HB514 Permit Municipal Charter School/Certain Towns. This bill would allow Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill, majority white suburbs of Charlotte, to create their own charter schools. Further, they will be permitted to restrict access to local residents. In the recently passed budget amendments, a related provision (38.8) allows local municipalities to use (and raise) property taxes to fund schools. It is worrisome that this will exacerbate existing segregation and inequality. Charlotte is already experiencing high levels of segregation. Additionally, taxpayers could see increases in tax bills as localities take on school funding responsibilities. Many public school advocates think these related pieces of legislation will eventually be found unconstitutional. Also troubling is worry that this legislation could return North Carolina back to a time when the quality of education was inequitably distributed based on one’s zip code. On June 6, 2018, the N.C. House approved HB 514 with a 64-53 vote. Ordered enrolled, ratified Ch. SL 2018-3. Public school advocates have serious concerns about segregation, inequity. It is being treated as a local law and therefore does not require the governor’s signature.
HB 965 would force all public schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust” in “at least one prominent location of each school. The proposed bill, titled the National and State Mottoes in Schools Act, has generated differing opinions. Some see the move as a political attempt to gain conservative votes during a contentious midterm election season. Some see it as a positive, innocuous step, meant to teach U.S. history. Others worry it is the start of a dangerous trend that could blur the separation of church and state. As Stu Egan noted in his online column, all four of the bill’s primary sponsors are members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, a conservative group aligned with the religious right and focused on preserving “religious liberty”. In their detailed document, otherwise known as “Project Blitz,” they outline plans for legislation and sophisticated strategies for implementing their agenda. It begins with requiring the display of the national motto in all schools. As noted by Frederick Clarkson, a Senior Research Analyst at Political Research Associates, “The bills are seemingly unrelated and range widely in content—from requiring public schools to display the national motto, “In God We Trust” (IGWT); to legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ people; to religious exemptions regarding women’s reproductive health.” He compares this strategy to that used by large corporations in ALEC-created legislation. We certainly hope this is not the start of an agenda that would seriously hurt some of our most vulnerable student populations. This bill passed the second reading in the house with a 94-15 vote. It has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
HB 273 Charter Schools in State Health Plan. This bill would allow Coastal Preparatory Academy, Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, Pine Springs Preparatory Academy, and Unity Classical Charter School to elect to participate in the State Health Plan for teachers and state employees and Retirement. Filed 3/7/17, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Pensions re-referred to Appropriations Committee, reported favorable, placed on calendar for 6/07/18, passed 2nd reading, passed 3rd reading, sent to Senate, passed 1st reading in Senate, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
HB 932 Anonymous Safety Tip Line Application. This bill would establish a statewide anonymous safety tip line for schools developed in coordination with law enforcement and social service agencies. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB933 Reciprocity/School Psychologist Licensure. This bill would grant a license to practice as a school psychologist to any person who holds the nationally certified school psychologist credential in an effort to address declining numbers of certified school psychologists in NC and the critical need to hire more. Filed 5/16/18 passed 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading, ordered engrossed, passed 1st reading in Senate, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
HB 934 Threat Assessment Teams/ Peer to Peer Counselors. This bill would require threat assessment teams in public schools and require peer to peer student counseling programs. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee, reported favorable, re-referred to Appropriations Committee. Passed 1st reading in Senate, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. The first amendment to this bill clarifies that a healthcare provider may disclose health information to members of a threat assessment team who are school nurses, school psychologists, or other licensed healthcare personnel, when that information pertains to a student who is an eminent threat to school staff or students. The second amendment to this bill requires that superintendents or designee notify individuals if they are the subject of a threat. This amendment also requires that, if a student is the subject of a threat, the superintendent or designee notify the parent or guardian of that student.
HB 935 Add Piedmont Community Charter School to SHP. This bill would Would allow Piedmont Community Charter School to participate in the State Health Plan for teachers and state employees Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Pensions and Retirement, re-referred to Committee on State and Local Government II, placed on calendar for 6/7/18, passed 1st reading in Senate, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. Placed on calendar for 6/7/18, passed 1st reading in Senate, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
HB 936 Allow Durham Public Schools to Provide Housing. This bill would authorize the Durham Public Schools Board of Education to provide affordable rental housing for teachers and employees of Durham Public Schools. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on State and Local Government II.
