Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation Meeting: Summary

March 11, 2010

Senator Donald Davis

Representative Earline Parmon

Raising Graduation Rates and Student Achievement in Lexington City Schools Rick Kriesky, Superintendent, Lexington City Schools and Greg Newlin, Principal Lexington Senior High presented on the good, bad, and ugly issues with student achievement in the district. The good is: Department of Public Instruction support, Communities in Schools, Project Potential, and Freshman Academy. The bad is the test scores which show 2008-2009 Algebra I scores at 53 percent proficient and end-of-grade Reading scores at 54 percent proficient. The ugly issues are problems with curriculum alignment, building transitions, isolationism, and attention to details. Student enrollment in Lexington City schools in 832 with 73 percent economically disadvantaged. Seven percent of teachers are board certified. Teacher turnover has decreased from a high of 38 percent to 13 percent and test scores for the most part are improving over the past three years. The path to success can be found through: reconfiguring schools, reading initiatives, administrative alignment, community connections, strong grade teams, personalizing student connections, staff development, high expectations, and accountability. Greg Newlin reviewed the statistics and noted the graduation rate had improved from 42 percent to 70 percent. They are moving toward 70 percent proficiency on end-of-course tests and they have increased their scholarships for students from $0.5 million to $3.5 million. Senator Tillman expressed concern for the 47 arrests made at school and the lack of an alternative school for these students. Members addressed other program options like NCVPS and administrative support.

Christina Howell, Executive Director Communities in Schools of Lexington/Davidson County and Linda Harrill, President and CEO of Communities in Schools North Carolina presented the services being offered in Lexington City Schools. Rodney Hughey reviewed the “Achieve More” program. At the end of 2008-2009 school year students showed improved academics, improved behavior, and graduation rates increased compared to 2006-2007, while attendance and promotions had dropped, the number of students staying school was unchanged. Seventy percent of all students are passing courses.

Proposed Dropout Recommendations: The Commission made eleven recommendations for the members to consider at their final meeting in April.

  1. Amend dropout grants criteria to give preference to applicants from counties with no current grant recipients.
  2. Amend dropout grants criteria to give priority to programs serving students in schools with a cohort graduation rate of less than sixty percent in the most recent school year and one of two prior school years or have a performance composite below fifty percent.
  3. The Committee on Dropout Prevention should use the evaluation of previous program elements termed to be effective in awarding grants to those programs using these successful elements.
  4. Support for the P-20 data system and encourage the Dept. of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and others to collect data on students they are educating.
  5. LEAs are encouraged to use EVAAS data
  6. Funding up to $100,000 from dropout grants appropriation used to assess programs and track progress of programs receiving grants including those in previous years, but who may not have a grant anymore.
  7. LEAs encouraged to match at-risk (dropout) student with staff member mentor.
  8. LEAs are to encourage students to participate in internships and job-shadowing.
  9. UNC Board of Governors is directed to study the impact of raising the compulsory attendance age from sixteen to seventeen or eighteen and to report by January 31, 2011.

10.  The Commission recommends funds be appropriated to Communities in Schools to place 100 graduation coaches in middle and highs schools across the state.

11.  The Commission directs the State Board of Education to:

  1. Prior to 2010-2011 develop a growth model with annual goals for continuous and substantial improvement in the 4 year cohort graduation rate.
  2. Establish a short-term goal for LEAs to meet the annual growth model beginning with the graduating class of 2011 and thereafter.
  3. Establish as a long-term goal a statewide 4-year cohort gradation rate of ninety percent by 2016.

Senator Queen suggested including a recommendation for a High School Graduation Center to identify best practices statewide and use of EVAAS data at the center. The Commission will have its final meeting in April to vote on their recommendations for short session.

Final Meeting: April 15, 2010 at 10:00AM.

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JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMISSION ON GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS: Summary

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Co-Chairmen:

Senator Marc Basnight, President Pro Tempore of the Senate

Representative Joe Hackney, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Debt Affordability Advisory Committee Report by Janet Cowell, State Treasurer. Only seven states have the highest AAA bond rating from the three major rating agencies. They are: DE, GA, MD, MO, NC, UT, and VA. The AAA rating is easy to lose and hard to get back and is based on several factors including; reserves, stability of revenue system, debt management and management of long-term liabilities. North Carolina’s Rainy Day fund has dropped to $150 million from a high of almost $800 million in 2008. Right now NC has a structural budget imbalance. The total debt is $1.9 billion with $487.7 million in general obligation and $1.413.3 million in special indebtedness. In addition, the legislature in 2009 authorized another $158 million in debt with three new projects. Based on the debt affordability study NC has a debt capacity of $18.1 million for 2010, which means they can only issue approximately $9.1 million each year over the next five years, based on 4% revenue gains. Transportation debt affordability is $0 for the next two years.

NC State Retirement System: The NC retirement system is fortunate in that they are experiencing above median returns with below median risk. We have an 8.87% return on investment over the past ten years. NC has one the most conservative states with a return assumption of 7.25% compared to other states, who use a figure of 8.00% on their returns. NC also has a higher percentage of fixed income in its portfolio. In reviewing state pension contributions the retirement fund is estimated to collect $364 million in 2009-2010, while the 2010-2011 actual collections should be $684 million and the appropriated rate for 2010-2011 is expected to only reach $503 million (net gain of $181 million). The annual retirement contribution is a small percentage of the total losses to the plan. The plan has lost slightly under $16 billion. The NC employer contribution rates are low compared to surrounding states: NC-6.7%, VA-13%, GA-10.4%, TN-9.4%, SC-8.1%, and other large private companies 7.3%. In 2002, the NC employer contribution rate as percent of salary dropped to 0 and increased to 2.17% in 2004 and will be at 6.71% in 2010 (reached a high of 10.03% from 1984-1987), while the employee contribution rate has remained stable at 6.0%. Projected contributions based on a current assumption rate of 7.25% return on investment will need to increase. In 2012, the rate will need to increase to 9.19% and climb to 12.20% in 2015-2016, before dropping slightly through 2010 to 11.43%. These rates should keep the plan funded above the 90% threshold. If NC delays making the actuarial required contribution the projection of funded ratios contribution gap will reach $9.8 billion by 2020 and that is based on 0% COLAs every year and annual market returns of 15% and 7.25% and a valuation interest rate of 7.25%. If the market returns only 6.25% (less than 7.25% assumption) the annual required state contribution rates will increase to 19 percent in 2011-2012 and reach 21.73% in 2013-2014, before dipping down to 16.75% in 2020.

In addition, NC is continuing to accumulate dept to pay unemployment. NC paid out $2.5 billion in unemployment insurance benefits last year. At the current rates of borrowing NC will owe the Federal Government between $3.2 and $3.5 billion by the end of 2010. The borrowed funds are interest free until December 31, 2010 and after that a 4.36% interest will be applied to these borrowed funds. At this interest rate NC will owe an additional $153 million in interest alone to the Federal Government.

Update on State Investments Janet Cowell, State Treasurer reported in her letter to the legislature the short-term investment fund has had a 1.73% fiscal year return through December 31, 2009. The total trust fund annual return, which is a combination of the long-term investment fund income and equity investment fund long-term investment, was 14.96% for the past year and over the past five years totaled an average return of 3.64%. The long-term fund as of December 31, 2009 was 2.68% over the past five years and the equity investment fund quarterly had $901 million more than the end of the prior reporting quarter. The annual return for the equity fund was 32.68%. Of these additional funds, $650 million was needed to pay benefits or was reallocated to other investment funds. A spreadsheet was presented with a list of the revenues, expenditures and investments for the state. The overall report on the investment funds shows a 14.96% return over the past 12 months.  This includes the long-term fund, equity fund, real estate fund, and alternative investment fund. The total combined net assets are $78,870,409,577 billion.

