Program Evaluation Division of the North Carolina General Assembly

April 28, 2010

Senator Clodfelter-Co-Chair, Senator Hartsell-Co-Chair-Presiding, Representative Crawford-Co-Chair, and Representative Cole-Co-Chair

Presentation and Committee Consideration of Recommendations on High School Graduation Project Requirement by Dr. Kiernan McGorty: In 2005, the State Board began requiring all public high school students, starting with the class of 2010, to complete a Graduation Project to graduate. Session Law in 2009 suspended that requirement for two years to allow the Program Evaluation Division to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of the Graduation Project requirement. Data was collected from public high schools. Visits were made to schools and districts as well as the State Board and DPI. Businesses and business groups were also part of the data sources. NC schools began requiring high school projects in 1994 that were typically completed in their senior year, in an English course. Sixty-nine percent of the schools surveyed decided to require the Class of 2010 complete the project. Many of these did not include the urban districts, but rather the smaller school systems in rural areas of the State. The DPI model is comprised of a paper, a product, a presentation, and a portfolio.

The evaluation of the Graduation Project resulted in four findings.

  • Finding 1: The cost to implement the state model is estimated at $6.6 million in the first year and $5.8 million in succeeding years. After communicating with the schools it was determined that only six percent of those participating were actually following the graduation model as DPI had intended. Currently, districts are spending $708 per school and schools spent $7,214 each in 2008-2009 to begin the effort.
  • Finding 2: Studies on effectiveness have limited designs and produced mixed results. According to USED strong evidence of effectiveness requires random control studies at multiple sites. Only three studies have examined outcomes from the senior projects and none were random. These studies produced mixed results.
  • Finding 3: Support is based on anecdotes and self reports. Graduation Projects may offer students a learning experience and they may also encourage businesses and communities to get involved in schools, but this is not fact based.
  • Finding 4: Initial implementation of the State model lacked necessary elements. There were many missing pieces including the following; program model, needs assessment, pilot studies, stakeholder engagement, centralized support, and evaluation.

The Final Recommendation is the General Assembly should direct the State Board of Education to delegate authority to school districts to decide whether to implement a Graduation Project requirement. This needs to be a local school system decision and that will require legislation since the legislation suspending the Graduation Project requirement expires July 1, 2011. A motion was made at the request of the committee to draft legislation to allow the Graduation Project to become a local option with school systems, and eliminate the requirement that is set to restart on July 1, 2011. The complete report is available upon request from my office.

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Task Force on Childhood Obesity Commission: Committee Recommendations

Summary

April 19, 2010

Representative Yongue and Senator Purcell- Co-Chairs

Recommendation 1: Expand and Enhance Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education

The Task Force is recommending the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) immediately seek the technical assistance available from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other states to make North Carolina’s SNAP-Ed program the model for the South. They also recommend legislation directing the Department of Health and Human Services to do all of the following:

  • Expand the definition and use of in-kind resources to draw down additional federal funds to expand the SNAP-Ed program in North Carolina;
  • Develop a three-year plan to expand and enhance the SNAP-Ed program;
  • Solicit SNAP-Ed proposals beginning in October 2010 for submission and funding of new local and state programs in April 2011. The proposals should be solicited from across the State and should emphasize social marketing techniques;
  • Study the feasibility of placing the responsibility for the SNAP-Ed program at North Carolina State University and/or North Carolina A&T State University, the land grant institutions; and
  • Report to the Legislative Task Force on Childhood Obesity by September 1, 2011.
  • Draft Bill Proposed.

Recommendation 2: Expand the Capacity of Farmers Markets to Accept Electronic Bank Transfer (EBT) Cards

The Task Force recommends legislation directing the Department of Health and Human Services to seek proposals from qualified vendors to facilitate North Carolina’s farmer’s markets ability to accept EBT cards. Draft Bill Proposed.

Recommendation 3: Preschool Nutrition and Physical Activity

The Task Force recommends legislation directing the Division of Child Development to work with the Child Care Commission to include in the Child Care Rules all of the following:

  • Sugar sweetened beverages shall not be served at Child Care Centers or Homes regulated by the Division of Child Development;
  • Reduced fat milk (skim or 1%) shall be served to children older than two years of age at Child Care Centers or Homes regulated by the Division of Child Development; and
  • Juice shall be limited to a total of four to six ounces per day for children over one year of age at Child Care Centers or Homes regulated by the Division of Child Development.

