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Governor Perdue’s 2009-2010 Budget Proposal

2009 LEGISLATIVE SESSION MEMO #8

The major news event of the week was Governor Perdue’s budget recommendations for the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, as highlighted in an earlier memo this week. 

On Wednesday, the Joint Appropriations Education Committee met to discuss the Governor’s Education Budget recommendations for public schools, universities and community colleges. Staff responded to questions and provided additional information on several issues.

The Education Appropriations Committee met again on Thursday to discuss the Military Business Center and the Principals’ Executive Program. The PEP program was last to present and only had fifteen minutes, due to another committee meeting. PEP had been asked a series of questions to respond to at the meeting. Governor Perdue has not funded the program for 2009-2010, but has put $200,000 in the budget for DPI to develop a Leadership Academy for Superintendents and Principals. It was apparent many of the members are very interested in continuing the PEP program recognizing its value to principal development, but they would need to fund the UNC system $1.2 million this year to sustain the program. PEP mentioned the success rate of schools in the 31 school group (DPI identified lowest performing schools) receiving leadership facilitation. Students had improved 8.7 percent on average compared to the state average of 6.9 percent. They talked about their selection process noting 46 percent principals were from High-Need districts. President Bowles has given the program a high priority in his budget request, but the Governor only funded enrollment and need-based-financial aid for the UNC institutions. PEP also talked about their efforts to develop a network of partnerships with university programs, PEP, and public schools to provide increased assistance and coordination of program efforts.

The State Health Plan, Senate Bill 287, has been stymied in the Senate. The Senate has tried for four days this week (after moving the bill out of committee the week before) to come to an agreement, with opposing groups (mainly the pharmacists lobby). On Thursday, Senator Rand still had not resolved the problems with the bill and it was again delayed. The Senate needs to pass the bill then send it to the House for their changes, conference the bill out, final passage by both bodies, then to the Governor to be signed, by April 1. Time is running short. The bill includes an appropriation of $250 million from the “Rainy Day Fund” to continue to pay the Health Plan bills since the Health Plan will be out of funds by March 31, 2009. They also need to pass the plan changes by April 1 to have them go into effect by July 1, 2009 in order to save 15 percent. Things are not looking too good.

The Federal Stimulus package still has not been clarified. The Office of State Budget and Management has said the Governor has taken the $580 million in Education Stimulus funds for 2009-2010 and placed them in the General Fund budget to fund the education entities. These funds will be available again in 2010-2011. However, the big issues is where will the State get the funds to put the money back in the public school’s budget in 2011-2012 once the federal stimulus monies are gone.  Speaker Hackney traveled to Washington this week to get briefed on the Federal Stimulus funding.

In other news this week the Education Cabinet met, on Monday for the first time since Governor Perdue took office and at the Governor’s request, to discuss the release of her budget. The Education Cabinet was not a viable group during the Easley Administration, but Governor Perdue has promised to rejuvenate the cabinet and is working with Senator Lee to manage their work. She wants the cabinet to take a stronger role in the overall education efforts in NC with all the various education groups.

The House and the Senate Appropriations chairs have met several times this week to discuss the Governor’s budget and it has not been going well so far. They will continue to meet together next week on Tuesday. They have some serious concerns about her budget proposals, including the loss of longevity for all state employees, expansion programs funding, step increase for teachers and principals in public schools, and the use of the federal stimulus funds. NCSBA and NCASA have sent information to all members of the House and Senate opposing the $144 million Flexibility Cut to public schools. They are requesting the General Assembly identify the line item cuts to be made to programs. Representative Skip Stam has introduced legislation to increase class size limits to try and save some funding for the public schools in other ways. The Senate is still planning to have their budget completed by April 9 and the House sometime in May. Right now the Appropriations Chairs are meeting jointly to hear information, from fiscal staff, that they need to work on the budget. I guess we will wait and watch.

 

Bills Introduced:

House

HB 609 Limit State-Mandated Tests in Schools/2 Years

HB 636 Staff Development OK on Protected Teacher Workdays

HB 642 Retirement Technical Corrections

HB 644 Misdemeanor/Not Produce Public Records

HB 648 Reduce Service Break/Returning Teachers

HB 651 Restore Continuation Funding for Principal’s Executive Program

HB 655 Funds for Teachers’ Institute Program

HB 659 Study Existing Children/Youth Programs

HB 661 City Manager on School Boards

HB 682 Adjust Conflict Threshold

HB 687 Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities

HB 691 State Contracts/Slavery Profits

HB 707 Legislative Study of ABC Bonus Program

HB 708 Furlough of State Employees

HB 711 State Tax Fairness Act

HB 717 Study of High School Programs at Community Colleges

HB 734 Open Government/ NonDisclosure Penalties

HB 735 Building Code/High Schoolers at Community Colleges

 

Senate

SB 616 Model Program/Children with Disabilities

SB 644 Study of High School Programs at Community Colleges

SB 645 Retirement Technical Corrections

SB 657 SBE to Develop Teacher Assistant Salary Schedule

SB 684 Retain Pregnant and Parenting Students/Funds

SB 689 Modify DPI/SBE Reporting Requirements

SB 705 Appropriations Act 2009

SB 708 Amend the Compulsory School Attendance Law

SB 712 State Surplus Property/New Recipient

SB 722 No High School Graduation Project Required

SB 732 Establish Study Committee/Early Childhood Programs

SB 733 SBE Adopt Curriculum for “Life 101”

SB 737 Parent & Student Educational Involvement Act

 

House Committees:

Education:

HB 42 Science Safety in Public Schools Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re- referred to Appropriations. Adds requirement for middle school science laboratories to be certified according to statute, deletes clause requiring an administrative person to be designated as science safety officer and statute that prohibits beginning construction of (was, investing any money in) any new middle or high school buildings until plans for the science area have been reviewed and approved (was, certified) to meet safety standards.

HB 188 Study Raising the Compulsory Attendance Age Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Rules. Changes the date the report is due to JLEOC from April 15, 2009 to December 31, 2009.

HB 209 Sex Offender Registry/Liberties w/Students Not Heard

Judiciary II:

HB 187 Encourage Policies to Facilitate Graduation Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute as amended by Rep. Weiss and sent to the House floor.

Local Government II:

HB 352 Lottery School Capital Fund Formula Pulled from the agenda.

Pensions and Retirement:

HB 429 Retirement System COLAS Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Appropriations.

 

Senate Committees:

Education/Higher Education

SB 297 No Sunset/Teacher Personal Leave Protection Favorable Report and referred to Appropriations.

SB 306 New Assistant Principals/No Pay Decrease Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Appropriations. The act applies to all persons employed as assistant principals by an LEA on or after the July 1, 2009 effective date.  

 

Bills in Committee next week:

HB 18 Speech Language Pathologist Qualifications

HB 209 Sex Offenders Registry/Liberties with Students

HB 223 No High School Graduation Project Required

SB 16 DPI/Curriculum on 1898 Wilmington Race Riot

SB 66 Require Arts Education Credit for Graduation

SB 265 Fund Only One School System Per County

Summary of March State Board of Education Agenda

March 4 & 5, 2009

 

All the State Board of Education Committees met on Wednesday, March 4, Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee (8:00AM), Globally Competitive Students (10:00 AM), 21st Century Professionals Committee (1:00 PM), and the Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:00 PM).

 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 (8:00 AM) Board Room

Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee Meeting

Action and Discussion Agenda

Action on First Reading

·               TCS 1 Approval of Grant

                21st Century Community Learning Center Programs APPROVED the grant requests. The total amount of the Federal 21st Century Community Learning Center award for 2008-09 was $23,304,057 of which $16,113,001.34 has previously been distributed. Twenty-five organizations submitted proposals. Fourteen proposals were approved for a total of $2,655,600 in funding.  W.E.B. DuBois CDC Rings of Life (Wake Co.) submitted a proposal but was not recommended. Fund has a balance of $4.5 million.

Committee Meeting: A brief explanation was given regarding the proposals received and approved for funding in 2008-09. Members had questions as to the types of programs that were given the grants and requested that some of the grants be highlighted in a brief presentation at the April committee meeting. The discussion then turned to the topic of the contracts submitted for approval and members had questions regarding the services provided under the contracts and asked staff to provide a brief history and overview of the contract process for discussion at the next meeting.

New Business

Communications Update: Ms. Jeter briefly outlined the activities of the Communications Department during the month relating to the dropout report and the budget shortfall.