General Fund Revenue Outlook and Economic Report Dr. Barry Boardman, Economist, NC Fiscal Research Division’s report highlighted: the State’s collections are $45 million below $12.1 billion target through February. The Revenue Department over collected $272 million otherwise the budget shortfall would be $320 million or 2.6% below target this fiscal year. Income tax withholding is down 4.1% through February, the same as in December and January making this $145 million below target. State tax collections continue to disappoint. Tax adjusted collections are down 11.0 % and net collections are up 12.2%, but budget targets expected a 15.9% increase. Sales tax collections are $125 million below target. Sales tax collections reflect the weak job employment outlook and consumer confidence. Withholding and Employment are nearly 2.2% below a $5.4 billion target. There has been no gain in total employment since January of 2008. Almost 300,000 fewer people are employed since the recession began in October 2008. Economic forecasts for 2010 are still pessimistic. The state budget included a 3.2% growth factor for 2010-2011, which will have to be reviewed. The 2010-2011 revenue adjustment is being affected by the slow recovery and lower tax collections. In addition, the federal estate tax expired for the 2010 year. The net loss for 2010-2011 to NC is estimated at $85 million. NC has anticipated the federal government would reenact the federal estate tax for 2010, but that has not happened yet.

Subcommittee on Health and Education Report Pam Leaman from Office of State Budget summarized six grants received by the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching. These grants totaled approximately $136,000. DPI also received $83,229 from GEAR UP NC to reimburse costs associated with administering PSAT/NMSQT to all 9th, 10th and 11th graders attending one of the GEAR UP schools.

Brain Matteson, Fiscal Analyst reported on the status of the funding of highs school students in higher education programs. He updated the committee on their request for data needed to determine the most efficient and effective way to pay for high school students enrolled in community colleges and universities. The final results will be presented to Joint Education Appropriations subcommittee.

*Documents are available upon request from my office.

JOINT LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SUMMARY

MARCH 9, 2010

Senator Foriest, Co-Chair

Representative Yongue, Co-Chair, presiding

Funding Multicampus Colleges in the Community College System

Jennifer Haygood, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, North Carolina Community College System

Currently there are 32 approved Multi-Campus College locations at 20 colleges. In order to receive funding each campus must serve at least 300 to 500 full time equivalent students with the allocation being $525,000, for 500 to 799 students ($575,000) and 800 plus students ($625,000). There are seven approved MCC locations not receiving full amount for which they are eligible. The recommendation is to include adjustments necessary to fully fund the MCC formula in future continuation budgets accordingly: Fully fund existing campuses $985,097 and fully fund the seven unfunded campuses $2,987,542, totally $3,972,639.  There are 24,009 students attending Multi-Campuses in North Carolina.

Higher Education Graduation Rates

North Carolina Community College, Dr. Scott Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System told members that by 2018, 62 percent of the workforce will require some college, and job growth will nearly double for associate degree holders from 10 percent to 18.7 percent. There has been a significant increase (150 percent Graduation Rate) in younger first time, full-time students enrolling in CC suggesting that early colleges and integration of 12th grade into CC may be having a positive impact. In 2005, 62,430 first-time students were enrolled and 17,671 were seeking first-time, full-time degree. A majority of the students are part-time while 24 percent are full-time students. In addition, 52 percent of all PELL students are at community colleges this year, and without work many of the students are attending full-time. Students withdraw from CC for a variety of reasons: transfer to a 4-year college, lack of money, pressure of working full-time, caring for dependents, or lack of academic preparedness. Over 60 percent of the students come to a community college to take one or more developmental (remedial) courses. Several strategies were discussed with the Committee members to assist students in completing their courses including: funding for summer school for developmental courses, supplemental instruction, and mentors.

UNC System, Dr. Alan Mabe, Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs, UNC General Administration and Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor, Fayetteville State University presented on

the graduation rates at UNC. The four-year rate in the UNC system is 35.2 percent, while the national number is 26.7 percent, the six-year graduation rate is 58.8 percent, nationally it is 49 percent. The total number of undergraduate students enrolled in the Fall of 2009 totaled 176,133 (958 high school students in college programs) with a grand total of Graduate students and Undergraduate students of 222,322. Several charts were provided indicating the goals and performance for each campus. Some of emerging themes from the discussion included: higher retention and graduation rates, increase access, early warning and response system for addressing student difficulties, and data and evidence-base outcomes to determine the appropriate support methods for various cohorts of students. A list of ten Campus Initiatives was also provided.

Independent Colleges and Universities, Dr. Hope Williams, President, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities presented on the Independent Colleges graduation rates data. They are collected for full-time, first-time degree- and certificate-seeking undergraduate students.  These students never have taken a college course at any other institution. This data excludes adult students who return to college to complete their degrees. Students who transfer are counted in the cohort as not graduating. The four-year graduation rates average 37 percent in the 2001 cohort, 46 percent in five-year cohort, and 48 percent in the six-year cohort.  In 2002, the graduation rate had no measurable change except for a slight drop in the percentage of five year graduate.

Demonstration – Online and Distance Education, Dr. Marilyn Sheerer, Provost, East Carolina University and Dr. Elmer Poe, Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Academic Outreach, East Carolina University presented on Distance Education. This is a critical, growing component of higher education; and UNC is offering one of the best online programs in the nation. Distance Education includes online offerings; off-campus face-to-face; blended models; and live video models. Distance and online education allow the university and community college systems to offer more degrees than on-site only programs can provide. They offer flexibility necessary to reach the broadest array of students, particularly in rural areas. It’s all about ACCESS. Distance Education students are primarily working adults; thus access is provided to the underserved. While Distance Education students account for 22 percent of the Fall 2009 enrollment, 25 percent of the Fall 20009 graduation list was comprised of Distance Education students.

UNC Online-Developed by UNC General Administration in conjunction with the 16 campuses offers 190 programs in 22 fields of study and features special areas for community college and military students.

East Carolina University has firmly established itself as North Carolina’s leader in offering online programs and services to students unable to attend campus classes. ECU provides over 70 degree and certificate programs for more than 6,000 students who are away from the campus and in each of NC’s 100 counties.

JOINT LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

SUMMARY

MARCH 10, 2010

Senator Foriest, Co-Chair, presiding

Representative Yongue, Co-Chair

Exceptional Children ARRA Update, Mary Watson, Director, Division for Exceptional Children, NC Department of Public Instruction presented information to the members on the use of IDEA funds allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Funds appropriated must be used consistently with the current IDEA Part B statutory and regulatory requirements and applicable requirement in GEPA and EDGAR. In addition, an LEA must use IDEA funds only for excess costs of providing special education and related services to children with disabilities, except where IDEA specially provides otherwise.  Funding appropriations in Part B, section 611 were allocated in April and October of 2009 each in the amount of $157,205,020 and Part B, section 619 (preschool) each allotment was in the amount of $6,035,571. The use of the funds were to be strategic and data driven with the use of the Continuous Improvement Performance Plan and data profiles to guide the expenditures and were to focus on improved teaching and learning, that will have a positive impact for children with disabilities. A majority of the expenditures were designated for salaries, assistive technology devices, professional development in using the assistive technology devices and for Positive Behavior Support training.  There were 3,231 positions created or saved with the funding from IDEA and 15,000 positions from the ARRA funds. The State Performance Plan indicators for students with disabilities indicated a slight increase in Reading EOG (3-8) from 29.1 percent in 2007-2008 to 37.9 percent in 2008-2009, Math EOG (3-8) 45.5 percent to 55.1 percent, Graduation Rate 56.3 percent to 56.8 percent and a slight decrease in the dropout from 8 percent to 7.1 percent. Members had concerns regarding the status of the positions created with these funds when the additional federal funding ends in 2011. They also asked if the funds were being used in accordance with the school improvement plan. Ms. Watson responded that the LEAs were using the money wisely and were aware of the loss of the positions for 2011-2012. The hope was for additional funding from the federal government in 2011.

