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

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