Budget Update:  Mr. Price addressed the budget cuts to education, reversions and the budget deficit impacting public schools this year. On September 18, 2008, public schools were requested to reduce their budgets 1 percent and 2 percent to DPI ($78,000,000). On November 4, 2008, there was another 1.5 percent reduction to public schools and 4 percent to DPI ($117,000,000). On January 15, 2009, there was a third request for 3 percent from public schools and 6 percent for DPI ($158,948,312). The source of the reductions includes: LEA reversions $58 million, agency reversions of $100.9 million, 10 percent ($4.6 million) from DPI, school bus fuel ($35 million), ADM contingency reserve ($14 million), prior year funds ($14 million), and natural reversions ($33.2 million). On February 25, 2009, DPI transferred to the Office of State Budget, the last quarterly lottery construction funds, $37,632,989 that were to be released to the LEAs and $5,621,104 from the Corporate Fund for school construction, to enable them to manage the revenue issues. In addition, the Governor is holding $50 million from the Lottery Reserve Fund, $100 million of the Corporate Funds ($316 million total in the fund-$120 million undesignated), and $50 million from the Textbook Fund ($65 million total) to handle additional state revenue needs for the remainder of the budget year. It is possible Governor Perdue may use some of the $258 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (flexible allotment) to restore the cuts made to school construction funding. Mr. Price was asked about the cut to public schools in the fall. A list of the funds relinquished by each LEA was provided (Wake-$5,478,413). The cut was based on average daily membership. He also mentioned the declining enrollment in public schools across the state. The state has budgeted approximately 25,000 new students each year over the past few years and in 2008-2009 that number only reached 6,000.

Staff also gave a brief update on the activities of the Intern Program and the status of the applications for the 5 intern positions to be filled this spring.

Update on Contracts

Contracts over $25,000 – 15 Proposals

Contracts under $25,000 – 7 Proposals

 

Globally Competitive Students (10:00 AM) Board Room

Action on First Reading

·      GCS 1 Changes to NC’s NCLB Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook ON HOLD are the three amendments to the NC Accountability Workbook awaiting approval from the USED. For the 2008-09 School Year amendments were made for 1) Students with Disabilities Who Exit the Program, 2) Retesting results in Grades 3 through 8, and 3) Redundancy in End-of-Course (EOC) and End-of-Grade (EOG) Testing. LEP students in their first year are exempt from retesting since their scores are not used in state and federal accountability. The policy is available upon request. The SBE is awaiting approval of the requested changes from the USED.

Committee Meeting: Dr. Fabrizio explained this item is awaiting approval on the third, which deals with waiving EOG test in lieu from USED. They may do a conference call during the month of March to approve the issue. LEAs should plan to have students take both tests until otherwise notified.

·      GCS 2 Publisher’s Request to Remove Textbook APPROVED the request to withdraw Human Kinetics’ textbook from the 2008 Adopted Textbook List. Due to the company’s difficulty in securing the required surety bond ($3,000) for the entire contract term, they have requested that the World of Wellness Health Education Series, Grade 4 be removed from the state textbook adopted list.

Committee Meeting: A brief explanation of the items was presented. No further discussion.

Discussion

·      GCS 3 2009 Invitation to Submit Textbooks for Evaluation and Adoption in North Carolina The Board discussed approval of the 2009 Invitation to Submit Textbooks for Evaluation and Adoption in North Carolina. The adoption information will be for Mathematics 6-12, Second Languages 6-12, English Language Development (ESL) K-12, and Agricultural Education 7-12.

The invitation is posted on the DPI website: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/textbook/publishers/invitation/

This item will be submitted for approval at the April meeting.

Committee Meeting: A brief explanation of the textbook selection process was presented.

Board Meeting: A review of the process was presented to the Board. There were some adjustments made to the bidding process with respect to textbook adoption and members had several questions regarding E-Books and the availability of web links to textbooks rather than having the publisher provide a copy of the book on a DVD.

·      GCS 4 Allowing Retest Results in the Calculation of Performance Composites of ABCs and AYP The State Board of Education discussed approval of the new retesting policy and the amendments to other affected policies. In January, the SBE voted to require students who do not meet the Achievement Level III standard on EOGs be retested (Retest I) and for the higher of the original or Retest 1 EOG score be included in the performance composites and for AYP effective with the 2008-09 school year. The SBE also approved requiring students who do not meet the Level III standard on EOCs be retested and for the higher of the original or Retest 1 EOC score to be included in the performance composites and for AYP, effective with the 2009-2010 school year. This action requires a new policy and affects GCS-A-004, HSP-N-005 and 003. This item is presented for discussion and will be submitted for approval at the April meeting.

Committee Meeting: Kevin Howell had some questions for Dr. Fabrizio on the fiscal impact. The cost for DPI associated with the change would be approximately $40,000-$50,000 however local school districts may have additional expenses related to substitutes, scanning, etc. which may amount to $100,000. Dr. Prince then raised concerns about retesting students with disabilities. She indicated this was wrong and cruel to put these students through the alternative tests a second time.  Students with disabilities would be required to take the same alternative form of the test on the retest. DPI is asking school systems to provide increased time between initial test and retesting students with disabilities (possibly a week). Students usually take the retest within three days of the initial test. The question of whether a parental waiver would be possible was raised, but if a waiver were granted it must be granted for all students involved at that level. Dr. Prince then suggested they ask the attorneys for permission to change the policy to only allow Level II students to retest and for the scores to count in ABCs and AYP scoring for the school.  Also, staff was requested to revisit the section of the policy involving the Review Committee and requested that language be added to invite the parent to be part of the Committee to speak on the child’s behalf. Ms. Willoughby spoke from the heart when she told committee members that someone needed to fight for the children. The retesting issue is about schools, AYP and ABC bonuses. She expects the policy to come back for a review by the Board. She considers the policy change a short-term bandaid. The Framework for Change, which DPI is working on right now, may eliminate the need for the policy changes to retesting. The policy will be revised and presented at the April meeting for approval.

Board Meeting: Attorneys agreed to policy change that would only allow Level II students who were retested to count toward ABCs and AYP, and an “Opt In” for students with disabilities who are at Level I. The policy will be back for Board approval in April.

·      GCS 5 Changes to Policy Delineating and Components of the ABCs Accountability Program Including Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 2008-09 School Year  The Board discussed the changes to HSP-C-020 policy for the 2008-09 school year. The USED informed DPI that the Occupational assessments can no longer be used to meet the high school testing requirements under NCLB. Because the other assessments available for meeting AYP do not match the OCS Standard Course of Study or its instructional delivery, the policy will state that effective in 2008-2009, OCS students will not be eligible to take any of the available assessments and will be counted as non-participants for AYP. OCS students are still required to take OCS assessments to meet the requirements of the State ABCs Accountability Program. This item will be submitted for approval at the April meeting

Committee Meeting: Dr. Fabrizio briefly explained the reason for the changes to the policy and the need for more time to develop tests.

New Business

Math Standards Discussion Dr. Broadway gave a brief update on the status of the development of the new math standards indicating the standards (especially high school) would be more international in scope. She indicated that since Math 6-12 is scheduled for adoption (having been already delayed one year), publishers would get a draft of the proposed standards so they can provide the materials to meet the new math requirements. She told members the number of standards will be reduced (5) and this is in line with the plan to make the curriculum deeper and less wide. The draft standards are posted on the DPI web site. http://community.learnnc.org/dpi/math/archives/2009/02/essential_stand.php The draft standards will be sent to textbook vendors in April. They will not be significantly different from the 2003 adoption.

Graduation Project Discussion Dr. Carl Harris, Superintendent Durham Public Schools and Bill Shore, Director of U.S. Community Partnerships for GlazoSmithKline, spoke in support of the Graduation Project and the collaborative efforts between the Durham Business Community and the Durham Public Schools in working with students to improve the opportunities offered to them.

 

21st Century Professionals Committee (1:00 PM) Room 504

Action

·      TCP 1 Approval of the Location of the 4th Regional Alternative Licensure Center APPROVED the request to establish a fourth Regional Alternative Licensure Center in Catawba County. This location is based upon feedback and data gathered from LEAs in the service area, personnel administrators and from representatives from institutions of higher education.

·      Committee: Ms. Harris had a series questions. Where are the funds? Is this a good idea during the current economic downtown? Funding was set aside in Federal Title II allotments. In addition, staff found a location to house the center at Catawba County Schools, who had graciously offered the space needed.

Action on First Reading

·      TCP 2 Recommendations from the Advisory Board on Requests for Exception from Teacher Licensing Requirements APPROVED the requests as presented. A panel chaired by a member of the State Board reviews the requests by individuals who have not met licensing requirements due to extenuating circumstances. They may request an exception from the requirement or an extension of time. Closed Session Item

·      TCP 3 APA Policies on Teacher Evaluation Process: Public Comments Report (16NCAC 6C.0503 and 16 NCAC 6C.0504) The Board shall consider public comments received in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. A summary of the comments and the transcript of the public hearing are available upon request from this office.

Committee Meeting: A brief review of the process was presented. Katie Cornetto presented information on how the APA process was conducted. She noted the issues raised by the various groups, but she didn’t believe the policy would create any of the problems they shared in their correspondence. She also stated the new policy would be more flexible in the timing part of the process than the old policy. No further discussion.