Banning Corporal Punishment for Students with Disabilities, Tom Vitaglione, Senior Fellow Action for Children North Carolina and Sherri Strickland, Preschool Disabilities Coordinator, Pitt County System; Parent of a Student with Special Needs; and current President of the North Carolina Association of Educators presented to members. Mr. Vitaglione provided results from the 2006 Office of Civil Rights survey indicated 69 districts in North Carolina have banned the practice of corporal punishment, 20 districts still allow the practice, but did not use it, and 26 districts still allow the practice. The survey results show there were 1,400 incidents reported. There is no record of how many of these incidents involved students with disabilities so there is no way to determine if this is a localized occurrence or if it is widespread. Mrs. Strickland gave a brief summary of her teaching career with exceptional children and some of her personal experiences in managing exceptional child behavior. She was very supportive of the Positive Behavior Support initiative indicating there was documented success that this was the best way to handle inappropriate behavior.  She urged the Committee to recommend legislation this session that would ban corporal punishment for students with disabilities, recommend that local school boards implement Positive Behavioral Support in all schools as soon as possible, and require that incidents of corporal punishment be reported to the State Board at least annually, with delineations by student age, gender, race/ethnicity, and special education status. Representative Glazier spoke briefly from his own personal experiences and indicated he would support such legislation. Several members of the Committee also spoke in support of such legislation. There was concern that better data and reporting would be required and Representative Wiley reminded the Committee to proceed with caution since a child with a reading disability could potentially dodge punishment even though the student’s exceptionality has no connection to their behavior. Attempts have been made over the past twenty years to ban corporal punishment statewide but they have failed. NCSBA has opposed the ban, but it appears they may be willing to allow this modification to the ban (for special education students only).

Update – Restructuring the ABCs Accountability System, Dr. Lou Fabrizio, Accountability Policy and Communications Director, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction gave a brief historical overview of the report from the Blue Ribbon Commission and updated members on the status of recommendations in the report. The three major goals of the Commission were student accountability, closing the achievement gap, and increase the graduation rate. As a result the State Board of Education is developing the Framework for Change, ACRE Initiative. This Initiative will be developed around five indicators including: student performance, post-secondary readiness, student growth, graduation rates, and academic course rigor. He indicated legislative action would be required to clarify definitions of low-performing, continually low performing, and provide funding for financial incentive awards. The State Board activities have addressed calendar issues, Race to the Top (one of 16 finalists), planning with other states to incorporate common core standards and assessments, and developing strategies and terminology with the reauthorization ESEA.  In restructuring the accountability system for the future, additional work will be done in the areas of LEA accountability, post secondary readiness, increased academic rigor, set a 5-year graduation rate, and revised reporting procedures. Members were interested in the possible transition time for the new model. At the March 31st State Board of Education meeting, an Issues Session is planned to build consensus on a new accountability model. Depending on the progress accomplished during this meeting, a one to two year time frame for transition was indicated for completion, however, a two to three year transition might be more realistic. Staff is currently working to provide fiscal information to the General Assembly before the opening of session in May.

North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS), Kris Nordstrom, Fiscal Analyst, NC General Assembly Fiscal Research Division presented an overview of the NCVPS budget including funding, expenditures, teacher pay, and tuition options. Appropriations were received from the following sources: state $4.7 million, $871,000 Distance Learning, $6 million School Technology Fund, and $3.8 million from ARRA. There were no reversion funds for 2009-2010 as was available in the previous two years. Figures indicate that in 2009-2010, 36,468 students were enrolled in 3,282 classes provided by 933 instructors.

Bryan Setser, Executive Director, NC Virtual Public School discussed the background of NCVPS, the academic success of the program, cost, growth, and the future direction of virtual learning. The focus is now on educating the social and mobile generation.  Of the 10,596 students enrolled in the Fall 2009, 10,434 completed the course with an 85.84 percent pass rate. In these times of economic instability, members had concerns regarding sustainable, long-term funding for the program and possible options that may be available. NCVPS courses are provided at no charge for public school students. In December 2009 the State Board of Education made the decision to begin charging tuition to home-school and private school students taking NCVPS courses. At the March SBE meeting five options were presented for discussion relating to the payment of tuition which range from $375 to $450 per semester course. DPI staff proposed Option 4 (The student cost paid to the teacher plus $100 ($500 for year-long, $450 for block and semester, $300 for summer, $275 or $200 for SAT) as its recommendation. A decision is expected at the April SBE meeting. The General Assembly required that the SBE present a funding formula during the 2010 Session. The SBE proposal will include the projected number of courses in future years, multiplied by $247 as the marginal cost per course for consideration. The projected enrollment is expected to average 45,000 students per year. In addition, the General Assembly will likely continue to weigh costs and benefits of expanding offerings to the lower grade levels.

There was a great deal of interest in the Bus lab program now being used in Arizona and Arkansas. Buses are equipped with technology so that students may be connected to educational instruction while riding the bus before and after school thus extending their learning time.  Two districts, Bertie and Halifax, have shown interest in piloting such a program. Work is continuing with Union County this year with the Discovery Education program to support new teachers by using blended-learning and the expansion of NCVPS Modular for K-12 students. Questions regarding broadband and tuition fees concluded the presentation.

Carolyn McKinney, Executive Director, NC Professional Teaching Standards Commission, Working Conditions Survey, presented information regarding the 2010 survey. This is the fifth year for distribution of the survey and the goal is 90 percent participation. A brief review of the survey was presented including the two main components: Community Support and Involvement, Managing Student Conduct. The survey will be available online from March 15 to April 16. The following link is access to the TWC survey http://www.ncteachingconditions.org/.

Representative Rapp presented a proposal for consideration regarding the school calendar relative to snow make-up days for students in the Western part of the State who have lost as many as 16 days due to snow.  The proposal is to change the 180 days and 1,000 hours language in the legislation to 180 days or 1,000 hours for one year only as done previously when NC was hit with several major hurricanes.  A review of the legislation was explained stating that school were permitted to be in session after the June 10 date or time could be made up on Teacher workdays, Saturdays, Spring Break, Holidays or increase in daily hours. Representative Yongue indicated this issue would be addressed at the next meeting after discussion with the House leadership and members of both Chambers. However, this may be too late since many districts will be making decisions in the next two weeks to their calendars. The Buncombe Board just voted to extend their calendar past June 10th. The issue for some of the western school systems has to do with eliminating Spring Break. They are getting tremendous pressure from parents not to eliminate it. The Senate is not likely to want to revisit the calendar issue and with Spring Break approaching in the next two weeks if that is maintained the school systems will have no choice but to adjust their calendars to finish after June 10th.

New Meetings:  April 13-14

April 27 – Approval of final report

Summary of March State Board of Education Agenda

March 3 and 4, 2010

The State Board of Education March Meeting was held in Halifax County beginning with a tour of Aurelian Springs Elementary School and continuing on to William R. Davie Middle School where the Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee, Leadership and Innovation Committee, Globally Competitive Student Committee, and Healthy, Responsible Students Committee met on Wednesday, March 3. On Thursday, March 4, members of the State Board toured Southeast Halifax High School and then returned to William R. Davie Middle School where the full State Board of Education met to complete the remainder of the Agenda. At this time, the Twenty-First Century Professionals Committee had only one item approved on the Consent Agenda. Access to the Executive Summaries and back up documents are on the SBE website at:  http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/stateboard/meetings/2010/03.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee Meeting (10:00 AM)

Action

2010-2011 Supplemental Budget the supplemental budget was approved by conference call on Thursday, February 18. Copies are available upon request from my office.

