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March 11, 2011: Legislative Update

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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

March 11, 2011

 

 Committee Meetings March 14 – March 17

 
Tuesday Committee Meetings
8:30 a.m.
Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 421 LOB

10:00 a.m.
House Committee on Education, 643 LOB
         SB 8 No Cap on Charter Schools

12:00 p.m.
House Committee on Transportation, 643 LOB
         HB 145 Work/School Zones/Camera Pilot Program

4:00 p.m. or 15 minutes after session (whichever is later)
Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 421 LOB

 

Wednesday Committee Meetings
8:30 a.m.
Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 421 LOB

10:00 a.m.
Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education, 544 LOB
       SB 137 Establish Forgivable Loan Program
       SB 154 Abolish Higher Education Bond Oversight

4:00 p.m. or 15 minutes after session (whichever is later)
Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 421 LOB

Thursday Committee Meetings
8:30 a.m.
Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, 421 LOB

 

Summary of Key Legislation and Additional Resources

Budget discussions continue.
This week, the Joint Subcommittee on Education Appropriations reviewed potential cuts to the public school budget, using a chart that includes 5% and 10% reductions provided by DPI, the Governor’s proposed budget, and other options provided by Fiscal Research staff.  This document is available on our legislative program website, http://legislative.ncpublicschools.gov/resources-for-legislators.  The Fiscal Research staff also reviewed the public school funding formula study produced by Augenblick.  The staff presentation and the study also are posted on our website.  Of all the recommendations in this report, the one that garnered some attention was to modify the children with disabilities allotment to address severity of the disability.  Fiscal research staff will be providing additional information to the subcommittee on this item.

Next week, the Joint Subcommittee will continue its review of potential budget cuts, focusing Tuesday on higher education.  The Joint Subcommittee is scheduled to also meet on Wednesday in the morning and afternoon and again on Thursday but the agenda has not been set for these meetings.  While there is considerable conversation around the leadership’s intentions for budget cuts, there is no specific guidance at this time. 

The Governor’s proposed budget includes the transfer of workers’ compensation claims to local school districts.  The DPI Division of School Support has produced a one-page explanation of the issue.  This can be found on our legislative webpage under the “Budget” section, http://legislative.ncpublicschools.gov/resources-for-legislators

We urge you to be in contact with your legislators to explain the impact of potential budget cuts on students. The timeframe for putting together the budget is very aggressive:  please also share with your legislators your interest in the General Assembly taking the time necessary to thoughtfully make very difficult decisions. 

And now the review of substantive legislation.

SB 8 No Cap on the Number of Charter Schools (Stevens)
An Act to remove the cap on the number of charter schools.

  • Recent Action:
    3/1/2011 Passed 1st Reading
    3/1/2011 Referred to the Committee on Education, if favorable, Finance; Calendared for Tuesday,
    March 15 in House Committee on Education

 

HB 247 Enhance Charter School Accountability (Glazier, Cotham, Rapp, Lucas)
An act to eliminate the cap on charter schools, to establish the North Carolina Charter School Commission, to provide for enhanced accountability for charter school academic performance, and to make other changes to the charter school statutes.

  • Recent Action:
    3/09/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education, if favorable, Appropriations.

This week the House Education Committee began discussions of Senate Bill 8 on Charter Schools.   At the beginning of the meeting Senator Stevens shared a proposed committee substitute (“PCS”) that made changes to the version of S8 that passed the Senate.   The changes were intended to address concerns raised about the bill.  The PCS sets a minimum enrollment size of 50 (instead of none in senate version of S8 and 65 unless waiver in existing law).   Rather than completely unrestricted growth, the PCS sets a limit of 50 additional charter schools per year.  It also amends the local funding to provide that special funds of individual schools are not shared with charter schools.  The intent appears to have been to address monies collected at the school level as a part of special projects or fund-raising.  However, since many of these funds are submitted for accounting purposes to the central office, they would not be covered by this provision.  For a full review of S8, you may review the report prepared by research staff of the General Assembly that is available on our website. 