HB 937 SROs Defined/Training Standards Would define school safety resource officers and require training standards for those officers, as recommended by the House Select Committee on School Safety. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB 938 Expand Use/School Risk Management Plans. This bill would require charter schools, regional schools, and UNC laboratory schools to develop a school risk management plan and hold school safety exercises. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee, reported favorable, cal pursuant rule 36(b). passed 1st reading in Senate, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. This bill was amended, and passed its second and third reading in the House on Monday, June 4th. The amendment requires that all LEAs report the date and time of mandatory annual lockdown drills to the Center for Safer Schools. The amended bill is currently in the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
HB 939 School Building Vulnerability Assessments. This bill would direct the Center for Safer Schools to develop a facility vulnerability assessment tool and direct schools to assess each school building annually. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB 940 SROs Report to Center for Safer Schools. This bill would direct schools to boards of education to report to the Center for Safer Schools about school resource officers. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB941 Increase Funding for SRO Grant. This bill would appropriate additional funds for SROs. Filed 5/16/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB 962/SB 720 Expand Use/School Risk Management Plans. This bill would require charter schools, regional schools, and UNC laboratory schools to develop a school risk management plan and hold school safety exercises. Filed 5/17/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB 976, titled Extreme Risk Protection Orders. The legislation set forth in this bill would temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms only if there was evidence that the individual intended to harm themselves or others. The text of this draft bill reminds us that every year 100,000 people are victims of gunshot wounds, and of that number, 30,000 are fatally injured. In almost every instance of mass shootings in recent news, reports have come forth that others were aware of the shooter’s intent. Even if that information is known, there is little law enforcement can do to restrict a dangerous individual’s access to weapons. We support red flag laws such as this, which have been proposed and passed in several other states such as Florida, Maryland, Vermont, and Delaware. The stated purpose of the proposed legislation is to reduce gun deaths and injuries WHILE respecting constitutional rights. We think this is an extremely reasonable bill. Disappointingly, just one day after filing, this common-sense proposal was sent to the rules committee without a discussion. The equivalent senate bill, SB 734 was filed on May 23.
HB 988/SB 731 Extend Pilot/Virtual Charter School. This bill extends the virtual charter pilot program for four more school years. Notably, both virtual schools were low performing according to state assessment data in recent testing years. Filed 5/22/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Education Committee.
HB 1034 Funds for Smart Start Healthy Dev. Initiative. This bill would appropriate funds to the North Carolina Partnership for Children Inc. for an initiative to promote young children’s healthy development. Filed 5/29/18, passed first reading, referred to Committee on Health.
HB1039 School Self-Defense Act. This bill would authorize certain members of the faculty or staff of a school to carry a handgun on school grounds to respond to acts of violence or an imminent threat of violence. Guns on school campuses are concerning for many reasons. This bill passed the first reading and was referred to the Committee in Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House.
HB 1048 titled Require Equal Access to Advanced Classes. This bill would identify as academically or intellectually gifted any student in third through seventh grade who achieves level five on the math EOGs test or who scores at or above the 90th percentile on an aptitude test given to identify gifted students. This bill was filed on 5/30/18. It passed the first reading and was referred to the Committee on Education.
HB 1051, Restore Master’s Supplement for Teachers. This bill would appropriate funds to reinstate education- based salary supplements for the “M” salary schedule. Filed 5/31/18.
HB 1068 School Performance Improvement Study Commission. This bill would establish the School Performance Improvement Study Commission to study alternative models to replace the Innovative School District as a method of improving school performance in low-performing schools. Filed 5/31/18.
HB 1070 Safer Schools, Healthier Kids Act. This bill would temporarily restrict a person’s access to firearms if there is evidence that the person poses a danger of harm to self or others; require a permit for purchase of assault weapon or long gun; prohibit the sale of an assault weapon or long gun to a person of a certain age; prohibit sale or possession of bump stocks. Filed 5/31/18.
HB 1075 Restore Teaching to an Honored Profession This bill would require that NC A&T be selected to participate in the NC Teaching Fellows program; would reinstate education-based salary supplements for certain school employees; would fund professional development outlined in Governor’s proposal; and establish the master teacher pilot program. Filed on 5/31/18.
HB 1081 Transfer of School Support Personnel Funds. This bill would prohibit the transfer of funds allocated for school nurses, psychologists, social workers, and school resource officers unless they are sent to another local board of education for the same purpose. Filed 5/31/18.
SB 531 School Boards Can’t Sue Counties. This bill would prohibit local boards of education from filing legal actions challenging the sufficiency of the funding from local boards of county commissioners. This bill was re-referred to the House Committee on Finance on 6/6/18.