  • TCS 1 Science Safety Standards APPROVED the “Science Safety Standards” policy and the APA rule-making process will start.  Furthermore, the DPI, School Planning Section, is authorized to review and approve middle and high school science facilities for safety. House Bill 42, An Act to Implement Science Safety Measures in the Public Schools” amends G.S. 115C-521 by the addition of the following language: (c1) No local board of education shall apply for a certificate of occupancy for any new middle or high school building until the plans for the science laboratory areas of the building have been reviewed and approved to meet accepted safety standards for school science laboratories and related preparation rooms and stockrooms. The review and approval of the plans may be done by the SBE or by any other entity that is licensed or authorized by the State Board to do so.

Committee Meeting: No Discussion.

Action on First Reading

  • TCS 2 Request for Repayment Waivers of the National Board Certification APPROVED the recommendations of the Appeals Panel. The State pays the participation fee for National Board Certification. If a teacher withdraws from the process or completes the process, but does not teach for at least one year after the process is finished they are required to repay the State the participation fee. The individuals requesting waivers are not included in this section. This is a Closed Session item.

Discussion

  • TCS 3 Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children The State Board briefly discussed the Council on Educational Services for Exceptional Children vacancies and provide recommendations to fill the following positions: LEA representative, a parent of a child with disabilities, and Exceptional Children teacher, and a vocational/business/community representative. The appointment terms are from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2014. The approval process will take place at the April meeting of the SBE.

Committee Meeting: Board members were requested to send recommendations to Ms. Betsy West as soon as possible.

  • TCS 4 Proposed SBE Policy Regarding LEA Rules and Regulations Related to Charter Transportation for School Related Events and Activities The State Board discussed a new policy to ensure the safety of students who travel on school activity trips by requiring LEAs to have on file in the Superintendent’s office rules, regulations, and policies to assure the safety of students when contracting for services to provide transportation for students and school groups attending school-related events. The policy requires the LEA to maintain a pre-approved list of contract motorcoach transportation providers. The Institute for Transportation Research and Education at NCSU has recommended this action in lieu of a statewide permit for motorcoach carriers. In view of the economic issues facing the LEAs it was determined and now agreed upon by the Motorcoach Association that the SBE policy is preferable to a statewide permit program. Notification was sent to all LEAs in May of 2009. This item will be presented for Action at the April SBE meeting. The policy is effective on September 1, 2010 and LEAs will need to comply by that time.

Committee Meeting: Derek Graham addressed the 2009 legislation and efforts to determine how to proceed. The new policy requires LEAs to have a policy, rules, and regulations, as well as a list of preapproved motorcoach providers for activity trips. Mr. Graham told members the policy in lieu of a statewide permit was less expensive and was agreed upon by the interested parties.

  • TCS 5 Proposed SBE Policy to Require School Bus Driver Certification for Activity Bus Drivers The State Board discussed a new policy to improve student safety by ensuring new drivers of school activity buses have received required training prior to transporting any students on school activity trips. Fifty–five of the 110 LEAs responded they already require activity bus drivers to hold a school bus certificate. A school bus certificate requires six days of training, three days behind the wheel and three days of classroom instruction. DMV provides this instruction. They will also be required to obtain their CDL license by taking an examination once they have completed training. This will be presented for Action in April. The policy only impacts NEW drivers and will be effective July 1, 2010. LEAs will have the flexibility to decide whether to make this effective with existing drivers. LEAs’ will also be required to keep records on those individuals who were initially licensed before and after July 1, 2010.

Committee Meeting: Initially the Federal Motor Carrier Association wanted to require 90 hours of training for drivers who drive activity buses, but that was too much and so when this issue was reviewed statewide it was determined there are a little less than half of the LEAs who do not require any training. The policy is being recommended to ensure the activity bus drivers receive some training. Beginning in July, the North Carolina Transportation Association will require that all new drivers have training if they are driving an activity bus as defined by DMV.  DMV requested that in lieu of the July 2013 date in the policy that all training for the NC school bus certificate by drivers would need to be completed by July 1, 2015. This would give those who may not need their license renewed the time to get the school bus certificate and required training. School bus safety is paramount. Minibuses (activity buses) are not impacted since they are not eligible to get a CDL with these buses. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is an 8-year license. Board members had very few questions.

  • TCS 6 Proposed SBE Policy to Require Training for School Bus Inspectors The State Board  reviewed a new policy intended to improve student safety by ensuring that the individuals inspecting school buses and activity buses have completed training to educate them on proper school bus and activity bus inspection criteria and procedures. This item will be presented for Action at the April meeting. The effective date of the requirement is August 1, 2011. Initial training sessions for LEA staff is slated to begin July 1, 2010. Many of the details of this inspection training were not included in the policy, but will be made available to LEAs as they are finalized in the coming weeks.

Committee Meeting: Documentation will be required on 30-day inspections effective in 2011. Regional training will be provided by DPI. They will use the train the trainer approach as well as videos and other strategies to assist in this process. All the details have not been determined. There is a committee working on how to implement this policy. When asked about the cost, Mr. Graham told members they would be working this out with minimal expense and the LEAs would primarily need to provide their employees with the time off to take the training and no other costs.

  • TCS 8 Tuition Fee for Non-public School Students in North Carolina Virtual Public School The State Board reviewed five options for tuition fees for non-public students to attend the North Carolina Virtual School. These include: Option1) $470 for year-long course, $420 for block and semester course, $270 for summer, $245 or $170 for SAT, Option 2) $750 for year-long course and $375 for semester, Option 3) $468 for year-long course, other courses equal to the teacher amount per student plus $50 (semester $400, summer $250, SAT $225 and $150), Option 4) The student cost paid to the teacher plus $100 ($500 for year-long, $450 for block and semester, $300 for summer, $275 or $200 for SAT) Option 5) The student cost paid to the teacher plus 17.1 percent, $468 for year-long, $410 for block and semester, $234 for summer, $205 or $118 for SAT. The average cost per student per course that DPI has paid to other states over the past few years is $544. The local board of education is required to charge tuition to non-public school students if they are requesting to take courses from NCVPS. The State Board of Education is required to establish the tuition for courses offered in the summer and the following school year by March annually. The State Board shall also identify the portion of the tuition to be retained by the local board of education for managing the collection of the tuition. This will be an Action item for April.

Committee Meeting: Philip Price presented this item. He told members they had a list of four options to consider. Members asked questions about Option 2, which was very high. Mr. Price indicated Option 2 is Florida’s costs for courses in its NCVPS program. Board member Greene questioned why these private and home school students would have to pay at all since their parents are taxpayers in NC. She was advised the State does not provide funds to the LEAs to handle these courses and the costs are in line with costs for summer courses being taught in schools now. Board members asked for Philip’s recommendation and he noted Option 4. Option 4) The student cost paid to the teacher plus $100 ($500 for year-long, $450 for block and semester, $300 for summer, $275 or $200 for SAT). One question was how many home school and private school students are anticipated to participate. Another issue raised was what will the LEAs responsibility be for these home school and private schools students beyond registering them and collecting and transmitting tuition? There was no clear response to this issue, though I suspect there will not be any added responsibilities for the LEAs.

