K-12 Education Legislative Update - Friday, April 13, 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.

April 13, 2018       

The Week In Review and Looking Forward into Next Week


Several high profile K-12 education items were at the forefront of the North Carolina General Assembly this week. The House Select Committee on School Safety convened on Monday, April 9 to hold its first of two Student Health Working Group meetings. Group members heard a variety of presentations that addressed student socio-emotional health and safety in schools. 


In addition, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee (PED) examined a number of education items in their Monday meeting, including draft legislation for consideration by committee members.


The final meeting and presentation of the committee report for the Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Division of Local School Administrative Units was held on Wednesday, April 11. No LEA district changes were recommended by this committee.


Next week, the Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities is scheduled to meet on Monday, April 16th.  The Select Committee on School Safety subcommittee on Student Physical Safety and Security Working Group is scheduled to meet Tuesday, April 17th for the first of two meetings.

School Safety

House Select Committee on School Safety


The House Select Committee on School Safety - Student Health Working Group met Monday, April 9 to focus on services that address the socio-emotional health of students.  A number of presentations were given that covered a variety of school support services, all interconnected around the mental health of students.


Tim Hardin, president-elect, North Carolina School Counselor Association, explained the roles that school counselors play in the safety of schools. He then recommended staffing of school counselors at a level that allows for increased preventative care for mental health. His presentation can be found here


Heather Lynch Boling, Wake County Schools, President, North Carolina School Psychology Association and Lynn Makor, Consultant for School Psychology NC Department of Public Instruction both presented on the various roles of school psychologists. Both presenters highlighted the advanced credentials required of school psychologists that best position them to meet the needs of students.  They also spoke to staffing levels in the schools and the desire to position school psychologists to play a more robust role in student mental health. Boling’s presentation on school psychologists can be found here and Makor’s presentation is here


Mark Benton, Deputy Secretary for Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services highlighted the importance mental health. DHHS estimates that 250,000 North Carolina residents under the age of 18 struggle with substance abuse or mental health issues. Poor mental health can lead to various negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety, suicide, or violence. After outlining the current role of DHHS in student safety, Benton noted several ideas that may improve student mental health services. His presentation can be found here


Kym Martin, Executive Director, N.C. Center for Safer Schools noted the importance of school safety and thanked committee members for their concerns around this pressing issue and for bringing educators, DPI, and DHHS together to discuss this with legislators. Finally, Mrs. Martin praised local initiatives across the state that center around student mental health.  Schools have implemented curriculum on this topic, instituted partnerships between schools and have put in place psychologist training programs. Her presentation can be viewed here.

School Nurse

Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee 

On Monday, April 9, the Program Evaluation Division Oversight Committee (PED) covered a full slate of items relating to education including:


  • Measurability assessment
  • Transforming the Principal Preparation Program
  • Recommendations for the Principal Preparation Cooperative Agreement
  • School nurses
  • Potential bill drafts on the education funding dispute resolution
  • Potential bill drafts pertaining to the North Carolina Education Lottery. 


Dr. Kiernan McGorty, PED Principal Evaluator, introduced and explained measurability assessments and applied it to Transforming the Principal Preparation (TPP) program.  Dr. Gary VanLandingham, Independent Assessor Agency, further explained modifications to transforming the Principal Preparation program.   Dr. Shirley Prince, Executive Director of NC Principals and Assistant Principals’ Association (NCPAPA), provided responses to member inquiries on this as well. Draft legislation was proposed to change the reporting requirements for the TPP program by adding additional data in the annual reports. 


Meeting Current Standards for School Nurses was presented by Sara Nienow, PED Principal Evaluator.  The school nurses report estimates that it could cost an additional $45 million to $79 million a year to meet current student health needs.  Sara informed the committee that the current ratio of school nurses is one for every 1,086 students. Danny Staley, Director of Public Health, NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) answered questions raised by the committee. The draft bill recommends the State Board of Education create a new school nurse staffing standard as well as develop an implementation plan. The bill also directs DHHS and DPI to consolidate school nurse funding, requires DHHS to examine Medicaid rates for school-based nursing services, and establishes Medicaid reimbursement for school-based nursing services documented on 504 plans and Individual Health Plans.


The PED committee amended and voted on two bills from the previous committee meeting. The first bill would change how local school boards and county commissioners settle funding disputes. The second bill seeks to increase the benefits of the North Carolina Education Lottery.  


Professional Educators Preparation and Standards Commission


The Professional Educators Preparation and Standards Commission met on Thursday, April 12th, to consider the current educator preparation process in North Carolina. They voted to send three recommendations up to the State Board of Education (SBE) for consideration of approval at their May meeting including:


  • Elimination of redundancy in teacher certification testing by accepting either of two new tests in the place of the Principles of Learning and Teaching test.
  • Adjustment of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) requirement in an effort to give LEAs greater flexibility in setting standards for CTE teachers.
  • Consideration be given toward measures to increase the efficiency of the Educator Preparation Program approval process. Currently volunteer peer evaluators consider the roughly 1000 applications each year.  

NC Middle School Classroom

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 held its final meeting on Wednesday, April 11. At this meeting committee members discussed and approved a draft report. Over the course of this committee's meetings, they considered all relevant information on the logistics, finances, and educational benefits of

dividing LEAs. Having examined all this information, they do not recommend dividing LEAs. 


Youth Legislative Assembly


Youth Legislative Assembly (YLA) is a mock legislative session for North Carolina high schools students to voice their opinions, and become familiar with the legislative process. This event took place this past weekend and included students coming together to discuss policy questions of local, state, and national significance. 


Active participation in YLA helps to develop skills for our youth to prepare them for our next generation of political leadership. Any high school student in good standing at a public, private, charter, or home school in North Carolina is eligible to participate in YLA.  For additional information and to monitor for future events click here.  

DPI Logo

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

Legislative Calendar

Monday, April 16, 2018

  1:00 p.m.:  Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities                             544 LOB | Audio


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

  9:00 a.m.:  Select Committee on School Safety (House)                                                  643 LOB | Audio 

North Carolina General Assembly 



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    • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist  |  919-807-3403
    • David Smith –  Legislative Intern  |  919-807-3407

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