Tell Legislators to Protect Principal Pay!
The 2022 budget adjusted the way principals are paid starting in January 2023. Instead of their pay being based on three years of student growth scores, it will be based on just one year – a year greatly influenced by the pandemic.
Basing principal pay on just two factors (size of their school’s student population and student growth scores) is a terrible idea. This system, adopted in 2017, removed years of experience and advanced degrees from salary considerations and replaced them with student growth scores across three years. It does not consider the characteristics or challenges of any given school or school year.
Recent reports indicate that 1 in 6 NC principals may face a pay cut in January. Some salaries may drop up to $18,000. Like NC teachers, NC principals are already paid below national averages. Consider that these principals have endured pandemic challenges, growing staffing shortages, burnout, and student behavioral and health needs of the past years. Consider that in a “normal” year, a principal’s job is practically a 24/7 year-round job! They are not only responsible for the staff and students, dozens of programs, sport and other extracurricular activities, food service, buses, student parking, facilities and grounds and all of the functions that occur on the property, school safety, alarm malfunctions (day and night) and much more! Many principals are responsible for schools that are larger in scope than many small businesses. Our principals are the CEOs of our schools.
Principals have been hard at work all summer recruiting and hiring staff, preparing facilities and grounds, conducting staff training, and preparing to greet their students and parents. They are focused on leading their school in the tough work of gaining back student learning loss from the pandemic. North Carolina is already facing a teacher shortage and our principals are the ones tasked with finding a way to cover our classrooms! We cannot afford to lose our principals to neighboring states that pay more and do not have punitive pay plans. Our legislative leaders should be finding ways to keep these valuable leaders in schools and at minimum, ensure that their pay only increases over time.
2022 Budget Fails to Adequately Fund Public Schools While Adding Millions to Private School Reserves
The budget adjustments reflected in the 2022 Appropriations Act released 6/29/22 do a disservice to all North Carolinians by not addressing some of the state’s greatest needs during a time when NC has a budget surplus in the billions. While not allocating funding needed for our public schools, the 2022 budget increases funding for private school vouchers, a program that currently is overfunded and underutilized. Last year, only 55% of the vouchers (Opportunity Scholarships) awarded for use at unaccountable private schools were actually used. The money would be better spent on underfunded NC Pre-K programs, hiring more helping professionals – school nurses and school psychologists – to address the mental health crisis in our schools, or making sure all students had access to universal meals programs.
The budget funds only slightly more than half of what’s needed to fully fund the Comprehensive Remedial Plan – also called the Leandro Plan – to improve the quality of public education for all students. Governor Cooper’s budget proposal for this year sets out very specific priorities that would fund what’s required by the state constitution and court order for Leandro. With the reserves available, our economically disadvantaged, and often rural counties’ educational funding needs should have been a top priority in this budget, not private schools.
In addition, the 2022 budget does not include Medicaid expansion, which would provide healthcare access to more than 600,000 North Carolinians, many school-aged children, and their families. This expansion would also make students whose families receive Medicaid eligible for additional benefits.
This budget falls far short. Our students, educators, and taxpayers deserve better.
Sign our petition and let your legislators know that you find the 2022 budget unacceptable. It’s time to invest in our state’s future and fund programs that provide a high-quality education and health care for all North Carolinians.
Vote NO on HB755!
Our public schools already have policies in place to communicate curriculum and all other aspects of public school functioning, including finances to the public. Our public schools already work extremely hard to include parents in the educational process and address parental concerns effectively. Parental rights are paramount in existing state statutes. Most of what HB755 contains is practice throughout the public schools in the state. But NOT in private schools that receive public dollars. This bill creates undue anxiety in parents by giving the false impression that they currently don’t already have most of the rights contained in the bill and they can not already access information about their child.
All school personnel strive to create a safe, warm, welcoming environment for students and the restrictions in HB755 will hurt our most vulnerable students the most by placing unnecessary regulations on staff.