Update on Contracts

Contracts over $25,000 – 16 Proposals

Contracts under $25,000 – 13 Proposals

Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:30 PM)

Action and Discussion Agenda

Action

  • LFI 1 Renewal Recommendations for Charter Schools with Charters Expiring June 2010 VOTED to NON-RENEW both of the charters for: Cape Lookout Marine Science High School and The Academy of Moore County. The Office of Charter Schools provided Cape Lookout Marine Academy with a two-year renewal previously, due to their low performance composite. , The school is also out-of-compliance with their mission, which was marine science. They are presently serving low-performing students, like an alternative school. In addition, they are continuously losing students (425-over the last five years-averaging 85 a year with an enrollment total of 124). The Office of Charter Schools is not recommending renewal of the charter for Cape Lookout. The Academy of Moore County was given a three-year renewal in 2007. They have made improvements in academics and their facility. Based on the changes they have implemented the Office of Charter Schools is recommending a three-year renewal for The Academy of Moore County.

February Board Meeting: Advocacy by legislators from Carteret County for Cape Lookout and concerns with student achievement at Academy of Moore prompted the Board to pull the items from the agenda for a month delay.

March Board Meeting: the committee met, but did not bring forward a recommendation for the full Board. On Thursday, at the Board meeting, Ms. Bartlett made a motion for non-renewal of Cape Lookout Marine Academy. Ms. Greene presented a substitute motion to renew the charter for one year. The substitute motion failed for lack of a majority and Ms. Bartlett’s motion for non-renewal passed with two dissenting votes.

Next a motion was made by Ms. Bartlett for non-renewal of the The Academy of Moore charter school. Once again Ms. Greene made a substitute motion to approve a three year renewal (as recommended by DPI), but the substitute motion failed with only two votes and Ms. Bartlett’s non renewal motion passed with a majority and two dissenting votes again. All votes were called on a voice vote with no show of hands.

Action on First Reading

  • LFI 2 Final Approval of New Charter Schools APPROVED the three new charter schools. The SBE may authorize no more than 100 charter schools and at the time of the application review process, there were 97 active charters, leaving three openings for new charter applications. The Office of Charter Schools recommends the final approval of Henderson Collegiate (Vance County), Lake Lure Classical Academy (Rutherford County), and Mountain Island Charter School (Gaston County).

Committee Meeting: No Discussion.

Moved to Action on First Reading

  • LFI 4 School-Based Calendar Waivers for Educational Purposes APPROVED the calendar waiver requests for educational purposes and to make a determination as to whether the requests should be granted or denied.  The following LEAs have requested waivers, Durham Public Schools for the City of Medicine Academy, Hertford County Public Schools for C.S. Brown Student Development Center High School, Lee County Public Schools for Lee County High School and Southern Lee High School, and Wayne County Public Schools for Wayne School of Engineering.

Committee Meeting: The recommendation of the Committee is to approve the requested waivers for Durham Public Schools, Hertford Public Schools and Wayne County Public Schools.  The request from the Lee County Public Schools was denied.

Moved to Action on First Reading

  • LFI 5 Program Approval Requests Under the Innovative Education Initiatives Act APPROVED the following programs under the Innovative Education Initiatives Act: Avery High School (Accelerated Learning- the average daily membership of Avery County High School will be divided among three academies-Leadership, STEM and Viking); Charlotte-Mecklenburg, e-Learning Academy, and Hawthorne High School (High school students at risk of dropping out of school before attaining a high school diploma); Bessemer City High School, Gaston County (Early College Program for high school at risk students); T. Wingate Andrews High School, Guilford County Schools (Aviation Academy- High school students at risk); Fair Bluff Academy, Columbus County Schools (Dropout Prevention-Vocational Drafting Technology, Biotechnology, Communications, Child Care, Cosmetology, Industrial Plant Maintenance, Criminal Justice, Food Service and Welding).

Committee Meeting: Staff addressed the program requests and said the Board could approve the programs without approving the waivers. Some of the waivers were for schools to have principals that did not have a principal license. Board members briefly discussed this issue and staff will bring this back to the Board with a recommendation. Members were reminded sometimes they need to think outside the box and not get too bogged down in doing things as we always have done them.

Discussion

  • LFI 3 Grandfather Academy Charter Enrollment Issues The State Board reviewed the enrollment issues with Grandfather Academy. State law for charter schools clearly designates the number of students to be served, which shall be at least 65, and the minimum number of teachers to be employed at the school in statute. Grandfather Academy was given an exemption for minimum enrollment of 50 students in their charter. However, the enrollment at Grandfather has been consistently below their charter minimum. On January 26, 2010 they were requested by the Office of Charter Schools to present a plan for reaching or exceeding the 50 student minimum. In their response and request for an exemption, they indicated that the children who attend a school of the nature and purpose of Grandfather Academy must have individualized instruction and attention that cannot be fully realized in a larger setting. The Charter is effective until 2017. The Grandfather Academy has not submitted a plan, as requested by DPI, to reach their minimum enrollment requirement. DPI has not included a recommendation on this item.

Committee Meeting: The school is currently facing financial issues and their enrollment has dropped to 19 students. The program is important and members tried to understand why the numbers had gotten so low. They already had the flexibility to be below the state minimum of 65, but through the past few years it has dropped so low they cannot possibly be financially viable with only $135,000 for next year. This was originally a private residential school. There will be more discussion next month on the school.

-NCVPS/LEO Director’s Report by Dr. Setser included an update of the Training of Principals. He told members Bertie is the first district to achieve the last mile of connectivity, in NC. There has been discussion about the success of special education students nationally participating in virtual programs. It provides for speech pathologists and other professional to meet with students live by camera without requiring all the traveling from one school to another. Last month Bryan warned of problems in several states with their virtual programs and all but Mississippi had resolved their issues. The private providers who are coming into states to try and get contracts have courses with one teacher and 150- students which is allowing the private provider to gain a good profit. NC has 1 teacher for every 25 students. A report is going to Joint Education Oversight on the NCVPS program. He also told members about a challenge by the World Bank at http://www.urgentevoke.com where between March 4 and 20, anyone can logon who is 13 or older and participate in the challenge to solve some interesting problems. There will be rewards for the winners including educational scholarships.

Globally Competitive Students Committee (3:00 PM)

Action

  • GCS 1 Recommendations for Compliance with HB 88, the Healthy Youth Act  APPROVED the modifications to pages (6,42-44,54,59-60, 62-63,68-69 and 78-81 within the 2006 Healthful Living Standard Course of Study in order to meet the requirements of House Bill 88, 2009 Healthy Youth Act. This legislation modified G.S. 115C-81 as it relates to Abstinence Until Marriage Education, now referred to as Reproductive Health and Safety Education, within the health education curriculum. DPI staff is recommending changes to the course of study to comply with the new law. They have included many of the sections of the law in the course of study which expands the instruction for students beginning in 7th grade on reproductive health and safety. They are now titling this curriculum as Guidelines for Instruction Regarding Reproductive Health and Safety Education. It adds language to allow the local board of education to expand on the subject areas to be taught in the program and on the instructional objectives to be met. Another key piece of the curriculum includes language requiring each school board to adopt a policy and provide a way for a parent/guardian to withdraw his or her child from instruction required under this statute.

The link to the documents in the section is included: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/stateboard/meetings/2010/02/gcs/02gcs.pdf.

February Committee Meeting: David Gardner reviewed the changes, which included removing references to “Abstinence Until Marriage” language, age appropriate material, removal of public hearing option, approval to support LEAs and revisions to the Standard Course of Study.

March Committee Meeting: No Discussion.

Action on First Reading

  • GCS 2 Changes to Policy Delineating the Components of the ABC’s Accountability Program for the 2010-2011 School Year APPROVED the policy change. With the adoption of the new high school mathematics essential standards and the emphasis on an integrated approach to the teach of mathematics, LEAs are requesting that the current Geometry End-of-Course (EOC) assessment be removed from the statewide testing program starting with the 2010-2011 school year. The state will have new assessments in place for the new curriculum with Mathematics A assessment and Mathematics B/C assessment.  The Mathematics A assessment will be administered at the conclusion of either Algebra I or Integrated Mathematics I. The Mathematics B/C assessment will be administered at the conclusion of either the Geometry and Algebra II course sequence or the Integrated Mathematics II and Integrated Mathematics III sequence. Removing the Geometry EOC assessment will allow LEAs to do a better job of scheduling students and making adjustments to facilitate a smooth transition to the new curriculum.