·      TCP 5 Lateral Entry Licenses for NC Virtual Public School Teachers of Critical Languages Moved to Action on First Reading and Approved the policy to allow the NC Virtual Public School to request lateral entry licenses for teachers of critical languages. The Licensure Section will issue a program of study outlining the requirements the individual must fulfill to be issued a Standard Professional I license and the requirements must be fulfilled within the same time limits as other lateral entry teachers.

Committee Meeting The Committee moved this item to Action on First Reading.

Discussion

·      TCP 4 Proposed Revisions to the Eligibility Requirements for Provisional Licenses in School Counseling and School Social Work The State Board discussed the proposed revisions to the eligibility for provisional licensing in school counseling and school of social work. The requirement for counseling is the completion of a master’s degree in Agency Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, Community Counseling or Rehabilitation Counseling from a regional accredited college or university or completion of a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in a school counselor program. School Social Work requires completion of a bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree in social work. The proposed revision to the policy is effective as of July 1, 2009.

     Committee Meeting: Staff is going to get input from the field on the proposed policy changes this     month and bring it back to committee for action next month. 

New Business

Update on School Leadership Program Re-visioning

Professional Development at Githens Middle School (Durham Public Schools) Information was provided to the Committee on the professional development activities at Githens Middle School regarding the new Principal Evaluation and the new standards.

 

Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:00 PM) Board Room

Action

·      LFI 1 1:1 Learning Technology Initiative Report ACCEPTED the 1:1 Laptop Evaluation Report. The legislation for this program requires a report be submitted to the General Assembly, no later than March 15, 2009. The Friday Institute has completed the first-year evaluation and has provided this report to fulfill the legislative requirement. Some of the next steps recommended include; establishing a public-private funding mechanism, establishing the human infrastructure and support systems needed to take the program statewide, updating the education workforce, developing cost effective, scalable technology services and supports, providing school district policy guidelines, and documentation and evaluation. The report presents the evaluation of progress at mid-year of the second year in the program as the first step in the planned three-year evaluation. The report focuses on the eight schools in the pilot and their progress toward implementing the 1:1 environment and the barriers, successes, and lessons learned in the early stages of implementation of the program.

Committee Meeting: No further discussion was held.

·      LFI 2 Renewal Recommendations for Charter Schools with Charter Expiring June 2009 APPROVED the renewal of the charter for Torchlight for two years. The charter will expire June 30, 2009. Academic Performance Composite below 50 percent for three of the last five years, Title I Sanction Level 5 2008-09, AYP not met four out of the last five years, 2007-08 testing procedure non-compliance, 2007-08 and 2008-09 Health Department Food Service Violations and 2006-07 School Lunch Program non-compliance were stated as reasons for non-renewal.  In addition, many audit discrepancies over the past years, and monitoring and compliance findings were also listed as reasons for non-renewal.

Committee Meeting: The Committee recommended renewal of the charter for Torchlight for two years with restrictions. The restrictions included: 1) submit an audit by October 1, 2009 2) the audit should contain acceptable accounting principals, 3) resolve non-compliance issues by April 6, 2009, and 4) submit school improvement plan by April 6, 2009. Failure to provide these requirements will lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of the charter.

Action on First Reading

·      LFI 3 Program Approvals Under the Innovative Education Initiatives Act APPROVED the 12 Early College School Programs.  The schools included are: Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College, Early College EAST High School, Franklin County Early College High School, Granville County Early College High School, Henderson County Early College, Maryland Early College High School, Stokes County Early College High School, Wake NC State University Early College High School, Roanoke Valley Early College, Wilkes Early College High School, Wilson Early College Academy and James Kenan Early College High School (conversion site). The Wake NC State University Early College High School is a collaboration between NCSU and the Wake County Public School System and provides a highly supportive and academically challenging learning environment for students underserved in traditional high school setting in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and will prepare students to compete globally in careers related to these areas.

Committee Meeting: Approval of the 12 programs listed above now brings the total number of innovative programs to 72.  Board member Kevin Howell was recused from voting on this issue.

New Business

NC Virtual Public School/Learn and Earn on-Line (LEO) Director’s Report Dr. Bryan Setser presented an overview of the status of the plans for the K-8 Virtual School. The presentation included a brief outline of the course development for writing, health/fitness, poetry and Spanish. He indicated the pilot schools in the eight districts were enrolling students and that the development of a catalog of the programs and applications of the courses to be used by all teachers was in progress.

Low Performing Charter Schools Representatives from four low-performing charter schools were given an opportunity to present their corrective action plan to the board and to highlight some of the gains students have made in Reading and Math, since the inception of the plan. However, it was noted there was still much work to be done.  The charter schools presenting were: Healthy Start Academy, The Academy of Moore County, Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School and PreEminent (Wake County). In the presentation, by PreEminent, emphasis was placed on a chart indicating weekly improvement in the areas of school leadership, school and teacher improvements, licensure requirements, professional development activities and classroom discipline referrals. The staff of the Office of Charter Schools will continue to monitor these schools.

Charter Schools: Policies and Processes Information of timelines was provided by the Office of Charter Schools for the new charter school applications, the charter school renewal process and the non-compliance and revocation process for charter schools.

District and School Transformation Update Dr. Ashley provided a brief update on the activities of the Turnaround Teams in the 24 area high schools and the status of the needs assessments for those schools.

Lateral Entry Licenses for NC Virtual Public School Teachers of Critical Languages This item was also heard in the TCP Committee and was recommended to moved to Action on First Reading.

 

Thursday, February 5, 2009 

8:30 AM State Board of Education Meeting, Howard Lee, Chairman

 

Swearing-In Ceremony for New State Board of Education Member

The Honorable Carl R. Fox, North Carolina Superior Court Judge

·      Dr. William C. Harrison, Fayetteville, NC, At-Large Member

Dr. Harrison is the first person to serve as both State Board of Education Chairman and as Chief Executive Officer, a position created by Gov. Perdue to consolidate authority and accountability for public schools in North Carolina. Bill is the former superintendent of Cumberland County Schools and prior to that he was in Orange County and Hoke County.

Call to Order, Pledge of Allegiance, Approval of Minutes

Resolution Honoring Outgoing Deputy State Superintendent

·      Mr. John B. Buxton

Remarks by State Board of Education Chairman, Howard N. Lee Chairman

Election of State Board of Education Chairman Vice Chair Wayne McDevitt nominated Dr. Harrison and John Tate seconded the motion. Dr. Harrison was elected by unanimous consent.

Special Presentation by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators

·      Mr. Howard N. Lee 2009 Champion for Children Award

 

 

Information Agenda

Healthy Responsible Students

·      HRS 1 Consolidated Data Report: Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Expulsions, and Dropout Rates and Counts The State Board is asked to accept the report.  The full report is on line at:

http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/newsroom/news/2008-09/0305/consolidated-report.doc

This is the first time that all of this related data was assembled and reported in one document. The report is an attempt to show the possible relationship between crime and violence incidents, suspensions and expulsions and high school dropouts. By consolidating the reports, that look at each area, it is hoped there will be a better understanding on how to efficiently address student needs and help more students stay in school and be successful. Yadkin County was the only school district to have low rates in all three measures, while five districts, Clay County, Mount Airy City, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City, Elkin City and Cherokee County were on two of the three top 10 lists in terms of districts with the best performance in all three report areas. School districts, with positive performance in the three areas, report using a variety of approaches to help improve student behavior and prevent dropouts. These include ninth grade academies, Positive Behavior Support, credit recovery programs, alternative programs and schools, early college and high school/college dual enrollment opportunities. The total number of acts of crime and violence increased from 11,013 in 2006-07 to 11,276 which equates to a one percent increase. The total number of violent crimes actually decreased by 3.6 percent. The information on short-term suspensions declined from 310,744 to 308,010 from 2006-07 to 2007-08. One in ten students receives a short-term suspension each year. A total of 5,225 long-term suspensions were given to students during the last school year up from 4,736 in 2006-07. Expulsions increased from 106 to 116 and the number of student placements in alternative programs decreased (14,414) during this same time period. North Carolina high schools reported that 22,434 students out of approximately 450,000 North Carolina high school students dropped out of school in 2007-08.

Chairman’s Remarks

Update on the Framework for Change Dr. Garland presented a brief overview of the activities and events involved with the Framework for Change project. Work continues on the standards, assessment and accountability models along with the development of a new website for easy access and understanding of the plan. A survey is being conducted on the results of the new writing pilot for Grades 4 and 7. She also indicated that NAEP is developing a computer-based writing test, at this time.

 

State Superintendent’s Report

Dr. June Atkinson presented a brief slide presentation involving the details to date of some of the guideline in the Federal Stimulus package. She did not address any specific financial data only that she and Mr. Price are in contact with USED regarding the use of the funding when it becomes available. 

