K-12 Education Legislative Update - Friday, August 23, 2019

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K12 Education Legislation Update

State Board of Education Vision: Every public school student in North Carolina will be empowered to accept academic challenges, prepared to pursue their chosen path after graduating high school, and encouraged to become lifelong learners with the capacity to engage in a globally-collaborative society
State Board of Education Mission: The mission of the North Carolina State Board of Education is to use its constitutional authority to guard and maintain the right of a sound, basic education for every child in North Carolina Public Schools. 

August 23, 2019

The Week In Review and Looking Forward into Next Week


General Assembly Announces Budget Path Forward


After no activity on HB 966: 2019 Appropriations Act since early July, leadership at the General Assembly announced this week that they will be moving forward with a piecemeal approach to the budget. On Wednesday, a committee substitute for HB 609 was presented and adopted by the Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Committee. This bill would provide legislative mandated salary increases and special annual leave to state adult correctional facility employees. It is expected that the bill will be taken up by the full Senate next week. 


On Thursday, several high profile bills moved through Senate Committees. Senate Finance adopted the committee substitute for HB 74: The Taxpayer Refund Act, a bill that would return approximately $663 million of the $900 million budget surplus back to N.C. taxpayers via checks for $250/couple, $125/individual. This bill has been re-referred to Senate Rules and Operations for next steps in the process.  In addition, a committee substitute for HB 555: Medicaid Transformation Implementation cleared both the Senate Health Care Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. This bill would appropriate funds for Medicaid operations and make other Medicaid transformation-related changes.


Numerous  Conference Committees were appointed this week for bills impacting K-12 public education. These bills include HB 777: Various Retirement Chngs/Wastewater Reform,  SB 199: Child Sex Abuse/Strengthen Laws, SB 458: PTS Day/Cardiac Task Force/Titus's Law/Data, SB 537: ACH Pmt/Counselor-SA-SW Act Amend/ DHHS Rev., SB 681: Rur Hlth Care/Loc. Sales Tax Flex/Util. Acct.


Late today, the Governor vetoed Senate Bill 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019. In his veto remarks, the Governor stated, "Teaching children to read well is a critical goal for their future success, but recent evaluations show that Read to Achieve is ineffective and costly.”  SB 438 has received a lot of attention in the K-12 education arena and is an initiative sponsored by Senator Berger. In support of needed changes in the Program, Senator Berger filed this bill as an act to modify the implementation of the NC Read to Achieve Program in order to attain statewide reading proficiency by the third grade. 


Although next week’s legislative calendar appears minimal, given the announcements this week by House leadership, it is anticipated that additional bills providing pay raises for State employees, including teachers, will be revealed in the coming days. The House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to meet next Tuesday, August 27, during which additional budget related activity is expected. Next week’s Legislative Calendar can be found here.

Important Budget Resources

  • HB 961: Ensuring Authorization of Federal Funds
  • HB 111: Supplemental Appropriations Act
  • DPI School Business: Operating after July 1 Without a Budget.
  • K-12 Education Budget Overview here.
  • Governor's Veto Statement here.
  • HB 966: Ratified Conference Report
  • Updated "Money" Report (Conference Report) here.
  • Conference Committee Members here.
  • DPI Financial & Business Services: Budget Comparison here
  • DPI Financial & Business Services: Summary of Budget here.
  • HB 966: 2019 Appropriations Act (Senate v6)
  • "Money" Report - 3rd Edition (Senate) here.
  • Senate Appropriations/Base Budget Amendments here.
  • HB 966: 2019 Appropriations Act (House v4)
  • Committee "Money" Report - 2nd Edition (House) here.
  • Education Items in the Governor's budget here
  • Highlights of the NC Public School Budget 2019 here.
  • NC State Board of Education Budget Response here.
  • NC Department of Public Instruction #NC2030 vision here.
  • Public School Capital Outlays Chart here.
  • North Carolina School Finances website here.

2019 New K-12 Education Laws

Court of Law


No new K-12 Education Bills have been signed by the Governor this week.


  • List of New K-12 Education Laws and Chaptered Resolutions here.
  • Complete List of Bills that are Session Law here.


For complete bill history and summaries, click on the bill link.

Relevant Bills with Action


SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019 


NC Elementary Student taking a test

A Conference Committee Report was released this week for SB 621  An Act To Reduce Testing Administered To Students In Public Schools And To Make Various Technical And Clarifying Changes Related To Education Laws. This bill has been placed on the Senate Calendar for 08/26/2019 and highlights from the current version are outlined below.


PART I. ELIMINATE NC FINAL EXAM: Eliminates all use of NC Final Exams beginning with the 2020-2021 school year.  Requires the SBE and DPI to submit a plan on how to use other means to accomplish the purposes for which data is collected by the NC Final Exam.


PART II. REPORT ON NORTH CAROLINA PERSONALIZED ASSESSMENT PILOT: Clarifies that the State is to move toward a through-grade assessment model, in which all State-mandated assessments are administered in multiple short testing events throughout the school year rather than in a single long testing event at the end of the year.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall report annually beginning November 15, 2020 until November 15, 2024 on the progress of the North Carolina Personalized Assessment Tool (NCPAT) pilot.


PART III. PLAN TO REDUCE STANDARDIZED TESTING BY LOCAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE UNITS:  Requires each local board of education to review all local standardized testing administered to students for the prior two school years, in order to determine the number of tests administered to students and the number of hours required for students to complete the tests. If the average over the prior two-year period exceeds the State average, the local board of education shall submit to DPI and the SBE a plan to eliminate certain local standardized testing.


