Wednesday, April 4.


Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee


The Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee heard a presentation by Sean Hamel, on the mechanisms for resolving funding disputes between local boards of education and boards of county commissioners. That presentation is linked here.  Hamel discussed the current dispute system and made recommendations for future improvements. Of the 2,070 annual budget resolutions passed by LEA's between 1997 and 2015, only 2% used the dispute resolution process, and 0.19% proceeded to the litigation phase. While it is rarely used, Hamel found that litigation is not a cost effective method to resolve funding disputes.


In light of this, he recommended that the General Assembly consider the following two measures:


  1. Revise the current system to remove litigation and replace it with a default funding mechanism. This mechanism establishes that if local boards of education and boards of county commissioners fail to agree on a budget, a funding level will be dictated. For example, Tennessee uses a default funding mechanism that requires schools to be funded at a predefined minimum plus 3% if the local board of education and board of county commissioners fail to agree on a budget for three consecutive years. This incentivizes cooperation at the local level, and avoids costly litigation.   
  2. Establish a working group with the Local Government Commission and UNC-CH School of Government, as well as representatives from North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, North Carolina School Boards Association, and North Carolina Association of School Business Officers. This working group would develop recommendations for local boards about how to best manage fund balances. 


The committee also heard a presentation by Principle Program Evaluator, Jim Horne, on the North Carolina Education Lottery. That presentation is linked here. Horne was tasked to examine the current lottery system, and to make recommendations on how to improve it. He found that the lottery has slightly higher participation and returns to the state than the average of the 44 states that host lotteries. Horne made several recommendations to even further improve the lottery, such as examining the retailer compensation structure, as well as setting specific goals that must be met. The ultimate goal is to increase funds benefiting education in North Carolina. 

Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units  


The Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units heard a presentation by Dr. Eric A. Houck and Dr. Kevin C. Bastian, both scholars from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. These two scholars explained current information on the relative efficiency of LEAs of different sizes. Their presentation is linked here. Through rigorous review of the available academic literature, Houck and Bastian arrived at a few conclusions. They found no consensus within the current research on optimal size for LEAs, and a more general lack of research on the topic. That being said, the existing research suggests that there is some optimal size for LEAs, but that there is debate about where that optimal size falls. With that understanding, there may be some possibility of a benefit to dividing Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools or Wake County Schools, but there is not currently enough information to be certain. 


Region Map

Exceptional Children

Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


The Committee on Intellectual and Development Disabilities met on Wednesday, March 28.  The following workforce options were discussed:   


The presentations can be viewed at this link and their next meeting is April 16th at 1:00 p.m. 

DPI Logo

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

Legislative Calendar

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

10:00 a.m.: Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee                                           643 LOB Audio


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

  9:00 a.m.: Jt Leg Study Cmte on the Division of Local School Administrative Units        643 LOB Audio


North Carolina General Assembly 



    • Cecilia Holden  –  Director of Legislative Affairs and Special Initiatives  |  919-807-3406
    • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist  |  919-807-3403
    • David Smith –  Legislative Intern  |  919-807-3407

    To view previous 2018 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

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