The strict timelines for addressing parental concerns and provision to advance any unaddressed issue to the State Board of Education or through legal channels if not met within 30 days places an undue and unnecessary burden on teachers and administration who are already overburdened with paperwork and reporting requirements. The result of this bill will be to drive teachers and other school personnel away from the profession at a time when we have massive shortages.
It’s Time to Fix NC Pre-K Funding!
NC Pre-K was designed to reach children in poverty, but it is failing to reach almost half of the eligible children in our state. Pre-K slots (the capacity of a site or county to serve one child for a 10-months) in NC are covered through 60% state funding and 40% local funding. This results in many of the neediest counties turning down state funding because they can’t afford the local matching requirements.
Making the problem worse, state funds provided for each slot have stagnated since 2012, so the amount reimbursed to the child care providers often doesn’t cover the actual expense of serving each child. And in the recent NC budget, only 15% of what the Leandro Comprehensive Plan identified as needed to fund increased reimbursements, program expansions, and adequate staff salaries.
If North Carolina legislators adequately funded NC pre-k and reconfigured how NC Pre-K funding is divided among the state, local, and federal level, counties would be able to serve more students. More students would be served and students would be better prepared to enter kindergarten.
Studies have shown that high quality Pre-K programs positively impact children’s language development and communication, cognitive development, emotional and social development, and health and physical development. Children who attend NC Pre-K programs are more likely to have high math and reading standardized test scores, reduced grade repetition, and an increase in the likelihood of future employment. Every child deserves a good foundation that helps them become a contributing, productive citizen.
Tell Your Legislators To RESTORE OUR TEACHING PIPELINE!
Schools our students deserve begin with experienced, qualified, career teachers. Study after study shows that the classroom variable most closely correlated with a child’s academic success is a good teacher.
North Carolina ranks 33rd for average teacher pay nationally but only 43rd for starting teacher salaries, making it much harder to recruit new teachers into the field. In addition to challenges caused by COVID, inadequate funding, the loss of master’s pay, and the repeal of career status are hurting our teachers and schools. We are losing teachers at a rate of 8% per year and our education programs are enrolling 35% fewer students than in 2012. There will not be enough talented teachers for our students unless our elected officials ACT NOW.
Let your legislators know that you want to recruit and retain career teachers for every classroom in North Carolina.
Fully Fund Leandro
North Carolina’s children have been waiting for more than 26 years for the state legislature to meet its constitutional obligation to provide them with a sound, basic education. Multiple courts have ruled the state is in violation of our state’s constitution and still, our children wait. State lawmakers must take immediate steps to comply with the Leandro ruling. With more than $9 billion in unreserved, surplus funds and a strong economic outlook for our state, there are no more excuses.
Tell your legislators North Carolina’s children can’t wait. Fully fund Leandro NOW.
Restore Master’s Pay!
Senate Bill 28 would restore master’s pay for teachers who obtain their degree in the subject that they teach. In 2017-18, the House overwhelming supported this effort.
It now has bipartisan support in the Senate! Click here to see the bill sponsors. Teachers who hold advanced degrees should be compensated accordingly. See this important research from the EDUCATION POLICY INITIATIVE at UNC. In summary, they concluded that graduate degrees in teachers’ area of teaching have positive impacts on student achievement and teacher development.
Fund School Psychologists to National Ratios
Needed: MORE School Psychologists in EVERY SCHOOL to help our children recover from the pandemic. Getting our children back on track mentally and academically is critical! PASS HB749!
Please sign our petition to encourage your legislator to sponsor or join this bill and vote YES! Our public schools are woefully understaffed with helping professionals, especially school psychologists. Children’s Mental Health Crisis Could Be a Next ‘Wave’ in the Pandemic. When our children return to school, we need to have the professional staff to help them recover from the impact of this past year. There will be a need for school psychologists to conduct mental health screening as well as academic screening. There will be a higher prevalence of children at-risk than ever before in recent history School psychologists can support teachers identify students who are in need of instructional and psychological support services.
School psychologists help teachers reach struggling students, improve classroom management skills, and utilize instructional strategies that will engage all types of learners and provide behavioral health services that are appropriate to the school context, reduce negative behaviors, and improve learning and achievement. These professionals are the experts that make a school and school system complete. They provide children and teens the mental health support they need.