Board Meeting and Committee Chair Reports-Listed Above

 

Recommendations on the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act No Child Left Behind:

Dr. Sullivan presented a brief review of the additions made to the recommendations in this document. There are two additions to the State Authority and Flexibility Section: 1) Amend NCLB to define high schools as grade 9-12 instead of grade 10-12. This would provide more flexibility to states in meeting the requirement of the Act; and 2) Amend the law so that state using End-of-Course (EOC) assessments can ensure that appropriate assessments and accountability are in place for certain students with disabilities at the high school level, who do not take the general EOC assessments as a part of their curriculum offers. One item has been added to the Accountability Determinations/Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Section: 1) Codify the use of a growth model in AYP calculations. Finally, in the School Choice and Supplemental Education Services (SES) one item is added: 1) Codify the option of allowing Title I School Improvement schools to offer supplemental education services (SES) before the option of school choice (transfer). This document is being forwarded to the North Carolina Congressional Delegation in Washington. Summary of March State Board of Education Agenda

March 4 & 5, 2009

 

All the State Board of Education Committees met on Wednesday, March 4, Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee (8:00AM), Globally Competitive Students (10:00 AM), 21st Century Professionals Committee (1:00 PM), and the Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:00 PM).

 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 (8:00 AM) Board Room

Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee Meeting

Action and Discussion Agenda

Action on First Reading

·               TCS 1 Approval of Grant

                21st Century Community Learning Center Programs APPROVED the grant requests. The total amount of the Federal 21st Century Community Learning Center award for 2008-09 was $23,304,057 of which $16,113,001.34 has previously been distributed. Twenty-five organizations submitted proposals. Fourteen proposals were approved for a total of $2,655,600 in funding.  W.E.B. DuBois CDC Rings of Life (Wake Co.) submitted a proposal but was not recommended. Fund has a balance of $4.5 million.

Committee Meeting: A brief explanation was given regarding the proposals received and approved for funding in 2008-09. Members had questions as to the types of programs that were given the grants and requested that some of the grants be highlighted in a brief presentation at the April committee meeting. The discussion then turned to the topic of the contracts submitted for approval and members had questions regarding the services provided under the contracts and asked staff to provide a brief history and overview of the contract process for discussion at the next meeting.

New Business

Communications Update: Ms. Jeter briefly outlined the activities of the Communications Department during the month relating to the dropout report and the budget shortfall.

Budget Update:  Mr. Price addressed the budget cuts to education, reversions and the budget deficit impacting public schools this year. On September 18, 2008, public schools were requested to reduce their budgets 1 percent and 2 percent to DPI ($78,000,000). On November 4, 2008, there was another 1.5 percent reduction to public schools and 4 percent to DPI ($117,000,000). On January 15, 2009, there was a third request for 3 percent from public schools and 6 percent for DPI ($158,948,312). The source of the reductions includes: LEA reversions $58 million, agency reversions of $100.9 million, 10 percent ($4.6 million) from DPI, school bus fuel ($35 million), ADM contingency reserve ($14 million), prior year funds ($14 million), and natural reversions ($33.2 million). On February 25, 2009, DPI transferred to the Office of State Budget, the last quarterly lottery construction funds, $37,632,989 that were to be released to the LEAs and $5,621,104 from the Corporate Fund for school construction, to enable them to manage the revenue issues. In addition, the Governor is holding $50 million from the Lottery Reserve Fund, $100 million of the Corporate Funds ($316 million total in the fund-$120 million undesignated), and $50 million from the Textbook Fund ($65 million total) to handle additional state revenue needs for the remainder of the budget year. It is possible Governor Perdue may use some of the $258 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (flexible allotment) to restore the cuts made to school construction funding. Mr. Price was asked about the cut to public schools in the fall. A list of the funds relinquished by each LEA was provided (Wake-$5,478,413). The cut was based on average daily membership. He also mentioned the declining enrollment in public schools across the state. The state has budgeted approximately 25,000 new students each year over the past few years and in 2008-2009 that number only reached 6,000.

Staff also gave a brief update on the activities of the Intern Program and the status of the applications for the 5 intern positions to be filled this spring.

Update on Contracts

Contracts over $25,000 – 15 Proposals

Contracts under $25,000 – 7 Proposals

 

Globally Competitive Students (10:00 AM) Board Room

Action on First Reading

·      GCS 1 Changes to NC’s NCLB Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook ON HOLD are the three amendments to the NC Accountability Workbook awaiting approval from the USED. For the 2008-09 School Year amendments were made for 1) Students with Disabilities Who Exit the Program, 2) Retesting results in Grades 3 through 8, and 3) Redundancy in End-of-Course (EOC) and End-of-Grade (EOG) Testing. LEP students in their first year are exempt from retesting since their scores are not used in state and federal accountability. The policy is available upon request. The SBE is awaiting approval of the requested changes from the USED.

Committee Meeting: Dr. Fabrizio explained this item is awaiting approval on the third, which deals with waiving EOG test in lieu from USED. They may do a conference call during the month of March to approve the issue. LEAs should plan to have students take both tests until otherwise notified.

·      GCS 2 Publisher’s Request to Remove Textbook APPROVED the request to withdraw Human Kinetics’ textbook from the 2008 Adopted Textbook List. Due to the company’s difficulty in securing the required surety bond ($3,000) for the entire contract term, they have requested that the World of Wellness Health Education Series, Grade 4 be removed from the state textbook adopted list.

Committee Meeting: A brief explanation of the items was presented. No further discussion.

Discussion

·      GCS 3 2009 Invitation to Submit Textbooks for Evaluation and Adoption in North Carolina The Board discussed approval of the 2009 Invitation to Submit Textbooks for Evaluation and Adoption in North Carolina. The adoption information will be for Mathematics 6-12, Second Languages 6-12, English Language Development (ESL) K-12, and Agricultural Education 7-12.

The invitation is posted on the DPI website: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/textbook/publishers/invitation/

This item will be submitted for approval at the April meeting.

Committee Meeting: A brief explanation of the textbook selection process was presented.

Board Meeting: A review of the process was presented to the Board. There were some adjustments made to the bidding process with respect to textbook adoption and members had several questions regarding E-Books and the availability of web links to textbooks rather than having the publisher provide a copy of the book on a DVD.

·      GCS 4 Allowing Retest Results in the Calculation of Performance Composites of ABCs and AYP The State Board of Education discussed approval of the new retesting policy and the amendments to other affected policies. In January, the SBE voted to require students who do not meet the Achievement Level III standard on EOGs be retested (Retest I) and for the higher of the original or Retest 1 EOG score be included in the performance composites and for AYP effective with the 2008-09 school year. The SBE also approved requiring students who do not meet the Level III standard on EOCs be retested and for the higher of the original or Retest 1 EOC score to be included in the performance composites and for AYP, effective with the 2009-2010 school year. This action requires a new policy and affects GCS-A-004, HSP-N-005 and 003. This item is presented for discussion and will be submitted for approval at the April meeting.

Committee Meeting: Kevin Howell had some questions for Dr. Fabrizio on the fiscal impact. The cost for DPI associated with the change would be approximately $40,000-$50,000 however local school districts may have additional expenses related to substitutes, scanning, etc. which may amount to $100,000. Dr. Prince then raised concerns about retesting students with disabilities. She indicated this was wrong and cruel to put these students through the alternative tests a second time.  Students with disabilities would be required to take the same alternative form of the test on the retest. DPI is asking school systems to provide increased time between initial test and retesting students with disabilities (possibly a week). Students usually take the retest within three days of the initial test. The question of whether a parental waiver would be possible was raised, but if a waiver were granted it must be granted for all students involved at that level. Dr. Prince then suggested they ask the attorneys for permission to change the policy to only allow Level II students to retest and for the scores to count in ABCs and AYP scoring for the school.  Also, staff was requested to revisit the section of the policy involving the Review Committee and requested that language be added to invite the parent to be part of the Committee to speak on the child’s behalf. Ms. Willoughby spoke from the heart when she told committee members that someone needed to fight for the children. The retesting issue is about schools, AYP and ABC bonuses. She expects the policy to come back for a review by the Board. She considers the policy change a short-term bandaid. The Framework for Change, which DPI is working on right now, may eliminate the need for the policy changes to retesting. The policy will be revised and presented at the April meeting for approval.

Board Meeting: Attorneys agreed to policy change that would only allow Level II students who were retested to count toward ABCs and AYP, and an “Opt In” for students with disabilities who are at Level I. The policy will be back for Board approval in April.

·      GCS 5 Changes to Policy Delineating and Components of the ABCs Accountability Program Including Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 2008-09 School Year  The Board discussed the changes to HSP-C-020 policy for the 2008-09 school year. The USED informed DPI that the Occupational assessments can no longer be used to meet the high school testing requirements under NCLB. Because the other assessments available for meeting AYP do not match the OCS Standard Course of Study or its instructional delivery, the policy will state that effective in 2008-2009, OCS students will not be eligible to take any of the available assessments and will be counted as non-participants for AYP. OCS students are still required to take OCS assessments to meet the requirements of the State ABCs Accountability Program. This item will be submitted for approval at the April meeting

Committee Meeting: Dr. Fabrizio briefly explained the reason for the changes to the policy and the need for more time to develop tests.