By November 1 of each year, the SBE shall submit a report containing information regarding the statewide administration of the testing program, including the number and type of tests and the testing schedule, and a summary of any local testing programs and plans reported by local boards of education to the SBE.  By September 1 of each year, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall publish on the Web site of the Department of Public Instruction a uniform calendar that includes schedules for State-required testing and reporting results of tests for at least the next two school years and local standardized testing information populated by local boards of education.


PART IV. REQUIRE LOCAL FUNDING FOR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS FOR GRADUATION PROJECTS: Restricts the SBE from requiring any student to prepare an Algebra I or high school graduation project as a condition of graduation from high school. Local boards of education may require their students to complete a high school graduation project but only if the board provides from local funds a method of reimbursement of up to seventy-five dollars ($75.00) for expenses related to the high school graduation project for any student identified as an economically disadvantaged student. Effective beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.


PART V. EXAMINATION OF THIRD GRADE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS ASSESSMENTS TO BETTER MEET GOALS OF READ TO ACHIEVE: Requires DPI to examine the End-of-Grade English Language Arts assessment administered in third grade as compared to the Read to Achieve alternative assessment in order to determine whether the End-of-Grade English Language Arts assessment should be modified to better meet the goals of Read to Achieve. The Department shall develop any modifications needed. No later than March 15, 2020, the Department shall report on the findings and any modifications.


PART VI. COMPETENCY-BASED ASSESSMENTS AND TEACHING MODEL: Requires the SBE to determine and analyze the steps necessary to transition to a competency-based assessment and teaching model for all elementary and secondary students. Based on its analysis, the Board shall recommend transition steps that accomplish competency-based objectives outlined further in the legislation.  No later than May 15, 2020, the State Board shall submit a report of its analysis and recommended transition steps.


PART VII. CLARIFICATION OF DEFINITION OF HIGH-NEED RETIRED TEACHERS: Includes technical corrections needed for S399 - SESSION LAW 2019-110


PART VIII. CLARIFYING CHANGES TO TEACHER LICENSURE LAWS:  Includes technical corrections needed for S219 - SESSION LAW 2019-71 to grant eligibility for the Limited License to lateral entry and residency licensed teachers


PART IX. EFFECTIVE DATE: Except as otherwise provided, this act is effective when it becomes law.

Education Bills Vetoed by the Governor This Session

  • HB 966: 2019 Appropriations Act  VETO Message
    • Base budget appropriations for current operations of state agencies, departments, and institutions. Governor Cooper’s veto message states his disappointment in the budget based on differing priorities between the Governor and General Assembly.
  • SB 392: Various Charter School Changes  BILL SUMMARY   VETO Message
    • Makes various changes to the laws affecting charter schools. Governor Cooper’s veto message states his concern about the lift on enrollment caps for virtual charter schools due to the low performance of schools in this pilot.
  • SB 438: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2019  VETO Message
    • An act to modify the implementation of the North Carolina Read to Achieve Program in order to attain statewide reading proficiency by the third grade.



Complete List of Bills Vetoed by the Governor here.

K - 12 Education Bills that Moved This Week 

  • Passed the House - Sent to the Senate  

    • None
  • Passed the Senate - Sent to the House 

    • None
  • Conference Committee

  • Bills that are filed, referred to a committee or calendared for the House or Senate Floor 

    • SB 295: Standards of Student Conduct (Referred to Senate Education/Higher Education )  BILL SUMMARY
    • SB 522: Low-Perf. Schools/Stand. Student Conduct (Placed on House Calendar for 8/26/2019) 
    • SB 621: Testing Reduction Act of 2019 (Placed on House Calendar for 8/26/2019)
    • SB 690: Modifications to 2019 Appointments Bill (Referred to Senate Rules)
  • Presented to the Governor

    • None
  • Other


  • For complete bill history and summaries, click on the bill link.

DPI Logo
  • 2019 Long Session LINK for bills impacting K-12 education.
  • LINK to K-12 Public Education Bills that made Crossover.
  • NCGA Crossover List - LINK.

Next Week's Education-Related Legislative Calendar


August 26 - August 30:  Legislative Meeting Calendar


Monday, August 26, 2019

  2:00 p.m.: Senate: Session Convenes                                                                  Senate | Audio

  4:00 p.m.: House: Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House            1228/1327 LB | Audio

  7:00 p.m.: House: Session Convenes                                                                    House | Audio           


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

  9:00 a.m.: House: Appropriations                                                                       643 LOB | Audio


North Carolina General Assembly 


Legislative Info and Acronyms


This section includes details pertaining to acronyms and bill information referenced throughout the K-12 Education Legislative Update newsletters.


Biennium- A two-year term of legislative activity

Public Bill- Legislation enacted into law that applies to the public at large

Local Bill- Legislation put into law that has limited application (How many counties)- Local bills do not have to be signed by the governor

Sponsor- The legislator who presents a bill or resolution for consideration

Resolution- A document that expresses the sentiment or intent of the legislature or a chamber. Resolutions, when finalized, go to the Secretary of State

Glossary of Legislative Terms- LINK


DPI = NC Department of Public Instruction

LEA = Local Education Agency

NCGA North Carolina General Assembly

LB/LOB = Legislative Building/Legislative Office Building 

SBE = North Carolina State Board of Education


HB/SB = House Bill/Senate Bill

JR = Joint Resolution

SL = Session Law

GS = General Statute 

PCS = Proposed Committee Substitute 


  • Cecilia Holden  – Director of Government and Community Relations |  919-807-3406
  • Anne Murtha  –  Legislative Specialist  |  919-807-3403


To view previous 2019 Weekly Legislative Updates click here.

 The NC Department of Public instruction offers a number of topics for subscription.

  • To subscribe to the Weekly Legislative Update, click here.
  • To subscribe to other NC Department of Public Instruction topics, click here.