SB 15 ISD and Local Board Contracting Changes
On Tuesday, June 5th, the House Education K-12 Committee gave a favorable report to a proposed committee substitute (PCS) of this bill. This PCS makes several changes to the Innovative School District (ISD) Including:
- Require that the State Board of Education select potential innovative schools by November 15th.
- Require that local boards of education respond to selection by December 15th with either a closure plan or a resolution to transfer the school into the ISD.
- Give first priority to the IS operator in capital expenditures.
- Dictates the timeline for a memorandum of understanding between the IS operator and local board of education is now 45 days.
- The ISD superintendent must now approve the principal of any innovative school.
- Teachers will retain career status, such as tenure, if their school becomes an innovative school.
- Allowing schools that have pursued a reform model such as restart to be considered for inclusion in the ISD.
- Increase the number of schools the ISD superintendent may select per year from 1 to 2. This increase would take effect in the 2021-22 school year and would only be allowed if existing ISD schools that have been in the program three or more years have earned a grade C or higher.
- Eligible schools for the innovation zone are allowed, rather than required to become an innovate school.
- Allows local boards of education in smaller districts to contract with the spouse of the superintendent.
SB 718 Revise Principal Compensation This bill attempts to amend inadequacies of the 2017 principal pay plan by making adjustments and providing a bonus schedule. Some highlights of this bill are as follows: the maintenance of principals’ current salary for the remainder of 2018, redefining a demotion to exclude any reduction in pay resulting from the new pay scale, a combination of previously separate bonuses into one for principals at schools in the top 50% for measured school growth, and doubling the bonus amount for eligible principals who supervise schools previously at the D or F level. Filed 5/16/18. Passed first reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
SB 726 titled Go Big for Early Education. Sponsored by Senators Jackson, Foushee & Waddell, this bill would provide increased funds for the NC Pre-K Program and North Carolina Partnership for Children, increase the reimbursement rate for NC Pre-k slots by 3% in fiscal year 2018-2019, and provide a tax credit for eligible early education directors and teachers. The bill appropriates the following amounts for each fiscal year:
2022-2023, and each year after $154,695,673
Additionally, for the next five years, funding for North Carolina Partnership for Children will be increased by $20 million dollars.
The refundable tax credits set forth in this legislation are determined by service years and educational attainment.
Tax credits range from $500-$2,000 depending on qualifications. SB 726 would help ensure more eligible children are enrolled in Pre-K programs and it would attract more well-qualified teachers to the field with tax incentives. Quality Early childhood education builds the foundation for a strong future, one all our children deserve. We are pleased to see this proposed legislation. Filed 5/21/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
SB 737 Safer Schools, Healthier Kids Act. This bill would authorize temporary restriction of access to firearms for persons exhibiting an intent to harm others or themselves. Would also require a permit to purchase an assault weapon or long gun, prohibit the sale of these weapons to persons under a certain age, prohibit the sale of bump stocks and similar devices and appropriate funds for the anonymous tip line and public safety improvements. Filed 5/23/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
SB 739 Lottery School Safety Grants. This bill would establish a grant program to provide safety resources to schools using funds from the NC Education Lottery. Filed 5/23/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
SB 745 Fully Fund School Counselors & Psychologists. This bill would fully fund school counselors and psychologists over three years. Filed 5/24/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
SB 746 Expand Local Option Sales Tax for Education. This bill would allow Carrabus Co, to use local option tax revenue for education. Filed 5/24/18
SB 747 Funds for Smart Start Healthy Development Initiative. This bill would appropriate finds to NC Partnership for Children Inc. to promote young children’s healthy development. Filed 5/24/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate
SB 756 School Security Act of 2018. This bill would allow law enforcement agencies to obtain certification for candidate teacher resource officers, provide supplemental pay to teacher resource officers, and encourage private schools to coordinate with law enforcement to adopt school risk management plans; would allow people with concealed handgun permits to carry weapons on educational property that is a school and place of worship as long as students are not attending class. Filed 5/24/18. This bill passed the first reading and was referred to the Committee in Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House.
SB 793 School Nurses Reform. This bill would direct the State Board of Education to recommend a school nurse staffing standard and develop an implementation plan. It would also consolidate some school-based nursing funding programs and requires examination on Medicaid rates for school based nursing services. Hopefully this will help with the critical need for more school nurses. Filed on 5/31/18.
SB 804 Authorize Teacher-Gov’t Employee Housing/Bertie This bill would authorize the Windsor Township development commission and Bertie County to collaborate to provide affordable rental housing units to teachers and other government employees. Filed 6/5/18, passed 1st reading, referred to Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.
Last revised June 11, 2018