New Business

Math Standards Discussion Dr. Broadway gave a brief update on the status of the development of the new math standards indicating the standards (especially high school) would be more international in scope. She indicated that since Math 6-12 is scheduled for adoption (having been already delayed one year), publishers would get a draft of the proposed standards so they can provide the materials to meet the new math requirements. She told members the number of standards will be reduced (5) and this is in line with the plan to make the curriculum deeper and less wide. The draft standards are posted on the DPI web site. http://community.learnnc.org/dpi/math/archives/2009/02/essential_stand.php The draft standards will be sent to textbook vendors in April. They will not be significantly different from the 2003 adoption.

Graduation Project Discussion Dr. Carl Harris, Superintendent Durham Public Schools and Bill Shore, Director of U.S. Community Partnerships for GlazoSmithKline, spoke in support of the Graduation Project and the collaborative efforts between the Durham Business Community and the Durham Public Schools in working with students to improve the opportunities offered to them.

 

21st Century Professionals Committee (1:00 PM) Room 504

Action

·      TCP 1 Approval of the Location of the 4th Regional Alternative Licensure Center APPROVED the request to establish a fourth Regional Alternative Licensure Center in Catawba County. This location is based upon feedback and data gathered from LEAs in the service area, personnel administrators and from representatives from institutions of higher education.

·      Committee: Ms. Harris had a series questions. Where are the funds? Is this a good idea during the current economic downtown? Funding was set aside in Federal Title II allotments. In addition, staff found a location to house the center at Catawba County Schools, who had graciously offered the space needed.

Action on First Reading

·      TCP 2 Recommendations from the Advisory Board on Requests for Exception from Teacher Licensing Requirements APPROVED the requests as presented. A panel chaired by a member of the State Board reviews the requests by individuals who have not met licensing requirements due to extenuating circumstances. They may request an exception from the requirement or an extension of time. Closed Session Item

·      TCP 3 APA Policies on Teacher Evaluation Process: Public Comments Report (16NCAC 6C.0503 and 16 NCAC 6C.0504) The Board shall consider public comments received in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. A summary of the comments and the transcript of the public hearing are available upon request from this office.

Committee Meeting: A brief review of the process was presented. Katie Cornetto presented information on how the APA process was conducted. She noted the issues raised by the various groups, but she didn’t believe the policy would create any of the problems they shared in their correspondence. She also stated the new policy would be more flexible in the timing part of the process than the old policy. No further discussion.

·      TCP 5 Lateral Entry Licenses for NC Virtual Public School Teachers of Critical Languages Moved to Action on First Reading and Approved the policy to allow the NC Virtual Public School to request lateral entry licenses for teachers of critical languages. The Licensure Section will issue a program of study outlining the requirements the individual must fulfill to be issued a Standard Professional I license and the requirements must be fulfilled within the same time limits as other lateral entry teachers.

Committee Meeting The Committee moved this item to Action on First Reading.

Discussion

·      TCP 4 Proposed Revisions to the Eligibility Requirements for Provisional Licenses in School Counseling and School Social Work The State Board discussed the proposed revisions to the eligibility for provisional licensing in school counseling and school of social work. The requirement for counseling is the completion of a master’s degree in Agency Counseling, Clinical Mental Health, Community Counseling or Rehabilitation Counseling from a regional accredited college or university or completion of a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours in a school counselor program. School Social Work requires completion of a bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree in social work. The proposed revision to the policy is effective as of July 1, 2009.

     Committee Meeting: Staff is going to get input from the field on the proposed policy changes this     month and bring it back to committee for action next month. 

New Business

Update on School Leadership Program Re-visioning

Professional Development at Githens Middle School (Durham Public Schools) Information was provided to the Committee on the professional development activities at Githens Middle School regarding the new Principal Evaluation and the new standards.

 

Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:00 PM) Board Room

Action

·      LFI 1 1:1 Learning Technology Initiative Report ACCEPTED the 1:1 Laptop Evaluation Report. The legislation for this program requires a report be submitted to the General Assembly, no later than March 15, 2009. The Friday Institute has completed the first-year evaluation and has provided this report to fulfill the legislative requirement. Some of the next steps recommended include; establishing a public-private funding mechanism, establishing the human infrastructure and support systems needed to take the program statewide, updating the education workforce, developing cost effective, scalable technology services and supports, providing school district policy guidelines, and documentation and evaluation. The report presents the evaluation of progress at mid-year of the second year in the program as the first step in the planned three-year evaluation. The report focuses on the eight schools in the pilot and their progress toward implementing the 1:1 environment and the barriers, successes, and lessons learned in the early stages of implementation of the program.

Committee Meeting: No further discussion was held.

·      LFI 2 Renewal Recommendations for Charter Schools with Charter Expiring June 2009 APPROVED the renewal of the charter for Torchlight for two years. The charter will expire June 30, 2009. Academic Performance Composite below 50 percent for three of the last five years, Title I Sanction Level 5 2008-09, AYP not met four out of the last five years, 2007-08 testing procedure non-compliance, 2007-08 and 2008-09 Health Department Food Service Violations and 2006-07 School Lunch Program non-compliance were stated as reasons for non-renewal.  In addition, many audit discrepancies over the past years, and monitoring and compliance findings were also listed as reasons for non-renewal.

Committee Meeting: The Committee recommended renewal of the charter for Torchlight for two years with restrictions. The restrictions included: 1) submit an audit by October 1, 2009 2) the audit should contain acceptable accounting principals, 3) resolve non-compliance issues by April 6, 2009, and 4) submit school improvement plan by April 6, 2009. Failure to provide these requirements will lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of the charter.

Action on First Reading

·      LFI 3 Program Approvals Under the Innovative Education Initiatives Act APPROVED the 12 Early College School Programs.  The schools included are: Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College, Early College EAST High School, Franklin County Early College High School, Granville County Early College High School, Henderson County Early College, Maryland Early College High School, Stokes County Early College High School, Wake NC State University Early College High School, Roanoke Valley Early College, Wilkes Early College High School, Wilson Early College Academy and James Kenan Early College High School (conversion site). The Wake NC State University Early College High School is a collaboration between NCSU and the Wake County Public School System and provides a highly supportive and academically challenging learning environment for students underserved in traditional high school setting in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines and will prepare students to compete globally in careers related to these areas.

Committee Meeting: Approval of the 12 programs listed above now brings the total number of innovative programs to 72.  Board member Kevin Howell was recused from voting on this issue.

New Business

NC Virtual Public School/Learn and Earn on-Line (LEO) Director’s Report Dr. Bryan Setser presented an overview of the status of the plans for the K-8 Virtual School. The presentation included a brief outline of the course development for writing, health/fitness, poetry and Spanish. He indicated the pilot schools in the eight districts were enrolling students and that the development of a catalog of the programs and applications of the courses to be used by all teachers was in progress.

Low Performing Charter Schools Representatives from four low-performing charter schools were given an opportunity to present their corrective action plan to the board and to highlight some of the gains students have made in Reading and Math, since the inception of the plan. However, it was noted there was still much work to be done.  The charter schools presenting were: Healthy Start Academy, The Academy of Moore County, Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School and PreEminent (Wake County). In the presentation, by PreEminent, emphasis was placed on a chart indicating weekly improvement in the areas of school leadership, school and teacher improvements, licensure requirements, professional development activities and classroom discipline referrals. The staff of the Office of Charter Schools will continue to monitor these schools.

Charter Schools: Policies and Processes Information of timelines was provided by the Office of Charter Schools for the new charter school applications, the charter school renewal process and the non-compliance and revocation process for charter schools.

District and School Transformation Update Dr. Ashley provided a brief update on the activities of the Turnaround Teams in the 24 area high schools and the status of the needs assessments for those schools.

Lateral Entry Licenses for NC Virtual Public School Teachers of Critical Languages This item was also heard in the TCP Committee and was recommended to moved to Action on First Reading.

 

Thursday, February 5, 2009 

8:30 AM State Board of Education Meeting, Howard Lee, Chairman

 

Swearing-In Ceremony for New State Board of Education Member

The Honorable Carl R. Fox, North Carolina Superior Court Judge

·      Dr. William C. Harrison, Fayetteville, NC, At-Large Member

Dr. Harrison is the first person to serve as both State Board of Education Chairman and as Chief Executive Officer, a position created by Gov. Perdue to consolidate authority and accountability for public schools in North Carolina. Bill is the former superintendent of Cumberland County Schools and prior to that he was in Orange County and Hoke County.

Call to Order, Pledge of Allegiance, Approval of Minutes

Resolution Honoring Outgoing Deputy State Superintendent

·      Mr. John B. Buxton

Remarks by State Board of Education Chairman, Howard N. Lee Chairman

Election of State Board of Education Chairman Vice Chair Wayne McDevitt nominated Dr. Harrison and John Tate seconded the motion. Dr. Harrison was elected by unanimous consent.

