Weekly Legislative Update - Friday, October 5, 2018

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K12 Education Legislation Update

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

October 5, 2018      

The Week In Review and Looking Forward 

NCGA Hurricane Photo

Legislators Take First Steps in Hurricane Florence Recovery 


There's a reason and purpose for rainy day funds. North Carolina has been besieged in less than two years with two so-called "500-year storms" -- Florence and Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Now it is time to clean up and rebuild our communities. To expedite this process, the General Assembly created the Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund and released $56.5 million from the rainy day fund for disaster relief as a first step in what is expected to be months or years of recovery efforts. 


SB 2 School Calendar & Pay/Hurricane Florence and HB 4 Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act cleared both the House and the Senate unanimously and were signed by Governor Cooper this week.  Legislators plan to return October 15th to consider additional funding needs after state agencies have had more time to further assess damages and determine the funding requirements to restore communities in Eastern North Carolina. Many schools remain unable to reopen and over two dozen schools are operating under states of emergency.


Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, chairman of the House Education Committee stated, "Today's effort is to give people assurance that a) they're going to get paid, and b) we're going to work with them individually to meet the needs of their students."  Other legislators commented that this was the quickest storm recovery response in recent memory.

Relevant Bills with Action



SB 2: School Calendar & Pay/Hurricane Florence - SL 2018-135


To accommodate the extraordinary circumstances and hardships related to Hurricane Florence, legislators swiftly moved SB 2 through the legislative process and the Governor signed it into law.  





Senate Bill 2 includes the following hurricane relief measures for our schools:


  • Educators and employees will be compensated the same as if they had worked any scheduled instructional days deemed completed by the public school unit during September and October of 2018. 
  • Flexibility in the school calendar
  • 20-day calendar waivers to school districts in counties under federal disaster declarations, for making up missed class time
  • Option for school districts to make up the missed instructional days or hours.
  • School districts located outside the hard-hit areas that missed class time will only be required to make up two days of school or the necessary 185 instructional days, whichever is lower. 
  • Students of North Carolina university Educator Preparation Programs who were impacted by the storm, are no longer required to complete the full 16 week internship in order to graduate with the internship requirement being deemed “completed”.   

The Superintendent of Public Instruction is to submit a report on the implementation by school districts detailing all missed days, make-up days, and days deemed completed, and any compensation provided to employees, from this law to legislative appropriations and education committees by March 15, 2019.   


Hurricane Florence 2018


HB 4: Hurricane Florence Emergency Response Act - SL 2018-134


A $56.6 million initial funding transfer was made into a new Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Fund for the following purposes:

  • $6.5M is to supplement or replace lost compensation of school lunch employees due to school closures resulting from Hurricane Florence.
  • $50M is to provide the State match for federal disaster assistance programs or to pay for the costs and the relief and assistance for counties declared a disaster during Hurricane Florence.  

This legislation includes additional hurricane relief efforts as follows:

  • Extension of election registration deadlines.
  • Local board flexibility to adjust polling places, replace one-stop early voting sites, and adjust absentee ballot distributions to deal with facilities damaged by Hurricane Florence.
  • Waiver of fees assessed by the Division of Motor Vehicles for duplicate drivers licenses or identification cards, applications for certificates of title, registration plate replacements, applications for duplicate registration cards, and late payments of a motor vehicle registration renewal fee. 
  • Encouragement to expedite mosquito control efforts to mitigate and prevent large populations of floodwater mosquitoes from emerging in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. 
  • Directive to state agencies to strive to acquire goods and services from historically underutilized business vendors, whether directly as principal contractors or indirectly as subcontractors. 
  • Governor ability to waive fees assessed by city and county building inspectors specific to storm damages.

    SJR 4:  Adjourn 3rd Extra Session to October 15


    The North Carolina House of Representatives and the Senate jointly adjourned on Tuesday, October 2, 2018. They will reconvene this 2018 Third Extra Session on Monday, October 15, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. to consider any further legislation to address Hurricane recovery.  Ratified Ch. Res 2018-13

    October State Board of Education Meeting

    The State Board of Education met Wednesday and Thursday of this week, during which they welcomed three new members appointed by the Governor to fulfill the unexpired terms of Chairman Bill Cobey, Becky Taylor and Greg Alcorn.  New SBE members include J.B. Buxton, Jill Camnitz and James Ford.



    JB Buxton

    JB Buxton - Member At-Large

    JB Buxton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the NC State Board of Education. A UNC Morehead Scholar, Buxton began his career in education teaching in South Africa. This experience shaped his perspective on education and launched his long career in education policy. Buxton served as education advisor to Governor Easley and as Deputy State Superintendent at the NC Department of Public Instruction. He is the founding principal of the Education Innovations Group, a consulting practice focused on state education strategies for PreK-12 and postsecondary education.