There are numerous issues still to be considered.  The committee chairs set a deadline of Thursday, March 10, for amendments to be submitted.  If leadership intends to submit another proposed committee substitute, it will be shared on Monday.  We will post the bill on our website if we receive it.  Deliberations will continue on Tuesday at 10:00.  House Democrats also have filed a bill that provides their plan for strategic growth of charter schools.  This has not been calendared for discussion.

The State Board is on record for supporting incremental growth of charter schools.  Of continued concern with S8 is the governance structure that now provides for a very limited role of the State Board of veto power with a ¾ vote.  This raises significant constitutional concerns as well as policy considerations of creating dual school systems.  Senate Bill 8 also prohibits the Commission or State Board from restricting enrollment growth which could allow the expansion of a charter school that is not meeting the academic needs of students.  The local funding requirements are unclear which could lead to further litigation between charter schools and school districts.  The State Board’s position is that these issues must be addressed in order to provide for growth of quality charter schools in a way that supports the public school system.

HB 48 No Standardized Testing Unless Req'd by Feds (Holloway, Blackwell, Hilton, Cotham)
An Act to reduce spending by eliminating statewide standardized testing in the public schools, except as required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant.

  • Recent Action:
    3/7/2011 Ratified
    3/8/2011 Presented to the Governor

This week, House Bill 48 was presented to the governor.  The Governor has the option to sign it, allow it to go into law without her signature, or to veto it.   If it becomes law, it then may be subject to judicial scrutiny.

As background reported in earlier updates, this legislation eliminates all of the end of course assessments in Physical Science, Algebra II, United States History, Civics and Economics; and it prohibits the State Board from requiring public schools to administer any standardized test not required by federal law or as a “condition” of a federal grant. The State Board has maintained that the tests are a critical part of the high school accountability model and that it violates the Constitution as interpreted by the North Carolina Supreme Court to eliminate these tests.  By the terms of the legislation, the State Board has the opportunity prior to June 1 to alternative assessment strategies.  We provided copies of a brief overview of the overall plan for standards, assessment, and accountability at the Senate Education Committee.  This is available on our website (under “Education Reform”).

Other significant action:

Legislators have introduced numerous bills related to calendar flexibility but none have been taken up for action.  House Bill 175 restores local flexibility; H197/S283 address inclement weather; and H132/S62 provide for virtual learning on snow days.  The State Board supports calendar flexibility.  We encourage you to be in touch with leadership of the General Assembly (see our document – Leadership at a Glance for names) if you want for these bills to be heard.

Also introduced this week is House Bill 253, Home Schoolers Participate in School Sports.  This provides requirements and the process for home schooled students to participate in interscholastic athletics.   Similar bills have been introduced in prior sessions of the General Assembly.  The State Board has concerns primarily regarding the assessment of academic eligibility.  We encourage you to review the details of the bill closely and be in contact with your legislators.

An introduced bill with a budget impact for local school districts is House Bill 334, Report on Fitness Testing in Schools.  In a prior session of the General Assembly, the State Board was directed to adopt guidelines for evidence-based fitness testing (codified in G.S. § 115C-12(37).  This bill requires an annual report on the results of the fitness tests.  Unless funds are designated for this in the budget, this will be an additional cost to implement the tests placed on local school districts.

Listing of Bills with Impact on Students and Public Schools

(bills listed in BOLD had action the week of March 7- March 10)

Note:  “Passed first reading” is the language used on the General Assembly website to describe when the bill has been introduced; it does not reflect a vote on the bill.
 

HB 41 Tax Fairness in Education (Stam, Hager, Collins, Brawley)
An Act to allow an individual income tax credit for part of the expense of avoided public education and to authorize counties to appropriate funds for children educated other than in public schools.

  • Recent Action:
    2/07/11 Referred to the House Committee on Education, if favorable, Finance.

 

HB 48  No Standardized Testing Unless Req'd by Feds (Holloway, Blackwell, Hilton, Cotham)
An Act to reduce spending by eliminating statewide standardized testing in the public schools, except as required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant.

  • Recent Action:
    3/7/2011 Ratified
    3/8/2011 Presented to the Governor


HB 51 PTA Parental Involvement/Dropout Prev. Funds (Lucas, Glazier)
An Act to appropriate funds for the North Carolina PTA Parent Involvement/Dropout Prevention Initiative.