Special Presentation by the North Carolina Association of School Administrators

·      Mr. Howard N. Lee 2009 Champion for Children Award

 

 

Information Agenda

Healthy Responsible Students

·      HRS 1 Consolidated Data Report: Crime and Violence, Suspensions and Expulsions, and Dropout Rates and Counts The State Board is asked to accept the report.  The full report is on line at:

http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/newsroom/news/2008-09/0305/consolidated-report.doc

This is the first time that all of this related data was assembled and reported in one document. The report is an attempt to show the possible relationship between crime and violence incidents, suspensions and expulsions and high school dropouts. By consolidating the reports, that look at each area, it is hoped there will be a better understanding on how to efficiently address student needs and help more students stay in school and be successful. Yadkin County was the only school district to have low rates in all three measures, while five districts, Clay County, Mount Airy City, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City, Elkin City and Cherokee County were on two of the three top 10 lists in terms of districts with the best performance in all three report areas. School districts, with positive performance in the three areas, report using a variety of approaches to help improve student behavior and prevent dropouts. These include ninth grade academies, Positive Behavior Support, credit recovery programs, alternative programs and schools, early college and high school/college dual enrollment opportunities. The total number of acts of crime and violence increased from 11,013 in 2006-07 to 11,276 which equates to a one percent increase. The total number of violent crimes actually decreased by 3.6 percent. The information on short-term suspensions declined from 310,744 to 308,010 from 2006-07 to 2007-08. One in ten students receives a short-term suspension each year. A total of 5,225 long-term suspensions were given to students during the last school year up from 4,736 in 2006-07. Expulsions increased from 106 to 116 and the number of student placements in alternative programs decreased (14,414) during this same time period. North Carolina high schools reported that 22,434 students out of approximately 450,000 North Carolina high school students dropped out of school in 2007-08.

Chairman’s Remarks

Update on the Framework for Change Dr. Garland presented a brief overview of the activities and events involved with the Framework for Change project. Work continues on the standards, assessment and accountability models along with the development of a new website for easy access and understanding of the plan. A survey is being conducted on the results of the new writing pilot for Grades 4 and 7. She also indicated that NAEP is developing a computer-based writing test, at this time.

 

State Superintendent’s Report

Dr. June Atkinson presented a brief slide presentation involving the details to date of some of the guideline in the Federal Stimulus package. She did not address any specific financial data only that she and Mr. Price are in contact with USED regarding the use of the funding when it becomes available. 

Board Meeting and Committee Chair Reports-Listed Above

 

Recommendations on the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act No Child Left Behind:

Dr. Sullivan presented a brief review of the additions made to the recommendations in this document. There are two additions to the State Authority and Flexibility Section: 1) Amend NCLB to define high schools as grade 9-12 instead of grade 10-12. This would provide more flexibility to states in meeting the requirement of the Act; and 2) Amend the law so that state using End-of-Course (EOC) assessments can ensure that appropriate assessments and accountability are in place for certain students with disabilities at the high school level, who do not take the general EOC assessments as a part of their curriculum offers. One item has been added to the Accountability Determinations/Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Section: 1) Codify the use of a growth model in AYP calculations. Finally, in the School Choice and Supplemental Education Services (SES) one item is added: 1) Codify the option of allowing Title I School Improvement schools to offer supplemental education services (SES) before the option of school choice (transfer). This document is being forwarded to the North Carolina Congressional Delegation in Washington. 

 

2009 LEGISLATIVE SESSION MEMO #7

On Monday, Governor Perdue presented her State of the State address to both Chambers of the General Assembly. She focused on tough economic times and the deep cuts to the budget that will require “service, courage, and sacrifice”.  She offered no specifics on her budget plan scheduled to be released next week.  She pledged to continue spending on education, promising to increase public school per-pupil funding, and eliminate the duplication of standardized tests. However, the Republicans rolled out their own recommendations including increasing class size from 21 to 23 students. By adding two students to each class they have determined it would save the state about $300 million by cutting the number of teachers needed. House Minority Leader, Paul Stam, stated that by giving good incentive pay to teachers and having the best teachers rather than reducing class size would be a better use of state funds. Other cost-cutting proposals included consolidating the More at Four and Smart Start pre-kindergarten programs to eliminate duplication, using software to catch bogus Medicaid claims and suspending the state funding of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. In addition, they proposed that the money from the national tobacco litigation settlement should revert to the state’s general fund. State agencies have been ordered to reduce their spending by another 9 percent in anticipation of the $3 billion shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year. Governor Perdue plans to release her budget on Tuesday, March 17 to the Joint Appropriations Committee of the General Assembly.

On Tuesday, the House Education Committee heard the “Healthy Youth Act”. This bill would require school systems to offer two courses in sex education, abstinence and a comprehensive program. Parents would be given the choice with a permission form and if no form is received they would be placed in the Comprehensive course. There was intense debate. Representative Stam questioned the fiscal note that said there would no cost to the state or the local school systems. The bill is effective with the start of the 2009-2010 school year, which is July 7, 2009 in year-round schools in Wake County. A representative from New Hanover County spoke on their implementation of both courses that allows parents to choose. The argument was very partisan with the Democrats supporting the legislation and the Republicans questioning the need for such a bill. The call for the ayes and no’s was sustained and after much debate the vote was 32-21 in favor. The bill received a Favorable Report and was sent to House Health Committee, where it will be debated again.

Also on Tuesday this week, the Health Plan legislation (SB 287) was heard in the Senate Committee on Health and Medical Benefits. The bill does several things, but the first one is to correct the funding shortfall ($250 million) for 2008-2009 by transferring $250 million from the “Rainy Day” fund to the General fund.  The legislation needs to pass by April 1, 2009 to appropriate the $250 million, which will be out of money by March 31, and give the Health Plan three months to prepare for the plan changes to take effect on July 1, 2009. The plan changes cover the $850 million costs for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, with a combination of state funds, employee contributions and benefit cuts. The major issue that has developed in the latest version is the pharmacy changes. Legislators are being bombarded with calls from the pharmacists. The bill is trying to save $90 million in pharmacy costs. One way will be to set up an extended provider group (pharmacies who agree to participate by lowering the costs of their drugs) and by requiring mail order drugs (primarily for maintenance drugs required due to a chronic health condition). The independent pharmacies say the bill changes will drive them out of business. The State Employees Credit Union and Retired employees raised concerns about the increased co-pays and higher deductibles. An attempt to require all employees to pay a modest ($10/per month) fee for insurance, was opposed by the employees groups, so this change was not added to the bill. The proposed committee substitute received a Favorable Report, in spite of the issues raised by Senators, and was sent to Appropriations.

On Wednesday, Senate Appropriations heard the Health Bill (SB 287) again. Senator Rand emphasized the need to move this bill so it could get to the House. If they don’t pass it by April 1, it will add an additional 15% cost to the plan and the need for funds. Overall, the employees are expected in savings and higher co-pays etc. to cover $186 million and the State $218 million in each year of the biennium. Another key provision in the bill, eliminates the 90/10 plan and to qualify for the 80/20 plan you must be a non-smoker by July 1, 2010 and you cannot be obese according to their charts by July 1, 2011, otherwise you can only be enrolled in the 70/30 plan. The State Employees group had Senator Doug Berger (Franklin) run an amendment to allow the Health Plan contracts to be open to designated people. These contracts were made confidential a number of years ago. Senator Rand opposed the amendment saying it would jeopardize the plan savings they were getting by participating in the Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO. There were further discussions about the amendment and eventually the amendment was defeated by voice vote. The bill passed with a voice vote that lacked a clear “yes”, but was called by Chairman Garrou as favorable and will now go to the Senate floor. On Thursday, the Senate called another meeting (for two hours) to allow members to further discuss the changes to the Health Plan bill again. They asked questions regarding costs, services, benefits, and options provided in the Plan. The major topic for members, still involved the pharmacy changes, covering the cost of drugs, mail order options and the impact to independent pharmacies in the State.

Late Wednesday, Governor Perdue used her authority as Governor to take all the funding in the “Rainy Day” fund ($787 million and set it aside to cover the deepening budget shortfall in the Health Plan and the General Fund). The State also posted its unemployment numbers on Wednesday and they have increased to 9.7 percent the highest they have been since 1983.

In other news this week, Representative Glazier and Senator Boseman held a press conference to introduce their “Bullying Bill” The same bill that failed to pass at the end of last session, has been introduced again with the same language. It requires policy changes for school systems and sets out classes of individuals for protection.

The House and Senate Appropriations Chairs met with Governor Perdue, on Wednesday, separately to discuss the upcoming release of her budget.

At another press conference on Wednesday, Representative Gulley talked about his legislation to remove the cap on Charter Schools. Several bills have been introduced regarding charter schools and there may be more to come.

Next week Governor Perdue will begin releasing her budget, on Monday. Updates will be sent by e-mail as soon as information on Education funding for public schools is shared. Stay Tuned for e-mails next week as it will be busy.