COVID and the closing of our schools have had an immeasurable impact on our children’s mental health. Some of the challenges children and young people faced during the COVID-19 pandemic relate to:
- Changes in their routines
- Breaks in continuity of learning
- Breaks in continuity of health care
- Missed significant life events
- Lost security and safety
- Increased trauma and possible child abuse and/or neglect
HERE IS THE JUSTIFICATION GIVEN BY THE BILL SPONSORS:
*The social-emotional support provided by school psychologists can enhance students’ ability to succeed in school and in the community.
*As schools return to in-person learning amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, school psychologists are equipped to professionally address the accompanying increased demand for school mental health services.
*North Carolina has 780 school psychologists serving one million five hundred thousand public school students.
*North Carolina’s ratio of school psychologists to students is currently 1 school psychologist for every 1,943 students, and the nationally recommended ratio of school psychologists to students is 1 school psychologist for every 500 students.
*North Carolina’s top State-funded school psychologist salary is $14,180 below the national median salary, making it extraordinarily challenging to recruit and retain school psychologists.
*It is a top priority of the General Assembly to respond to the increased need for social-emotional support among North Carolina’s public school students in these challenging times.
Because of these facts,House Bill 749 (Healthy Students) includes a $10,000 pay increase for school psychologists, a 12% supplement for school psychologists that hold their NCSP, stipends for NCDPI to be able to offer 100 paid internships to districts across the state, a recruitment and retention program that would support sign-on and retention bonus, as well as a NCDPI recruitment and retention coordinator!
It must be a top priority of the General Assembly to respond to the increased need for social-emotional support among North Carolina’s public school students in these challenging times. This bill has bipartisan support. Read the full text of the bill.
Needed: Free, High Speed Internet for All Public School Students and Educators
Our students are at risk of being left behind if they do not have access to virtual instruction! Our educators cannot deliver high-quality remote instruction without affordable high-speed internet in their homes! Ask your legislator to provide all students and educators FREE, High-Speed Internet as part of their access to a sound, basic education!
As we have watched school districts across NC and the nation struggle to provide virtual learning, one thing is crystal clear-we need free, high-speed internet for all students and their teachers. Too many of our students don’t have internet at home or any device other than their cell phone. It is impossible to complete many school assignments without a high-speed connection. Our rural and low-income communities are hit especially hard by lack-of access. The digital divide exists in both low-and-medium income families. Even when school districts provide students with computers, the lack of reliable internet has been undermining the virtual learning opportunity. We need a permanent long-term solution to ensure educational equity, not just for virtual learning but to allow students access to homework help, conduct research for their school projects, and to help families stay in touch with the school, work and health care. Providing free internet at every opportunity in our public places, in our low-income neighborhoods and in the homes of all public school students will require partnerships between private companies and government at all levels. Thanks to all of the companies who have stepped up providing computers and internet service during the pandemic. Now, let’s keep it up. Our students will need all the help they can get to catch up over the next year. The truth is that high-speed internet should be treated as a utility. Just like we need reliable, fairly-priced water and electricity, we need the internet to function in today’s society. Allowing cities and towns to offer free or low-cost internet services is essential to the health and well-being of all communities, especially low wealth communities.
We are calling on legislators to fund free, high-speed internet for ALL public school students and educators who need it during this pandemic. COVID-19 has shown how critical it is to close the digital divide. We urge our legislators to direct CARES Act funds as well as using reserve funding for this emergency situation. Many districts have started instruction online and will continue to do so until it is safe to go back into school buildings. We cannot let educational inequities and disparities grow even wider. Join parents, educators, students and the community in the call for making high-speed internet accessible for all North Carolinians.
Further, it is time for NC Legislators to pass legislation that allows cities and towns to offer internet access as a utility. Due to restrictions put in place by the NCGA, the City of Wilson is the only city in NC allowed to offer comprehensive broadband connection to their residents. Their service, called Greenlight, is a community-owned, fiber-to-the-home network that started in 2008. All NC towns and cities should be allowed to offer internet services to support and foster the educational and economic well-being of their communities as well as improve the delivery of City services to its residents. The current restrictions on internet accessibility need to go! Internet access is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. Speak up now on this important issue!