  • Recent Action:
    2/10/11 Re-referred to House Committee on Appropriations

 

HB 61 Speaker/Pro Tem Term Limits (Blust, Tillis)
An Act amending the North Carolina Constitution to limit the terms of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to two General Assemblies.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/11 Withdrawn from House Committee on Judiciary.
    3/10/11 Referred to the Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee A.

 

HB 67 (SB 83) Wilson County School Board (Tolson, Farmer-Butterfield)
An Act to change the date that members of the Wilson County Board of Education take office and to fix an error in a 1987 local act relating to that board.

  • Recent Action:
    2/24/11 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Rules, Operations of the Senate.


HB 73 Eugenics Program-Support and Education (Womble, Parmon)
An Act to provide counseling benefits to eugenics survivors, to direct the Department Of Health and Human Services to establish a database of Eugenics Program participants and verify the status of persons contacting the state to determine their participation in the state program, to direct the State Board of Education to include information about the program in its k‑12 history curriculum, to direct the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina to direct appropriate faculty and students to conduct interviews with survivors, to recommend creation of an ethics training module for state, county, and local government employees, and to direct the Department of Cultural Resources to digitize existing records for preservation and study purposes.

  • Recent Action:
    2/14/2011 Referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services, if favorable, Appropriations.

 

HB 87 Sunshine Amendment (LaRoque, T. Moore)
An Act to provide for government in the sunshine by amending the North Carolina Constitution.

  • Recent Action:
    2/14/2011 Referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.

 

HB 94 Local Flexibility Re: School Calendar (Lucas, Bell)
An Act to permit local boards of education to set school calendars for their local school administrative units.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Assigned to the Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Business and Labor.

 

HB 131 Funds/One School Superintendent per County (Parmon, Lucas)
An Act directing the State Board of Education to provide funds for only one local school superintendent per county.

  • Recent Action:
    2/21/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education, if favorable, Appropriations.

 

HB 132 Make Up Snow Days With Distance Learning (Lucas)
An Act to allow local school administrative units to make up snow days by requiring students to complete lessons posted online.

  • Recent Action:
    2/21/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education.

 

HB 145 Work/School Zones-Speed Camera Pilot Program (Glazier, Murray, Rapp, Jordan)
An Act to establish a pilot program to improve public safety by authorizing the use of electronic speed measuring systems by the Department of Transportation to detect speed limit violations in highway work and school zones, to establish standards for the approval, use, and calibration of electronic speed measuring systems, to establish a civil penalty for speed violations in work and school zones that are detected by those systems, to create a new special fund within the state civil penalty and forfeiture fund, to provide for the payment of the penalties into the designated special fund, and to decrease the amount of highway funds transferred to the Department of Public Instruction for drivers education.

  • Recent Action:
    2/21/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Transportation, if favorable, Judiciary Subcommittee A, if favorable, Finance.


HB 175 Putting Students First/Local Control (Burr, Folwell, Hager, Rapp)
An Act to amend the school calendar law to put students first and to restore local control.

  • Recent Action:
    2/24/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education, if favorable, Commerce and Job Development.

 

HB 181 (SB 124) Add Supt. to NC Econ. Dev. Bd. (Glazier)
An Act to add the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to the Economic Development Board, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Joining Our Businesses and Schools (Jobs) Study Commission.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Assigned to Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Business and Labor.

 

HB 185 School Calendar Flexibility (Randleman)
An Act to authorizing local boards of education to adopt consolidated calendars.

  • Recent Action:
    2/28/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education.

 

HB 197 School Calendar Flexibility/Inclement Weather (Frye, Jordan, Rapp, West)
An Act to give certain local boards of education additional flexibility with regard to instructional time lost due to inclement weather.

  • Recent Action:
    3/03/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education.

 

HB 200 Appropriations Act of 2011 (Brubaker)
An Act to make base budget appropriations for current operations of state departments, institutions, and agencies, and for other purposes.

  • Recent Action:
    3/02/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

 

HB 210 (SB 184) Building Code/School Animal Husbandry Bldgs. (Brisson, Glazier, Lucas, Parfitt)
An Act to exempt from building rules structures that are associated with an animal husbandry program operated by a local school administrative unit and located on school property.