Committee Meeting: The Committee agreed to eliminate the Geometry EOC assessment beginning with the 2010-2011 school year.

Healthy, Responsible Students Committee

Action

  • HRS 1 Revisions to HRS-A-000:  Acts of School Violence Reported to Law Enforcement and to the State Board of Education APPROVED the proposed revisions to HRS-A-000. The policy was presented in October 2009 and is being presented again. It is being revised to clarify incidents/acts required by law to be reported to Law Enforcement and to the State Board of Education by the principal. The policy lists the following incidents to be reported to law enforcement: 1) Assault resulting in serious personal injury as defined in G.S. 14-32.4; 2) Sexual Assault as defined in G.S.14-27.5A and 14-33(c )(2);  3) Sexual offense as defined in G.S. 14-27.4 through 14-27.5 and 14-27.7A; 4) Rape as defined in G.S. 14-27.3 and 14-27.7A; 5) Kidnapping as defined in G.S.14-37; 6) Indecent liberties with a minor as defined in G.S.14-202.1; 7) Assault involving the use of a weapon as defined in G.S.14-34 through 14-34.9; 8 ) Possession of a firearm in violation of the law as defined in G.S. 14-269.2; 9) Possession of a weapon in violation of the law as defined in G. S. 14-269.2; and 10) Possession of a controlled substance in violation of the law as defined in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act as defined in Article 5 of G. S. 90-86 through 90-113.8. Other incidents required to be reported to law enforcement by the principal in addition to those listed in G.S. 115C-288 (g) are: 1) Assault on school officials, employees, and volunteers as defined in  G.S. 14-33 ( c)(6); 2) Homicide as defined in G.S. 14-17; 3) Robbery with a dangerous weapon as defined in G.S. 14-87; 4) Unlawful, underage sales, purchase, provision, possession, or consumption of alcoholic beverages as defined in G. S. 18B-302; 5) Making bomb threats or engaging in bomb hoaxes as defined in G. S. 14-69.2; 6) Willfully burning a school building as defined in G. S. 14-60. In addition Section C has been added and states: The offenses listed in subpart (b) together with all offenses that are required to be reported to law enforcement pursuant to G. S. 115C-288(g), shall be reported annually to the State Board of Education pursuant to G.S. 115C-12(21). The report shall be submitted electronically via a Department of Public Instruction approved discipline report system that conforms to the State’s Uniform Education Reporting System.

The entire policy can be accessed from the following link:

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/stateboard/meetings/2010/03/hrs/03hrs.pdf

February Committee Meeting: Board member Willoughby chairs the Committee and she worked with Reginald King and Katie Cornetto to draft this change to the policy. Ms. Willoughby noted Leanne Winner with NCSBA has offered to provide documents to help LEAs and school administrators. The Committee agreed the definitions as stated in statute for each of the 16 offenses listed should be documented in the policy. Principals will be required to report all illegal activity to law enforcement to which they are aware or it will be a misdemeanor for not reporting to law enforcement. There is no requirement to report to the Superintendent. A suggestion was made to develop a companion document for administrators defining the statutes listed in the policy in order to provide additional support. Additional training may also be required for administrators. The target date for implementation of the policy is 2010-2011. Also included in the discussion was to suggest a process for a reporting line to law enforcement. A question was raised could principals report to SROs and it was agreed they are part of law enforcement and that would be acceptable.  The data collected for the 16 offenses will be included in the information collected by DPI for the School Violence Report. The Committee also indicated further clarification of the language “simple assault” may need to be expanded in the law.  There is concern about the lack of definitions and the simple assault could cause many more calls to law enforcement for what may be minor issues or behavior by an autistic or other special education child. Ms. Willoughby indicated it was not the responsibility of the SBE to interpret law in its policy and so the issue of simple assault would have to be handled in other ways. The Associations NCSBA, NCASA, and NCAE are not in support of the policy as it is being revised. This item will be presented for action.

March Committee Meeting: There were two changes to the policy since it was presented. The LEAs shall report annually to the State Board and House Bill 1078 text is included after the policy to help guide principals and LEAs on reporting requirements in the updated policy. Law enforcement will be responsible for working with principals in making decisions. There is no statutory definition of simple assault and so the common law definition is the best guide.  A Board member asked what the offense is for a principal who does not contact law enforcement and they were advised it is a Class 3 Misdemeanor.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tour of Southeast Halifax High School

State Board of Education Meeting, (11:00 AM) Dr. William Harrison, Chairman

Call to Order

Pledge of Allegiance:

Approval of Minutes

Key Initiatives Reports and Discussion

CEDARS Update- Mr. Adam Levinson presented an update. He told the Board that NC WISE will need to be fully implemented in order for CEDARS to be working. Right now Charlotte and Wake are still not part of the NC WISE main network. These two districts account for 20 percent of the student. Adam noted that talks are underway with Charlotte and he anticipates Wake will be next. The time frame for completion of CEDARS has been moved from Summer 2010 to December 31, 2010.

Information Agenda

Healthy, Responsible Students Committee

  • HRS 2 Consolidated Data Report: Crime and Violence, Suspension and Expulsion, and Dropout Rates and Count  The State Board of Education shall report annually to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee on the number of students who have dropped out of school, been suspended, been expelled, placed in an alternative program, and committee acts of violence. The full report will be discussed at the State Board meeting. This document can be accessed from the link below:   www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/research/discipline/reports/consolidated/2008-09/consolidated-report.pdf

Board Meeting: The number of state high school dropouts was down (19,184) in 2008-09 a decrease of 3,250 from the 22,434 reported in 2007-08. Wake County Public School System high schools reported a dropout rate of 3.47 percent (1,430 students) for the 2008-09 academic year. The WCPSS dropout rate is lower than the state’s (4.27 percent) and lower than most other urban NC school districts: Charlotte-Mecklenburg 4.99 percent, Forsyth 4.76 percent, Durham 4.26 percent, and Cumberland 3.78 percent. Guilford County had the lowest rate of 3.13 percent. Wake however is listed as one of the LEAs with the highest number of long-term suspension. Charlotte-Mecklenburg went from over 1,000 long-term suspension in 2007-2008 to less than 50 (47) in 2008-2009. There was also a large drop in short-term suspensions for K-8 this year. In reviewing the data there seems to be a connection between the dropout rate and the number of long-term suspensions. Many of the eastern counties have high numbers in both of these areas.

Board Meeting and Committee Chair Reports

Consent Agenda

21st Century Professionals Committee

  • TCP 1 Recommendations for Compliance with HB 88, the Healthy Youth Act Teacher Education Specialty Area Standards for Health Education Teacher Candidates APPROVED the modifications to pages 77-78 and 81-82 of the Teacher Education Specialty Area Standards, document to add reproductive health and safety education language, to meet the requirements of House Bill 88.

Board Meeting: No questions.

Ms. Harris told Board members she was working with staff to implement a lateral entry group and had determined the specific areas for representation, but not the names. Board members should submit those names once the email goes out to them identifying the areas. Mr. McDevitt has agreed to be at the first meeting to assist with information from his earlier committee on teacher lateral entry. Dr. Hoke (Superintendent Advisor to the Board) commented on the 16 Superintendents who have agreed to pilot the superintendent evaluation instrument and that the pilot is beginning this week.

