The North Carolina General Assembly continues to work on a myriad of things this session, and last week two major pieces of legislation were passed by the body. The first bill to be discussed is Senate Bill 387: Excellent Public Schools Act of 2021. This is Senator Phil Berger’s bill, and its primary objective is to update his Read to Achieve legislation. The bill integrates phonics-based literacy called “Science of Reading” into the state curriculum. Click https://dashboard.ncleg.gov/api/Services/BillSummary/2021/S387-SMBN-14(e2)-v-2 to read more about the bill and what changes it makes in North Carolina.
The second bill that passed last week was Representative Tim Moore’s House Bill 82: Summer Learning Choice for North Carolina Families. The purpose of this bill is to address learning loss in our public schools, and to require LEAs to offer recovery and enrichment programs. The funding for this bill was preserved in the COVID-19 relief bill (S172) that passed earlier this session. Click https://dashboard.ncleg.gov/api/Services/BillSummary/2021/H82-SMTC-40(e5)-v-2 to read more about the bill and what new things it requires to be offered to students in North Carolina.
Finally, Governor Roy Cooper has released his budget proposal for education in North Carolina. His proposal calls for 1) $485 million in teacher and administrator pay with an average pay increase of 10% over two years for teachers. In addition, he also calls for the restoration of master’s degree pay and addressing lower pay for veteran teachers. 2) 7.5% in raises for noncertified staff and central office employees 3) $52 million for educator recruitment 4) $80 million for school counselors, psychologists, and nurses 5) $15 minimum wage for noncertified public school employees which includes teacher assistants, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers 6) $4.7 billion bond on the ballot that includes $2.5 billion for public schools. Of course, this all must be approved by the North Carolina General Assembly, and each legislative chamber is very likely to have alternate plans. We will keep you posted on the details as we hear them.