  • Recent Action:
    3/03/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education.

 

HB 218 Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity (Insko, L. Brown, Johnson, and Weiss_
An Act to establish the Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity.

  • Recent Action:
    3/03/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.

 

HB 238 State Health Plan/Repeal Penalties (Dollar, Blackwell, Harrison, and Hurley)
An Act to repeal the body mass index (BMI) and tobacco use penalties from the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

  • Recent Action:
    3/07/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Health and Human Services, if favorable, State Personnel. 


HB 244 (SB 282) State Health Plan/Add Sterling Montessori (Stein)
An Act to authorize Sterling Montessori Academy and charter school to elect to participate in the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

  • Recent Action:
    3/08/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Insurance.

 

HB 247 Enhance Charter School Accountability (Glazier, Cotham, Rapp, Lucas)
An act to eliminate the cap on charter schools, to establish the North Carolina Charter School Commission, to provide for enhanced accountability for charter school academic performance, and to make other changes to the charter school statutes.

  • Recent Action:
    3/09/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education, if favorable, Appropriations.

 

HB 253 Home Schoolers Participate in School Sports (Dixon, Cleveland)
An Act to permit home schooled students to participate in interscholastic athletics.

  • Recent Action:
    3/09/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education.

 

HB 264 (SB 125) NC School of Biotechnology and Agriscience (Glazier)
An Act to create the North Carolina school of Agriscience And Biotechnology, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Joining Our Businesses and Schools (Jobs) Study Commission upon the recommendations of the Agriscience and Biotechnology Regional School Planning Commission.

  • Recent Action:
    3/09/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Education.

 

HB 278 Update Savings Bond Payroll Savings Program (Hastings)
An Act to update the Payroll Savings Program for savings bonds to reflect recent changes made by the United States Treasury Department.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the House.

 

HB 288 North Carolina Science Olympiad Funds (Glazier, Weiss, Parmon, Michaux)
An Act to appropriate funds to expand the North Carolina Science Olympiad to all one hundred counties.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

 

HB 320 (SB 278) Continue P3 Study (McGee, Ross, McComas, Carney)
An Act to continue the study of public-private partnerships by a Legislative Study Commission.
Filed 3/9/2011

 

HB 322 Haywood School Board Filing Period (Rapp, Haire)
An Act to allow the Haywood County Board of Elections to extend the filing period if no person files for a seat on the Haywood County Board of Education.
Filed 3/9/2011

 

HB 334 Report on Fitness Testing in Schools (Insko, Bell, Harrison, LaRoque)
An Act to require the State Board of Education to report on the results of fitness testing in each local school administrative unit.
Filed 3/10/2011

SENATE BILLS

SB 8 No Cap on the Number of Charter Schools (Stevens)
An Act to remove the cap on the number of charter schools.

  • Recent Action:
    3/1/2011 Referred to the Committee on Education, if favorable, Finance; Calendared for Tuesday,
    March 15 in House Committee on Education


SB 13 Balanced Budget Act of 2011 (Stevens, Brunstetter, Hunt)
An Act to enact the Balanced Budget Act of 2011.

  • Recent Action:
    3/9/2011 Withdrawn from Committee, placed on Senate Calendar for 3/9/2011
    3/9/2011 Veto Overridden
    3/9/2011 Sent to the House, received and read.

 

SB 49 Increase Fine for Speeding/School Zones (Allran)
An Act to increase the fine for speeding in a school zone from twenty five dollars to two hundred fifty dollars.

  • Recent Action:
    3/1/2011 Passed 2nd and 3rd reading in the Senate, Engrossed.
    3/3/2011 Passed 1st reading in the House, referred to the Committee on Judiciary, if favorable, Finance.

 

SB 62 Make up Snow days with Distance Learning (Mansfield)
An Act to allow local school administrative units to make up snow days by requiring students to complete lessons posted online.

  • Recent Action:
    2/14/2011 Referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

 

SB 67 Sunshine Amendment (Clary, Tucker, Goolsby)
An Act to provide for government in the sunshine by amending the North Carolina Constitution.