Moved to Consent Agenda

  • TCS 7 Appointment of Individuals to the State Evaluation Committee on Teacher Education APPROVED the reappointment of three members and the appointment of two new members to the State Evaluation Committee on Teacher Education. Members serve three year staggered terms. Nominations were requested from Board members. Dr. Vivian Covington, Director of Education, East Carolina University, Dr. Walter Hart, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, Rowan-Salisbury Schools, and Dr. Micha Jefferies, Assistant Professor, NCSU are recommended for reappointment. Dr. Tom Daly III, Superintendent Martin County Schools and Dr. Mariann Tillery, Dean, School of Education, High Point University are nominated for initial appointment.

Committee Meeting: This item was moved to Consent. This Committee meets two or three times per year.

Superintendent’s Report

-Dr. June Atkinson: Dr. Atkinson listed all her events and activities over the past month. Of note was the support of DPI in the 2010 Census data collection.

Chairman’s Remarks

-Dr. Bill Harrison, Chairman announced at 11:30 AM on Thursday that NC is one of fifteen first round finalists for the Race to the Top grant. ACRE will have a major presentation next month.

-Legislative Update: Handout by Chris Minard.

Joint Legislative Task Force on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care Meeting Summary

March 10, 2010

Representative Ray Rapp-Presiding

Senator Dan Blue

Presentation by North Carolina’s Childhood Leaders:

Ms. Sheila Hoyle, Southwestern Child Development Commission

Mr. John Pruette, Executive Director, North Carolina Office of School Readiness, DPI

Dr. Deborah Cassidy, Director, Division of Child Development, DHHS

Ms. Stephanie Fanjul, Executive Director, North Carolina Partnership for Children

Ms. Sue Russell, President, Child Care Services Association

Their presentation addressed nine topics including the five major principals and the strengths and advantages of the current system. The leading principals are to build and leverage the strengths of the current system, invest strategically for children in time of scarcity, create statewide implementation of research-based programs and promising practices, seek equitable distribution of resources for and delivery of core services, and to carefully consider and plan each strategy with attention to implementation to assure system and child benefits and minimize the potential harm.  The advantages in the current system are the shared vision among key partners, progress in improving quality in early care and education settings for all children, greater access for children with special needs to higher quality and inclusive early childhood programs, implementation of More at Four, major improvements in early childhood workforce, and the engagement of private sector and local communities to raise awareness and funding for early childhood services.

Strategies were also outlined for the restructuring of the More at Four payments, consolidated payment function and the consolidated regulatory function. Also, presented were strategies for the development of a single portal of entry for transcript evaluation that are aligned across the various systems and require the certification across all systems be fee based. Included in the discussion were recommendations to use Smart Start funds to leverage Medicaid funding for 20 additional Child Care Health Consultants and develop a coordinated plan between Division of Public Health (DPH), Division of Child Development (DCD), and North Carolina Partnership for Children (NCPC), to deploy additional CCHCs across North Carolina. The success of the system is attributed to the continued collaboration of key partners, the required cross-departmental accountability for children, providers, and teachers, leverage of each administrative home to assure compliance with federal and state requirements, continue to identify cost efficiencies and preserve investments for young children. These investments for 2009-2010 from state and federal amounted to $1,095,369,119. This group will continue its efforts to find savings, but they want the savings to be put back into the system to provide more resources and slots to serve the children. Representative Glazier expressed concern about how long it would take to implement these strategies and encouraged the group to move quickly.

Next Meeting: April 14

Task Force Discussion of Presentations: Early Childhood Leaders, NCACDSS Proposal.

TASK FORCE ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Senator Purcell, Co-Chair-Chaired

Representative Yongue, Co-Chair

Kelly, Johnston, Vice President – Government Affairs, Campbell’s Soup Company gave an excellent overview of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). He presented the goals of the 16 food advertising participants (Campbells, Burger King Corp., Kelloggs, etc.) which are to shift the mix of products advertised primarily to kids under 12 to fewer calories, lower fats, sodium, and sugars. The products for children need to be more nutrient oriented and to be part of the obesity solution, by supporting parents and schools. The advertising is now based on science-based nutrition standards as defined by the FDA and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Corporations spent many millions of dollars on the reformulation of their products to reduce fats, sugars, sodium and add more fiber with whole grains. Reformulation is an expensive process and it may cost the company some or all of their customers. Campbells has changed 25 different products, while Kelloggs has changed 10. The nutritional profile of 37 cereals shows that there are more cereals with less than 10 grams of sugar today than there are with 12 grams.  The initiative is moving forward by increasing the commitment to these advertising changes from 50 percent to 100 percent and requiring that advertising commitment be met solely through healthier dietary choices or better-for-you products. In addition, the advertising venues have been expanded to include digital and mobile media. The CFBAI group will review dietary guidelines for 2010 (when they are issued) and look at SNAC Pac recommendations and other relevant nutrition science developments. According to the Better Business Bureau the participants in the initiative have met their commitments and have made significant progress in child-directed advertising and the reformulation of new products. They are looking at using a front pack labeling system similar to what is done in Europe so customers can easily see the calories and contents of product.

Butch Gunnells, President, North Carolina Beverage Association reviewed his association which is comprised of 17 companies in NC that produce a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages.  Members include Cola-Cola, Pepsi-cola and five independent bottlers and they have approximately 11,000 employees in North Carolina. Legislation was supported by the Association and passed in 2005 to establish statewide standards for vending machine beverages and snack foods sold in public schools. The guidelines were intended to reduce the number of calories children consume through beverages, provide a broader range of lower-calorie and smaller portion beverage choices, and remove full calorie soft drinks in schools. Specific guidelines for the elementary, middle school and high school were highlighted. In addition, the school beverage guidelines are also available on the website for easy access.  Beverage companies have spent countless hours training their marketing and sales teams to work with schools. They also continue to reformulate products to create smaller package sizes. There was a 58 percent cut in the total calories contained in all beverages shipped to schools between 2004 and 2007. There was a 65 percent reduction in shipments of full calorie soft drinks to schools which are provided at the high schools after hours and in teacher lounges. In the second year of the implementation of the school beverage guidelines 79 percent of all agreements between LEAs and bottlers have complied with the guidelines. The program is audited every year and the third year audit will be released the first week in March.  It was noted that in 2004 high school students drank 12.5 ounces of soft drink per week and in 2009 consumption had decreased to 4 ounces. In conclusion, the presentation emphasized the “Let’s Move” Campaign initiated by First Lady, Michelle Obama and the involvement of the Association in implementing the “Clear on Calories” initiative this year (completion in 2012) in regard to product labels, and vending and fountain machine displays. A questions was raised by Senator Purcell about increasing the tax on soft drinks and naturally the bottling industry feels the taxes on their products is high enough and they should not be singled out as there are many products and other issues (lack of exercise) that lead to obesity.

Susan Havala Hobbs, Clinical Associate Professor, Director-Doctoral Program in Health Leadership highlighted the nutrition standards recommendations for school lunches from the Institute of Medicine. Schools are still serving too much fat in their school lunches. Implementation of the school lunch regulations could take the FDA 3 to 5 years to issue.  The recommendations for schools meals included an increase in fruits and vegetables, make half grains whole grains, milk must be low or no fat, use only trans-free products, limit sodium to 740 mg and set maximum calorie target. If you raise the price of a la carte items you will discourage purchases. A national school food report card chart for 2007 was shown and North Carolina scored a D+ indicating a weak state wellness policy. The requirements in the policies should address nutrition education, physical activity and wellness activities, set nutrition guidelines for all foods available on each school campus during the school day and involve parents, students, school food personnel, school board, administrators and the public. Currently 20 to 30 percent of school districts meet minimum standards with weak implementation. The Institute of Medicine recommendation is to expand the NC Healthy Schools Partnership to included local healthy school coordinator in each LEA. In addition, junk-food marketing should be removed from school signs, scoreboards, hallways and buses. Also, 93 percent of children menus have too many calories and eating out is one of the leading causes of obesity. Several strategies were presented to encourage companies to adopt stronger marketing policies. A discussion of the soft drink taxes and the possible revenue generated from this funding source concluded the presentation. If NC would increase the soft drink tax by 2 cents they could raise $91 million per year which could be used to fund many programs to address childhood obesity. Also if the soft drink tax was 10 percent it would equate to an 8 percent decrease in consumption. Menu labeling of calories was also recommended. Kentucky and Oregon got the highest grades in the national report and members asked what they are doing and the response was they have not been impacted by the financial challenges that NC has had to face. One member suggested doing menu labeling in all state cafeterias as a starting point.

