June 5, 2015 Legislative Update

 

In This Issue...

  1. NC Court of Appeals Rules Tenure Repeal Unconstitutional
  2. PENC Requested Repeal of Personal Education Plan Signed by Gov. McCrory
  3. Senate Budget Work Continues Behind Closed Doors
  4. House Approves Senate Revisions to Teacher Attrition Data

NC Court of Appeals Rules Tenure Repeal Unconstitutional

In a split decision, a three judge panel decided against the State of North Carolina and ruled a 2013 law enacted to strip educators of the career status they earned unconstitutional. The ruling upheld a 2014 Superior Court decision and stated that the 2013 budget provision, which would have phased out tenure by 2018, amounted to an unconstitutional taking of property rights. Also consistent with the Superior Court’s ruling, this decision does not apply to educators who had not earned tenure. Reports indicated that the Senate and House leadership are exploring appeal options. You can read the Raleigh News and Observer’s coverage of this issue here. WRAL also covered this issue and you can see that coverage here.


PENC Requested Repeal of Personal Education Plan Signed by Gov. McCrory

With the stroke of Gov. McCrory’s pen on June 2, H 237, Repeal Personal Education Plans, became law! The bill repeals the obsolete Personal Education Plans  time consuming paperwork that PENC members have said over many years is duplicative and outmoded. In surveys over several years, PENC members asked for PEPs to be repealed, citing the redundancy of the paperwork and the obsolescence of PEPs in light of new data collection methods.Teachers know which students are at risk of academic failure and they know what needs to be done in order to ensure these students are successful.They also shared that in some cases PEPs were prepared for students not required by law. This legislation does not deny services to any students. LEAs must adopt policies that direct school improvement teams to develop plans to include successful transition between elementary and middle school and between middle and high school for students at risk.

PENC thanks Representatives Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) and Bryan Holloway (R-Stokes) for their sponsorship and advocacy efforts in support of the bill and Gov. Pat McCrory for signing the bill.


Senate Budget Work Continues Behind Closed Doors

Since receiving (or even before receiving) the budget from the House on May 26, Senate budget writers have worked on its response, primarily behind closed doors. The Senate appropriations subcommittees met publicly only once – on May 27, for about 15 minutes  to review the Senate’s budget targets and spending rules.

In public education, which includes K-12, Community Colleges and the UNC System, budget writers are dealing with lower targets than what was allotted in the House Budget. See below for House and Senate budget targets.

NC House Spending Targets:

 

The Senate’s targets do not include salary changes, but do include enrollment growth. The Senate budget writers have been directed not to address salary changes. They have also been told not to appropriate Lottery Funds or highway funds for Drivers’ Education programs.

Clearly, the Senate budget, which is likely to be unveiled and voted upon during the week of June 8, will be significantly lower and likely exclude many provisions included by the House, such as restoration of Masters’ Degree supplements for teachers. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has stated publicly his aim is to provide more tax relief and to increase contributions to the State’s reserves with the additional $400 million in projected revenues.


House Approves Senate Revisions to Teacher Attrition Data

The House approved S333, Teacher Attrition Data, on June 3. The bill adds to the data collected by State Board of Education about why teachers leave their jobs to include, among other reasons, hard to staff schools, whether they left the profession entirely or went to a teaching job in another district. These reports have been confidential to allow for their honest completion. The House Education K-12 added an amendment offered by Rep. Paul Stam (R-Wake) to require the data collected by SBE to be disaggregated by teacher effectiveness ratings. PENC is concerned about that amendment because of the increased potential for educators to be identified, particularly in smaller school districts. The bill must return to the Senate for consideration of the House’s change. PENC has communicated its concerns with Sen. Dan Soucek (R-Watauga), the sponsor of S333.

What do you think?

If you have questions or concerns, please share your thoughts and ideas with us.
Contact us at [email protected].

Submitted by Evelyn Hawthorne


 For more information about the North Carolina General Assembly, click here.
To identify and contact your legislators, click here.

For information about specific issues, please contact PENC government relations consultant Evelyn Hawthorne at [email protected].