  • Recent Action:
    2/16/2011 Referred to the Senate Judiciary I Committee
    Calendared for Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House on Wednesday, March 4.

 

SB 83 (HB 67) Wilson County School Board (Newton)
An Act to change the date that members of the Wilson County Board of Education take office and to fix an error in a 1987 local act relating to that board.

  • Recent Action:
    3/8/2011 passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Government.

 

SJR 90 State Board of Education Confirmations (Tillman, Preston, Soucek)
A Joint Resolution providing for confirmation of appointments by the Governor to the State Board of Education.

  • Recent Action:
    2/22/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Education/Higher Education.

 

SJR 92 State Board of Education Confirmations (Tillman, Preston, Soucek)
A Joint Resolution providing for a joint session of the General Assembly to act on A Joint Resolution providing for confirmation of the appointments by the Governor of new members to the State Board of Education.

  • Recent Action:
    2/22/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Education/Higher Education.

 

SB 115 Coverage of Treatment of Autism Disorders (Purcell, Garrou, Mansfield)
An Act to require health benefit plans, including the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, to provide coverage for treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

  • Recent Action:
    2/21/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Insurance.

 

SB 124 Add Supt. to NC Econ. Dev. Bd. (Brown, Hartsell)
An Act to add the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to the Economic Development Board, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Joining Our Businesses and Schools (Jobs) Study Commission.

  • Recent Action:
    2/28/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred Committee on State and Local Government.

 

SB 125 NC School of Biotechnology and Agriscience (Brown, Hartsell)
An Act to create the North Carolina school of Agriscience And Biotechnology, as recommended by the Joint Legislative Joining Our Businesses and Schools (Jobs) Study Commission upon the recommendations of the Agriscience and Biotechnology Regional School Planning Commission.

  • Recent Action:
    2/28/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred Committee on Commerce.

 

SB 140 Leadership Limits/Gubernatorial Team Ticket (Apodaca, Brunstetter, Tucker)
An Act to amend the North Carolina Constitution to limit the speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to three consecutive two year terms in those offices, and to provide that the Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall run together in the general election.

  • Recent Action:
    2/28/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred Committee on Rules, Calendar and Operations of the Senate.

 

SB 169 Study Innovations/Incentives in Education (Hartsell)
An Act creating The Innovations in Education Legislative Study Commission to study the feasibility of offering financial incentives to students for quality academic performance.

  • Recent Action:
    3/3/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to Education/Higher Education. If favorable, re-referred to Appropriations/Base Budget.

 

SB 172 Classroom Experience for School Personnel (Hartsell)
An Act to give classroom experience to professional public school employees who are not classroom teachers.

  • Recent Action:
    3/3/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to Education/Higher Education.

 

SB 184 (HB 210) Building Code/School Animal Husbandry Bldgs. (Brisson, Glazier, Lucas, Parfitt)
An Act to exempt from building rules structures that are associated with an animal husbandry program operated by a local school administrative unit and located on school property.

  • Recent Action:
    3/03/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Education/Higher Education.

 

SB 265 Transfer State Health Plan to State Treasurer (Apodaca, Brunstetter, Hartsell)
An Act to transfer the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees to the Department of State Treasurer.

  • Recent Action:
    3/09/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Pension & Retirement and Aging.

 

SB 278 (HB 320) Continue P3 Study (Jenkins)
An Act to continue the study of public-private partnerships by a Legislative Study Commission.

  • Recent Action:
    3/09/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate.

 

SB 282 (HB 244) State Health Plan/Add Sterling Montessori (Stein)
An Act to authorize Sterling Montessori Academy and charter school to elect to participate in the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Insurance.

 

SB 283 School Calendar Flexibility/Inclement Weather (Hise)
An Act to address school days missed by mountain counties due to inclement weather.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Education/Higher Education.

 

SB 296 Cooperative Innovative High School Programs (Atwater, McKissick)
An Act to broaden the definition of cooperative innovative high school programs.

  • Recent Action:
    3/10/2011 Passed 1st reading in the Senate, referred to the Committee on Education/Higher Education.

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