Time to allow towns and cities to offer internet access as a public utility to keep it free or low-cost to everyone, especially those who cannot afford it. Like water and electricity, internet access is not a luxury. Join parents, educators, students, rural communities and low-income families in the call to make high-speed internet accessible for all North Carolinians.
Place a Moratorium on School Vouchers
Senate Bill 711 was introduced on May 5, 2020 to further expand the number of students who can receive a school voucher. The bill ELIMINATES the existing eligibility requirements for students to attend private schools. Now, the bill simply states that “any student eligible to attend a NC public school under GS 115C-366 eligible to receive a school voucher. See the original requirements that will be repealed if this bill passed.
SB 711 also increases the amounts appropriated for 2020-21 through 2026-27 fiscal years and for the 2027-28 fiscal year and every fiscal years thereafter by an additional $2 million. Grand total would now be: “For the 2027-2028 fiscal year and each fiscal year thereafter, there is appropriated from General fund to the Reserve the sum of $146,840,000 to be used for the purposes set forth in this section.” (The original budget narrative can be viewed here.)
ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS to VOTE NO on this bill. Tell them you do not support lifting eligibility requirements for school vouchers or spending more tax dollars for students to attend private schools that have no accountability for how they spent funds.
Instead, ask your legislators for a MORATORIUM ON VOUCHERS! Let them know we want schools paid with our tax dollars to be accountable for educating kids and we want transparency in how our tax dollars are spent!
North Carolina legislators have allocated almost $77 million dollars for 2020-21 for the voucher program this year alone. Those tax dollars will be spent on tuition for unaccountable private (mostly religious schools) for students who may – or may not – receive a fair and equitable education.
What’s more, the funds will be placed in a reserve, meaning that unused money cannot revert to the General Fund. This action helps to siphon much needed funds from our public schools in order to benefit private and religious institutions that are unaccountable for the money they spend, the people they hire, the treatment of students, and the education they provide.
Tell your legislators that you do not support lifting the eligibility requirements or giving more unaccountable tax dollars to the school voucher program!
Let them know that you support a strong system of free public schools that provide all children with a good education, under the transparent guidance of locally elected leaders. Please sign our petition and help us keep public money in public schools.
Stop Using Public Tax Dollars for Private Education – SIGN NOW
Say No to HB 32 and SB 671!
These two bills will weaken and help erode our public education system in NC! We need to fully fund our public schools and stop diverting needed tax dollars to unaccountable, private, religious schools and to schools that do not accept all children!
Our public school funding is once more at risk! Ask your legislators to protect and strengthen our public schools by investing in them, not by taking public dollars and shifting them to unaccountable, private, religious schools. Our public schools must be adequately resourced to deliver all children an excellent education!
Rather than prioritizing the funding of Leandro, NC’s oldest and ongoing education lawsuit, the NCGA continues massive expansion of private school vouchers. Our traditional public school budgets are at great risk due to two proposed bills that would divert our tax dollars to religious and private schools and divert tax dollars from funding public schools to funding private education, primarily for families who never had any intention of attending public schools. Ask your legislator to vote NO on HB 32 and SB 671 by signing our petition below!
While Opportunity Scholarships have been presented as providing “equity” for students, they are really about religiosity and the privatization of education. Taking money from our public schools is not good for current or future students. Vouchers drain much needed resources from our “free, open to all students” public schools. Both SB671 and HB32 will substantially expand eligibility for the NC voucher program, funneling millions of taxpayer dollars to increasingly subsidize payments to families with children in private schools. This expansion is estimated to cost taxpayers a minimum of $159 million over the next nine years on top of the already billions of dollars allocated to the current voucher programs without the new proposed changes.
These proposed bills would divert even more money to private schools at a time when cash strapped traditional public schools are struggling to meet the many needs the pandemic has amplified. Even before the pandemic began, the movement to privatize education in NC has been decimating our traditional public schools and harming our academic at-risk students. Now, COVID-19 has added more risks to these vulnerable students. Opening our schools safely during COVID will require considerable investment to adequately support students as they return to school buildings. This should be our primary goal, not expanding funding to unaccountable, private, religious schools.