    Jill Camnitz - Northeast District

    Jill Camnitz joins the State Board of Education from Greenville with a strong background of community service. She currently chairs the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain Board of Directors and serves on the Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County. Camntiz is also serving on the Pitt County Educational Foundation and Brody Foundation. Previously, she served as a member and as President for the Pitt County Board of Education. 

    James Ford SBE

    James E. Ford - Southwest District

    James Ford returns to the serve again on the State Board of Education. In 2014-2015, he served on the board as the North Carolina Teacher of the Year from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system. He is the principal at Filling the Gap Education Consultants, LLC. and serves as co-chair for the Leading on Opportunity Council in Charlotte. Ford previously served as the Program Director at the Public School Forum of North Carolina 


    How Can You Help?  FAST NC


    The State Board’s agenda included an update on the impacts of Hurricane Florence on our schools and students. Damages and lost revenue estimates resulting from the hurricane continue to grow and classes remain closed in some of areas most devastated by the storm.  Amid the ongoing recovery efforts, the repeated message at the State Board of Education meeting is that it will take a joint ongoing effort to help return things back to normal. "We have much work to do to take care of each other," said Eric Davis, chairman of the state board.

    Eileen Townsend, section chief of the school insurance fund at the state Department of Public Instruction noted the amount of damage is much higher than the $14 million in losses after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 because of all the wind and flooding damage from Florence. Current damage estimates for schools and community colleges is in excess of $40M.

    The closure of schools means an estimated $14 million in lost revenue for school child nutrition programs, according to Lynn Harvey, section chief of DPI Child Nutrition Services. State lawmakers agreed to provide $6.5 million to cover some of the losses. Harvey praised the child nutrition staff at area schools who came in and served meals to evacuees who were using schools as emergency shelters. She also acknowledged the full support of the Department of Agriculture and USDA.


    During a report on school transportation, Kevin Harrison, section chief of DPI Transportation Services noted that once the remaining schools reopen, districts will have enough buses to resume providing transportation but the remaining challenges include dealing with road closures and providing service for students who've been left homeless due to the storm.


    In response to the storm, former State Superintendents June Atkinson and Mike Ward, current and former State Board members, and many other partners, have created FAST NC – Florence Aid to Students and Teachers to aid in relief efforts in the weeks, months and even years ahead. 


    Here's how you can help. If your school district started your own fundraising or supply drive, FAST NC wants to empower you and your students to be able to collect money or new school supplies and send them to students and teachers in need -- Click here to donate.


    Visit the NC Public Schools website to learn more about how to contribute financially to this relief fund to provide needed resources to students and teachers in eastern North Carolina. You can also find details on how to host a fundraising or school supply drive at your school.  




    The State Board meeting concluded with a proclamation declaring November Veterans' History Awareness Month. 


                                                              North Carolina State Board of Education
                                    Proclamation in Support of Veterans’ History Awareness Month Proclamation
                                                                                    October 5, 2018



    WHEREAS, veterans have contributed to the defense of this nation and our state; and

    WHEREAS, Veterans’ Day is celebrated as a national holiday in November; and

    WHEREAS, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an act in 2017 to establish Veterans’ History Month in November; and

    WHEREAS; the State Board of Education, in collaboration with active military installations, veterans, and veterans service organizations, has developed recommended programs for school use during Veterans’ History Awareness Month. These resources enable students to gain a better understanding of the meaning and importance of the contributions of American veterans and, in particular, veterans from North Carolina; and

    WHEREAS, all schools are encouraged to collaborate with veterans and veteran service organizations during Veterans' History Awareness Month to designate time for appropriate commemorative activities; and

    WHEREAS, veterans continue to have a positive impact in the politics, education, business and culture of North Carolina;

    NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the North Carolina State Board of Education and North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Schools on Thursday, October 4, 2018, declare the month of November as “Veterans’ History Awareness Month” and thereby encourage each of North Carolina’s local school boards to adopt a similar resolution and to participate throughout the month of November in celebrating veterans’ contributions to the state and country.


    Board Chair Eric Davis, a West Point Military Academy graduate, called on all of us, the next time we see a veteran, male or female, to give them a hug and tell them thanks for their service.  We all owe them a debt of gratitude. 


    The State Board of Education meeting agendas can be found here.


    DPI Logo

    2018 Short Session link for bills impacting K-12 education. 

    2017 Long Session link for a complete list of bills impacting K-12 education including budget items.

    Legislative Calendar

    Monday, October 8, 2018 

      1:00 p.m.:  Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee                          544 LOB | Audio  



    Thursday, October 11, 2018 

    10:00 a.m.:  Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the North Carolina State Lottery  643 LOB Audio 



    Monday, October 15, 2018 

    10:00 a.m.:  Session Convenes (House)                                                                            House | Audio

    10:00 a.m.:  Session Convenes (Senate)                                                                           Senate | Audio

    North Carolina General Assembly 



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

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