Hank Cardello, Chair, Global Obesity Business Forum, UNC Chapel Hill reviewed the work of the Task Force on Childhood Obesity four main factors emerged: 1) An engaged food industry is essential to enhancing child nutrition, 2) Regulatory initiatives must consider both corporate and public health goals, 3) Changing consumer behavior is challenging (leverage the power of the Eat Smart, Move More program), and 4) Lowering excess calories should be our number one priority. A brief overview of a few of the initiatives were presented that included portion-controlled packaging (studies show that 100-calorie packs are effective), Restaurant products for kids in snacks meals and beverages, Cereal Initiatives (General Mills reducing sugar in 10 pre-sweetened cereals), School vending (pricing levels), Advertising to Children (Corporations committing to limited and/or eliminating advertising to children under 12).  Several public sector initiatives were also highlighted including legislation from California and the federal government regarding anti-obesity plans, calorie labeling on menus and the soda tax proposal. For the plan to be successful it must contain criteria for corporations to make profits, to be part of the solution, consumer efforts need support, actions must be geared to lowering obesity rates not punishing specific products or categories, and most of all it must be kept simple. Overall the one issue to focus on is CALORIES. If you reduce calories you will begin to address the obesity issue.

Roberta Friedman, Director of Policy, Rudd Center, Yale University provided a brief background on the strategic science research being done by the Rudd Center on food marketing to youth, soft drink taxes, school and pre-school nutrition, menu labeling and weight bias. She indicated the research shows there is a massive movement in marketing to children. She estimated children watch approximately 15 TV food ads per day or 5,500 TV messages per years. These ads promote products high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium and the industry spends upwards of $1.6 billion per year in marketing to children and teens. Research indicates there is a direct correlation between TV viewing and a higher BMI specifically due to food ads as children consume 45 percent more when exposed to food advertising. Product tie-ins, integration and product placement are also contributing factors not just TV ads.  Mobile marketing on Twitter and Facebook, Internet advertising, in-store marketing, fundraisers and even box tops for education are other methods of marketing to children. In a recent Rudd Cereal study the key findings resulted in the least healthy cereal are the most heavily marketed to children. These cereals have 85 percent more sugar, 65 percent less fiber and 60 percent more sodium. An average preschooler sees 642 cereal ads per year on TV alone. When considering statewide wellness policy changes emphasis should be on strong language such as a ban on all advertising on school campuses, ban all food/beverage ads, or ban sale of non-nutritious products.  Another area of research involved the increasing consumption of sugars and sugar substitutes in the American diet and its link to health problems such as weight gain/obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Several medical organizations have proposed adding a penny per ounce tax on any beverage with added caloric sweeteners to reduce consumption and raise money for obesity prevention. In North Carolina the penny per ounce excise tax would decrease consumption by about 23 percent and produce revenue of approximately $1.4 billion in 2010-2012 and $2.8 billion by 2015. Research has also been done on improving school nutrition by recommending changes in policies to implement new a la carte foods standards, increase reimbursements rates for more fresh vegetables, whole grains, serve low or non-fat milk, initiate or improve Farm-to School programs, and train school service personnel regarding nutrition, cooking skills and obesity.  In conclusion, the policy recommendations are as follows: calories on menus, menu boards and drive-thrus, include the following statement “The recommended daily caloric intake for an average adult is 2000 calories), and other nutrition information should be available on the premises. When the caloric intake statement is included on menus it will account for 250 fewer calories being consumed. Menu labeling is critically important and can affect what parents buy for their children.  NC should develop a plan to encourage restaurants to make information available regarding menu labeling.

SUMMARY OF BLUE RIBBON TASK FORCE ON THE STATE HEALTH PLAN FOR TEACHERS AND STATE EMPLOYEES

February 25, 2010

Representative Hugh Holliman, Co-Chair

Senator Dan Blue-Co-Chair

State Health Plan as Compared to other State-Operated Governmental Health Benefit Plan in Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia Carol Durrell, Director of Product Development, State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees presented the AON state health benefit study required as part of Senate Bill 287. NC was compared to VA, GA, and TN. NC has the most comprehensive health care plan, because it covers state employees, public school employees and university and community college employees, unlike the other states. NC has significantly higher number of individual employees (74%) in the state health plan than the other states (average 45%) while the other states serve more families and dependents. NC also has the highest number of non-medicare retirees compared to the other states. NC has the highest percentage of females in their plan, while VA has the highest number of males. NC has the lowest ratio of members per contracts (1.385) of any of the states primarily because NC does not provide any funding to support the cost of dependent coverage. Eighty percent of all members in NC are in the Standard Plan. While NC has two plans a basic and standard PPO the other states have multiple plans.  Some of the key findings from this report include some of the items above and the following: NC is the only state that covers universities and community colleges, NC is the only state that provides employee-only and retiree-only coverage without a cost, VA and GA charge a premium for employee only and retiree only coverage and in turn subsidize dependent coverage, NC has the highest active member/contract ratios for both employee and children and family ties (meaning that employees are less inclined to purchase dependent coverage if they only have one child). Members expressed concerns about the high cost of dependent coverage. They want the administrative costs of the plan reviewed. They want to know if health care costs are rising faster in NC than surrounding states. They asked about provider reimbursement rates. They asked about the impact of requiring an employee contribution for employee-only members. Jack Walker reminded the commission members the average age of health plan members in NC is 9 years higher than the other states and the worst group and costliest to the State are the employee/spouse plan members. An explanation of how the dependent coverage costs were determined was explained and Jack told them the cost is in line with the benefits being distributed/used. The group that NC needs to attract into its plan to help it become more sustainable and those that are the least expensive are the children dependents in the family plan. They continue to be concerned about the almost 9 percent projected increases in the plan premiums every year for the next five years. The commission members plan to make recommendations on how to make changes to the State Health Plan to keep it solvent and yet affordable for employees and their families. A copy of this report is available upon request from my office.

Select Follow-up Items Requested by Task Force Members Cost-sharing and other policy issues related to plan member access to nutritional visits and weight-loss drugs under the Comprehensive Wellness Initiative, were presented by Ann Rogers, Director of Integrated Health Management, State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees. She provided information to members about the expansion of the nutritional benefit to employees on the State Health Plan. Previously this was limited to diabetes and other high risk employees. They are also supporting Eat Smart Move More and Weigh Less programs. In August 2009 they had 250 participants in the 15 week nutritional education program and 70 percent lost more than 5 lbs. Two videos were shared of participants who talked about some of the ways they were able to change their lifestyles and lose weight.

Dr. Derek Prentice, Consulting Medical Director State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees reviewed the Health Plan’s coverage of obesity by assisting with the cost of medication. Physicians must prescribe these drugs and there was concern from members about the associated health issues (heart problems) related to taking some of these drugs used to manage or reduce weight.

NEXT MEETING: March 25 9:00 AM

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