SB671 will go even further than HB32. This bill will increase eligibility to 324% of poverty ($85,794 for a family of four). Further the bills propose increasing the voucher payments from $4,200 a year to as much $6,586 (100% of the per pupil spending in public schools) without the ACCOUNTABILITY that our taxpayers deserve. This violates all reasonable business practices. Moving our state even further in the wrong direction at a time our public schools are struggling.
OVERVIEW CURRENT PROGRAM: The North Carolina General Assembly created the voucher program called Opportunity Scholarships in 2013 awarding $4,200 per year for qualifying students to attend participating nonpublic schools. The state issued tax money to private schools was delivered for the first time in the 2014-2015 school year.
Harmful impacts from vouchers include:
- Reducing funding for public schools
- Infringing on the separation of government and religion
- Funding separate and unequal education and foster segregation
- No protections for LGBTQ+ students
- Diverting tax dollars to private entities
- No academic improvement of student success
- Create/accelerate racial and economic segregation in our schools
- No prior public school enrollment requirement for entering second graders
- Increase value of the voucher
- Loosening of prior public school enrollment requirement in grades 3-12
- Diversion of funds to marketing efforts.
- Increase of administration funding
HB32 makes the following changes to North Carolina’s two other voucher programs: the Disabilities Grant voucher and Personal Education Savings Accounts vouchers. The bill would:
- Merge the two programs and changes the name
- Expand eligibility for the vouchers
- Enact different awards and carry-forward rules
- Relax eligibility verification to receive the vouchers
- Forward-funds the program and creates guaranteed funding increases through FY 2031-32
SB671 seeks to do much the same on points that matter like family income eligibility and voucher payment amount. Without the millions of dollars these changes would cost, the legislative changes from last year alone to the voucher program expansion are estimated at $272 million over the next 10 years. SB 671 also eliminates the eligibility requirements and supports changes to increase fraud in how the funds are used.
Education is a public good and a key ingredient in a healthy democracy. Public education is a cornerstone of democracy and is a critical public good that must be provided free and fairly without profit, to all students. Supporting public education helps provide the educational, social, and economic needs of our citizens and helps to advance equity. Your voice in advocating for our public schools is vital! Help us protect the promise in our state’s constitution: A sound and basic, high-quality public education, free and open to all.
Tell Legislators to Keep Schools Safe!
Keeping Our Schools Safe requires a safe learning environment for our students and teachers.
Every child, every teacher, every member of a school’s staff is entitled to a safe environment at school. No one should live with the fear that sending their kids to school may be placing them in harm’s way. No school staff should feel his or her lives are in jeopardy for simply showing up at work. Public Schools First NC supports legislation that works towards creating safe, secure schools for all our students and teachers including:
Keeping guns off school grounds and out of K-12 classrooms. Guns have no place at school unless being carried by trained and licensed school resource officers. Further, any gun carriers, no matter how well-trained with guns/active shooter scenarios, must have knowledge of the school and familiarity with the students and staff along with some basic knowledge of how to work appropriately with children. Volunteers without these criteria could actually increase the chaos in a school and create more risk than protection to our students.
Not arming teachers in our schools. There is no evidence that arming teachers will keep children safe at school. In fact, the research shows that arming teachers will actually make our students less safe. Using common sense, one can understand why this should not be the role or duty of our educators. Arming teachers actually increases the risks posed to our students. Both national teacher professional associations and gun safety experts agree on this point.
Increasing the number of counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and school nurses in schools based on national standards. Instead of adding financial burdens/liabilities on schools districts (taxpayers), spend more on helping professionals. For many children, school is the only safe and stable place in their lives. Kids are more likely to get needed mental health services at school than through any other place.