 

Bills Introduced:

House:

HB 439 Tax on Lottery Winnings

HB 471 Pay Equity Study

HB 512 Incentives for Energy Conservation

HB 518 Lottery Name Change

HB 532 E-NC Connectivity/Economic Development Fund

HB 536 Task Force on Sport Injuries in Schools

HB 537 New Assistant Principals/No Pay Decrease

HB 539 Merger Smart Start and More-at-Four

HB 544 Economic Impact/Regulatory Legislation

HB 547 School Calendar Flexibility/3 LEAs

HB 548 School Violence Prevention Act

HB 555 Transparency in Recommendations

HB 558 Modernize Sales Tax Statute/Digital Products

HB 582 Special Education Changes

HB 583 Clarify Local School Board Sovereign Immunity

HB 584 School Funding Flexibility/Pilot Program

HB 585 Appropriate Funds to Enrollment Reserve for BRAC LEAs

HB 593 Change School Starting Date

HB 599 Model Program Children w/Disabilities

HB 601 Mental Health Services for Children/Kids Care

 

Senate:

SB 478 Modify School Calendar Law

SB 486 Change Corporate Income Tax

SB 487 Modernize Sale Tax Statute/Digital Products

SB 491 Expunge Nonviolent Crimes

SB 519 State Health Plan/First Day Coverage

SB 526 School Violence Prevention Act

SB 531 PTA Parental Involvement/Dropout Prevention Funds

SB 534 Healthy Families and Healthy Workplaces Act

SB 546 Calculation of the Dropout Rate

SB 554 School Calendar Flexibility/2 LEAs

SB 558 Retirement System COLAS

SB 567 Promote Electricity Demand Reduction

SB 573 Modify Charter School Law

SB 594 Study Existing Children/Youth Programs

SB 596 Filling Vacancies in Local Offices

 

 

House Committees:

Education

HB 88 Healthy Youth Act Favorable Report Lengthy Discussion Favorable Vote in the affirmative 32-21. Referred to Health.

HB 185 Communities in Schools Funds Favorable Report and re-referred to Appropriations.

HB 188 Study Raising Compulsory Attendance Age Pulled after brief discussion.

Subcommittee on Universities

HB 83 Modify Out-of-State Tuition Exemption-Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Appropriations.

HB 256 UNC/Calculation of In-State Students-Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Appropriations.

Health

HB 329 Retired Nurses Return to Work Pulled from the agenda, awaiting Fiscal Note.

Judiciary III

HB 417 Drivers License Changes/Young Drivers-Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute (Changes effective date to April 2010) and re-referred to Transportation.

 

 

Local Government

HB 357 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute Favorable Report and re-referred to Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform.

Ways and Means/Broadband

HB 9 No Texting While Driving Passed an Amendment and sent to subcommittee to be chaired by Representatives Tolson and Tillis.

 

Senate Committees:

Employee Health and Medical Benefits

SB 287 State Health Plan$/Good Health Initiatives Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Appropriations.

Appropriations/Base Budget

SB 287 State Health Plan $/Good Health Initiatives Favorable Report to the Committee Substitute.  Amendment Failed.

Pensions and Retirement Discussed option on impact of losses to Retirement Account as a result of the economy and investment losses. Senate Appropriations chairs quizzed Michael Williamson on saving funds by reducing the COLA paid to retirees or other benefits. The members were told they could not act to reduce the COLA in spite of repeated questioning to do so.

 

House Floor:

HB 94 Clarify Definition of Retirement Passed second and third reading and sent to the Senate.

 

Bills in Committee next week:

HB 218 Parents & Student Educational Involvement Act

HB 42 Science Safety in the Public Schools

HB 188 Study Raising the Compulsory Attendance Age

HB 209 Sex Offender Registry/Liberties w/Student

 

Jt. Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting on Education:

March 17 Joint Appropriations-Governors Budget

March 18 Joint Appropriations Education-Governor’s Education Budget

March 19 Joint Appropriations Education-Principals’ Executive Program

2009 LEGISLATIVE SESSION MEMO #6

Monday began with snow and that seemed to slow things down a bit. The Governor has set up an American Recovery website, http://www.ncrecovery.gov/ to access current information on the federal stimulus funds available to North Carolina. Concerns were raised last weekend over Governor Perdue’s reallocating Education Lottery funds to fill a budget hole. There were also news reports of Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s contract with the state’s health plan and that they are charging 18 times what the state pays EDS to process Medicaid claims. The contract goes through 2013 and doesn’t appear there are any options for changing the contract.

On Tuesday morning Joint Education Appropriations heard from President Erskine Bowles and Dr. Hope Williams of the Independent Colleges and Universities. President Bowles said his two priorities for the budget included $47 million for enrollment growth and increased funding for “Need Based Aid.” He was questioned for more than 45 minutes on issues of graduation rate program cuts. Dr. Williams provided an update on information regarding the private colleges, including the number of students degrees awarded in various programs, grant support, and the savings to NC for support of the private colleges. She requested additional funding to maintain current grant levels.

The Senate approved the Governor Perdue’s bill to allow her to bring in Dr. Bill Harrison as the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Public Instruction and Chairman of the State Board of education. She signed the bill into law, at a ceremony at the Capital on Wednesday morning, and Dr. Harrison was sworn in at the State Board meeting on Thursday morning.

Governor Perdue will address the House and Senate on Monday, March 9. Her budget release planned for later next week, will be yet another week. Hopefully, it will be finished by March 18. The delay will likely push the timeline out for the Senate to finish their budget.

The pace on the number of bills being filed has increased substantially this week. Several bills of a rather contentious nature have surfaced, everything from home-school and charter school students participating in interscholastic events, charter schools county funding, school calendar flexibility for some counties, and corporate taxes for public school construction redirected.

Bills Introduced:

House

HB 354 Funds for School Health Centers

HB 357 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute

HJR 363 Invite Governor Beverly E. Perdue to Address a Joint Session of the Senate and House of Representatives-March 9th

HB 364 State Board of Education Confirmations

HB 365 Joint Session for State Board of Education Confirmations

HB 372 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Credit

HB 386 LEA Sales Tax Refund

HB 387 School Nutrition Program Funds

HB 417 Drivers License Changes/Young Drivers

HB 418 Drivers License Changes/Older Drivers

HB 427 Counties May Fund Charter Schools

HB 429 Retirement System Colas

HB 433 Change Corporate Income Tax

HB 437 Modify Requirements for School Admission

HB 438 State Health/Calendar Year

HB 439 State Health Plan Taxpayer Recovery Act

HB 440 The Nicholas Adkins School Bus Safety Act

HB 441 No Sunset Teacher Personal Leave Provision

HB 442 Parental Involvement on School Discipline

HB 443 Increase Class Size in the Public Schools

HB 444 Pay Teachers for Second Master’s Degree

HB 470 Calculation of the Dropout Rate

HB 482 Reinstatement of Sick Leave/School Employees

HB 483 School Calendar Flexibility Some LEAs

HB 499 School Calendar Flexibility/2 LEAs

HB 509 Funds for Academically Gifted Children

Senate

SB 337 NC Illegal Immigration Reform Act

SB 355 State Health Plan/Local Government Retiree Contributions

SB 358 Teacher Assistants in Special Education Classes/Personal Leave

SB 362 Retired Teachers Return to Work

SB 363 Positive Behavior Support Position Funds

SB 375 Insurance/Cover Hearing Aids

SB 378 Counties May Fund Charter

SB 379 Remove Cap on the Number of Charter Schools

SB 386 Make Best Use of Corporate Tax Revenue

SB 396 Assignment of Twins to Charter Schools

SB 397 Increase Cap on Charter Schools

SB 406 Classroom Experience for School Personnel

SB 424 Reorganize Schools with High Dropout Rate

SB 427 Restore Contract Rights to State/Local

SB 451 Strengthen Driver Education

SB 455 School Calendar/Some LEAs

SB 462 Restore Public Schools’ Sales Tax Refund

House Committees:

Joint Appropriations Education/Higher Education

UNC of NC /Private Colleges Brief Update Included in Summary Notes Above.

Pre-K Programs –Cancelled

Financial Aid Escheats Fund-Cancelled

Education:

HB 42 Science Safety in Public Schools PULLED for changes

HB 65 Students Under 16 May Attend Community College Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute. Lengthy Debate. Re-referred to Appropriations.

HB 187 Encourage Policies to Facilitate Graduation Favorable Report to Committee Substitute. Re-referred to Judiciary II. Members had many concerns about policy development.

Education Subcommittee on Community Colleges

HB 199 Salary Funds/Community College Staff and Faculty Favorable Report and referred Appropriations

HB 228 Community College Sales Tax Refund Assigned to Subcommittee on Community Colleges, Favorable Report and referred to Appropriations.