We have a critical need for more helping professionals in our public schools to help children cope with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), to intervene and to help these children have a better chance at academic success, to help students develop better relationships and reduce conflict with peers; all events that improve a child’s chance to live a more productive and healthy life. These helping professionals not only provide services to children but these professionals are needed to train and educate teachers and other support staff in being trauma-informed, responsive and compassionate adults. This training is needed if they are to help children moderate the impacts of trauma in their lives. Currently, our public schools are woefully understaffed to meet the needs of our trauma-impacted children.
- 1 school counselor for every 250 kids. NC pays for 1 for every 413 students.
- 1 social worker for every 250 children. NC pays for 1 per 1,922.
- 1 school psychologist for every 700 kids. NC pays for 1 per 2,483 students.
- 1 school nurse for every 750 kids. NC has one school nurse for every 1,072 children.
Only 50 schools in NC meet the ratio of 1 to 750.
Implementing violence prevention and threat-reporting programs at all schools. Administrators, teachers and other staff need to know how to teach students alternatives to violence including peaceful conflict resolution and positive interpersonal relationships skills. There are many excellent programs but this requires allocating resources and staff training time. Further, schools need staff trained in conducting threat assessment and risk-assessment procedures that can help prevent tragedies from occurring.
Increasing funding for school security as determined by local school districts. All schools must have ways to limit access to school buildings, monitor visitors, and prepare children and staff for physical safety threats, etc. This is an investment we must provide every school and provide the training needed to enforce strategies adopted by each school to keep children and staff safe.
Working with elected officials to pass comprehensive gun safety laws. You can advocate for ways to reduce risks posed to our school children. Keeping guns off school property ensures a safer and more supportive learning environment for our children but we also need more helping professionals, more restorative justice programs, and other constructive ways to improve school safety. Let’s ask for common sense, effective solutions that work.
Real Teacher Appreciation
Real teacher appreciation means attracting, retaining, and honoring our public school teachers.
In North Carolina, we have a lot to do to truly demonstrate our esteem for these dedicated professionals. We must:
- Attract the highest caliber students to teaching by:
- Paying teachers at or above the national average so that it is a viable career for college graduates
- Preserving state pension and retirement health benefits for new hires so that young people see a career path that will support families
- Retain our current teachers, who have more Board certifications than any other teacher-force in the nation by:
- Restoring Master’s pay and career status protections for all teachers
- Including our most experienced teachers in pay raise plans instead of having them plateau at 25+ years of experience even as their insurance costs rise
- Restoring support staff – including teacher assistants, school counselors, and enhancement teachers – so that these professionals can concentrate on core instruction to truly benefit our children
- Honor our retired teachers for their lifetime of commitment by:
- Providing annual COLA increases for their support, especially given that many continue to volunteer their hard-won expertise in local schools
- Refusing to codify budget provisions that prevent future COLA increases
Ask the House of Representatives to show real teacher appreciation for the good of our students and our state.
If we continue to disrespect our teachers, our schools and children will suffer for it.
We have the best and the brightest gracing our classrooms, and we must truly appreciate their efforts if we hope to keep them and attract others like them.
Tell Legislators to #PutTheCapBack
Our View: Charter schools have nearly doubled since the cap was lifted in 2011. Charter schools are largely unregulated, siphon money from traditional public schools and exacerbate segregation. Further, there is no evidence charters produce better long-term outcomes for students and they are not meeting the requirements of the state statute that created charter schools. It is time to put the cap back on the number of charter schools allowed. We propose a comprehensive review of charter student performance, fiscal management, and the impact of charter-related policies on students, public schooling, and taxpayers. Let’s stop adding new charters or expanding an existing one and have a reset! #PutTheCapBack
Quick Overview of Charters: The original NC charter school legislation was ratified in 1996 and authorized the establishment of up to 100 charter schools. For the 1997-98 school year, 34 charter schools opened their doors; by the early 2000s, the number of charter schools had leveled off in the 90s. The cap on the maximum number of charter schools allowed (100) was lifted in 2011. By the next year, nearly 45,000 students were enrolled in charter schools.
Currently, 185 charter schools, including two online or virtual charter schools, operate in North Carolina, serving approximately 101,000 children. Charter school students make up nearly 6.5% of the total student population for grades K-12. An additional eight schools received a favorable report in August from the State Board of Education to begin a planning year in preparation to open in August 2019. During the 2018 application year, seven other schools were granted a one-year delay in opening by the State Board of Education. These 15 schools, once all open, will bring the state’s total number of charter schools to 200. The deadline to apply to the Office of Charter Schools was October 1. Thirty-five applications were received for the 2020 school year.
Fully Fund Specials!
It is critical to ask the North Carolina Senate to FULLY FUND SPECIALS now!
Class size restrictions that will keep school districts from using classroom teacher funding to pay for specialized art, music, world languages, and PE instruction are looming just one year away. It is not fair to let these teachers worry for another year about having jobs! And it is not good practice to hamper local school districts’ fiscal and space planning for another year. School leaders should not have to choose between smaller class sizes and offering a robust, well-rounded education for all children.
North Carolina ranks 43rd in the nation for per pupil spending. Raising per pupil expenditure is the number one need of our school districts this year. Our legislators provide about $3,000 less per student than the national average and we are at the bottom compared to money spent per student in other Southern states. We should be at the national average!
Not only do we need to increase per pupil expenditure, we need to allow local school boards and superintendents the flexibility to use funds in ways that best meet their students’ needs. Our legislators have been micro-managing districts and this does not allow locally elected officials on the school board, city councils and county commissioners the flexibility they need to best serve their unique student populations.
SIGN TODAY to ask senators to put $325 million for specials teachers in the 2017-2019 biennial budget they are writing now. Ask them to fully fund our specials and invest in our children!
Tell the NCGA to Solve #ClassSizeChaos Now!
We have a special problem that needs solving. Impending K-3 class size restrictions are causing enormous problems for school districts: from the loss of specials teachers to ballooning upper elementary classes, from underfunded programming to classes held in hallways, class size chaos looms. This is not just a K-3 issue; it is a PreK-12 issue.
Hardship Waivers Should Be Allowed!
Restore HB13 to the Original Bill and ALLOW more Flexibility!
The NC General Assembly is scheduled to come back to Raleigh on January 10, 2018. During a special session in October, there were attempts in the House to amend the budget bill, reverting back to the flexibility allowed in the original HB13. The Senate would not pass that measure. This issue will be back on the agenda when the NCGA convenes next year.
When our NCGA members return in January 2018, they need to solve #ClassSizeChaos! It is not fair for parents, teachers and school leaders to continue to worry about the sufficiency of funding to keep their enhancement teachers or the tremendous chaos created as they try to meet mandated classroom space needs. Local school district leaders cannot adequately plan to meet the fiscal or space requirements and have stated to resort to worst case scenarios, strategies like capping schools, laying-off teachers, doubling up classes, significantly increasing class sizes in grades 4 and 5 – all to find extra classroom space and money needed to keep their enhancement teachers. Simply put, the has become a disaster for our children by disrupting their school and learning environments.
What Do School Districts Want?
- Local school districts want the NCGA to restore the original HB13 bill to allow more local flexibility in K-3 class sizes.
- Further, our school districts are asking to have the enhancement teachers FULLY funded in January to allow time for local budgeting and to avoid lay-offs.
- At a minimum, school districts need an option for obtaining hardship waivers to allow for more time to deal with these unfunded mandates. Legislators could provide waiver mechanisms for the many districts that simply cannot reconcile K-3 class size restrictions with offering a robust, well-rounded education for all children. A hardship waiver for school districts that can justify the need for more time to find qualified teachers and additional classroom space should be allowed.
- Finally, please join us is asking legislators to restore the 4th and 5th grade class size caps that they removed in 2013! Class size matters at all K-12 age levels. We are putting the burden of lowering class sizes in K-3 on the shoulders of our 4th and 5th grade students as they prepare for middle school.
Our elected representatives need to know how seriously we take the impending fiasco caused by unfunded K-3 class size restrictions. School districts need guaranteed funding and more time!
When you write to your legislators, please use the #ClassSizeChaos hashtag so they can see our collective concern and support for making changes to class size restrictions and their implementation process.