Education Subcommittee on Universities

HB 83 Modify Out of State Tuition Exemption No Vote was taken. Lots of discussion from members on both sides on this issue. State will need $13+ million in 2009-2010 to fund the original legislation giving out-of state students in-state tuition for academic and athletic scholarships

HB 256 UNC/Calculation of In-State Students No Vote, this bill changes the rules on how students from out-of-state under scholarship are counted as in-state for purposes of the 18% cap on out-of-state students.

Local Government II:

HB 193 Electronic Notice of Public Hearing Favorable Report. Re-referred to Judiciary I.

Health:

HB 2 Prohibit Smoking in Public & Work Places Favorable Report to Committee Substitute. Re-referred to Judiciary I.

HB 21 Eugenics Program-Support and Education Favorable Report and referred to Education

Judiciary I:

HB 81 Notice of Special/Emergency Meetings Favorable Report

Judiciary II:

HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Favorable Report

Pensions and Retirement:

HB 94 Clarify Definition of Retirement Favorable Report to Committee Substitute

Senate Committees:

Finance: An Evaluation of NC’s Economic Development Incentive Programs, Brent Lane, Executive Director, UNC Center for Competitive Economies

State and Local Government:

SB 248 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute Favorable Report

Note: House bills are usually assigned to two committees for review. You can view the committee assignments by linking to the bill.

House Floor:

HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Passed second and third reading and sent to the Senate.

HB 79 Extend School Formula Study Committee Passed second and third reading and sent to the Senate.

Senate Floor:

SB 198 State Board of Education/Membership Restrictions House Committee Substitute Concurred with House and sent to the Governor. Signed into law Wednesday March 4,

SB 248 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute Passed second and third readings and sent to the House.

HB 363 Invite Governor Perdue to Address a Joint Session of the Senate and House of Representatives. Ratified.

Bills in Committee Next Week:

SB 287 State Health Plan $/Good Health Initiatives

HB 88 Healthy Youth Act

HB 185 Communities in Schools Funds

HB 188 Study Raising Compulsory Attendance Age

HB 357 Conform County School Board Vacancy Statute

2009 LEGISLATIVE SESSION MEMO #5

The Joint Appropriations Committee met on Tuesday to discuss the Federal Stimulus Package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and how it might impact Education funding in North Carolina. A one-page summary was sent out on Tuesday.

The Governor’s bill, SB 198 was presented by Senator Stevens, in House Education on Tuesday, and for almost 45 minutes members grilled him on many aspects of the bill. They were trying to debate the Governance issue and that is not what is in the bill. Simply the bill is intended to allow the Governor to employ Bill Harrison as Chief Executive Officer of DPI and appoint him to the State Board of Education, as a paid public school employee. The law only allows for one board member to be employed and paid with public school funding and there is already a Board member serving who is a full time teacher. The bill received a Favorable Report at the end of the meeting with a technical amendment and then was sent to State Government and Personnel where it again received a Favorable Report. It was on the House floor Thursday and passed 109-3. It was sent back to the Senate by Special Messenger and is on the Senate calendar for final approval of the amended bill on Monday, March 2.

On Wednesday, the Joint Finance Committee met to review the Federal Stimulus package as it relates to tax credits and the impact on NC revenue loss. The tax cuts may mean a $215 million loss in 2008-2009 and $370 million in 2009-2010. The majority of cuts are related to Business Incentive cuts. These cuts are temporary and will expire in two years. There is also an additional $100 million in tax cuts that were implemented by the Federal government last year, after the 2008-2009 budget had passed, which may need to be considered.

The Joint Education Appropriation Committee met this week to hear from President Ralls of the Community Colleges and Philip Price, Finance Officer of the Department of Public Instruction. Dr. Ralls talked about where the critical funding is needed for Community Colleges. He mentioned possible program cuts and the need for $47 million in enrollment funding.

Dr. Bill Harrison, Superintendent of Cumberland Schools, soon to be Chief Executive Officer of DPI and Chairman of the State Board of Education addressed the committee on Thursday. He emphasized the importance of technology, addressing the graduation rate, Learn and Earn and other programs. He answered a series of questions by members and then he turned it over to Philip Price. Mr. Price addressed the budget cuts to education, reversions and the budget deficit impacting public schools this year. On September 18, 2008, public schools were requested to reduce their budgets 1 percent and 2 percent to DPI ($78,000,000). On November 4, 2008, there was another 1.5 percent reduction to public schools and 4 percent to DPI ($117,000,000). On January 15, 2009, there was a third request for 3 percent from public schools and 6 percent for DPI ($158,948,312). The source of the reductions includes: LEA reversions $58 million, agency reversions of $100.9 million, 10 percent ($4.6 million) from DPI, school bus fuel ($35 million), ADM contingency reserve ($14 million), prior year funds ($14 million), and natural reversions ($33.2 million). On February 25, 2009, DPI transferred the last quarterly lottery construction funds, $37,632,989 that were to be released to the LEAs and $5,621,104 from the Corporate Fund for school construction, to enable the state budget office to handle existing bills. In addition, the Governor is holding $50 million from the Lottery Reserve Fund, $100 million of the Corporate Funds ($316 million total in the fund-$120 million undesignated), and $50 million from the Textbook Fund ($65 million total) to handle additional state revenue needs for the remainder of the budget year. It is possible Governor Perdue may use some of the $258 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (flexible allotment) to restore the cuts made to school construction funding. Mr. Price was asked about the cut to public schools in the fall. A list of the funds relinquished by each LEA was provided (Wake-$5,478,413). The cut was based on average daily membership. He also mentioned the declining enrollment in public schools across the state. The state has budgeted approximately 25,000 new students each year over the past few years and in 2008-2009 that number only reached 6,000.

The Governor is expected to give her State of the State address on Monday evening, March 9, 2009. Following her address she plans to release her budget later in the week. The Senate will take several weeks after she sends her budget to the Legislature to complete their budget and then off to the House who will work on their budget plan. The budget and the health plan seem to be consuming everyone’s time right now. Bill introduction deadlines are approaching and it doesn’t appear that they will reach the numbers of bills introduced in the 2007 Session.

 

Bills Introduced:

House

HB 264 DPI/Curriculum on 1898 Wilmington Race Riot

HB 268 School Capital Fund Formula/Lottery Proceeds

HB 282 Green School Construction/Loan Fund

HB 283 Clarify Broadband Internet Access Definition

HB 284 Extend Renewable Energy Credit Sunset

HB 285 Salary Increase for Substitute Teachers

HB 288 Remove Cap on the Number of Charter Schools

HB 299 Reinstate LEA Sales Tax Refund

HB 302 Wake School Board Elections

HB 308 PTA Parental Involvement/Dropout Prevention Funds

HB 311 Continue School Construction Funding

HB 324 Stimulus Funds/Contractor Must Use E-Verify

HB 329 Retired Nurse Return to Work

HB 335 Tax Fairness in Education

HB 338 Stimulus Funds/Contractor Must Use E-Verify

HB 339 Taxpayer Transparency Act

HB 344 Employer Must Use Federal E-Verify Program

HB 348 Modify Education Requirement/School Board Members

HB352 Lottery School Capital Fund Formula

HB 354 Funds for School Health Centers

 

Senate

SB 265 Fund Only One School System Per County

SB 273 School Nutrition Program Funds

SB 281 Funds for Healthy Carolinians

SB 283 Funds for School Health Centers

SB 287 State Health Plan $/Good Health Initiatives

SB 297 No Sunset/Teacher Personal Leave Provision

SB 306 New Assistant Principals/No Pay Decrease

SB 312 LEA Sales Tax Refund

SB 314 Funds for Center for Advancement of Teaching

SB 320 Study Raising Compulsory Attendance Age

SB 321 Encourage Policies to Facilitate Graduation

SB 322 Communities in Schools Funds

SB 323 Funding for Learn and Earn

SB 335 Transparency in Recommendations

SB 337 NC Illegal Immigration Reform Act

 

House Committees:

Education:

HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Favorable Report and re-referred to Judiciary II.

HB 79 Extend School Formula Study Committee Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to Rules, Calendar and Operations.

SB 198 State Board of Education/Membership Restrictions Favorable Report to Committee Substitute and re-referred to State Government/State Personnel.

State Government/State Personnel:

SB 198 State Board of Education/Membership Restrictions Favorable Report

Health:

HB 18 Speech Language Pathologist Qualifications Favorable Report and re-referred to Finance.

Judiciary II:

HB 43 School Board Members/Failure to Discharge Duty Favorable Report

Judiciary III:

HB 205 Lottery Act Changes-Favorable Report to Proposed Committee Substitute and re-referred to House Finance.

HB 134 Assault State or Local Officer or Employee Sent to Subcommittee

 

House Floor:

SB 198 State Board of Education/Membership Restrictions House Committee Substitute Passed second and third reading and returned to the Senate. No discussion.

 

Bills in Committee Next Week:

HB 42 Science Safety in the Public Schools

HB 65 Students Under 16 May Attend Community College

HB 187 Encourage Policies to Facilitate Graduation

HB 193 Electronic Notice of Public Hearings

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