Draft Bill Proposed.

The Task Force strongly encourages the Division of Child Development and the Division of Public Health to work together to ensure that the regulations governing Child Care and the regulations governing CACFP are not in conflict and support the goal of significantly enhancing the nutrition standards governing facilities serving children.

JOINT EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE: MEETING SUMMARY

April 12, 2010

Chairman:

Senators Foriest and Stevens

Representatives Glazier, McLawhorn, and Rapp

Joint Meeting with Joint Transportation Appropriations SubCommittee

Representative Cole presiding:

Driver Education Presentation: Paula Collins presented the Continuation Review of the Drivers Education program that was prepared by DPI.  She reviewed the laws regarding the Driver Education program beginning with DOT’s duties as indicated in G.S. 20-11. Next it was NC SBE G.S. 20-88.1 with the SBE being the fiscal agent for the LEAs. G.S. 115C-216 sets out the law relative to LEAs who are to provide training and instruction in the use of state resources. NC DMV-DOT rules include 6 hours of driving experience and 30 hours of classroom instruction. Driver Education must be out of the school day and there is no course credit. Students may pass a proficiency test to waive classroom instruction, but few students take the test and fewer pass it. It is mainly given to out-of-state students coming in to NC. LEAs have the authority to set up their own program some using all internal teachers and other using a combination of contractors and internal resources. The LEAs are responsible for having someone oversee and monitor the program in the district. DPI had four recommendations as part of the review report: 1) Maintain the State Superintendent as the fiscal agent for the highway funds to pay for the program 2) Driver training should remain outside the school day’s instruction 3) Review the delivery process for the program 4) review the driver eligibility certificate program.

Paul Le Sieur, Director, School Business Services, DPI presented the funding portion of the Drivers Education Program told the members each LEA is allocated $238.04 per eligible ninth grade student. The eligible students include private, federal, and charter school students. In 2008-2009 the state budgeted $34.3 million and had $2.5 million in unexpended funds. These funds are transferred once a month to the LEAs. Senator Stevens provided a handout that gave the history of the driver education funds, which were first dedicated funds in 1957 with the addition of $1 to the vehicle license registrations. Through the years another $2 was added. Presently, there are somewhere between 8-9 million registered vehicles in NC, which equates to between $24 million and $27 million in the Highway fund.

Mark Bondo, Fiscal Research prepared the staff response to the Continuation review report completed by DPI. Students must complete a driver education program and have a driver eligibility certificate to get a permit in NC. The driver eligibility certificate (DEC) was a law that passed in the late 90’s to ensure students were making progress toward graduation to be eligible to drive. It was intended to be a carrot, but looks more like a stick. Program expenses across the LEAs range from $275.00/student -$500/students. More than half of the states (32) have no funding for driver education while about 18 are fully/partially funded. There are several problems with the program There are no standards, no class size restrictions, no statewide outcomes, the driver eligibility certificate is not being enforced using the same standard, the DMV computer system is limited in its support of the DEC and there is no lead state agency overseeing the program . Fiscal staff was very critical of driver education program noting there was no empirical data to indicate the driver education program prevented crashes. Four recommendations 1) full study by the program evaluation committee 2) Continue funding until this study is complete 3) Reviewed other funding options for the program 4) cut 2010-2011 funding $1.15 million. It was noted the actual per student cost had been decreased over the years from a high of more than $250.00 per student. Representative Cole wants these funds left in the Highway fund and insists Driver Education should be paid for in the Education appropriations.  The issue is it is getting late in the fiscal year to take the funding provided through the license registrations and eliminate it, and require Education appropriations to find the new resources. The plan appears to be to require a better study from the program evaluation division and based on their recommendations make some decisions for as early as 2011-2012.

Education Agencies’ Budget Reduction Options: Philip Price, Chief Financial Officer for DPI presented the public school’s budget options. The Governor’s office requested a recommendation for an additional three percent cut to the public schools budget. A three percent cut is $214,118,273, based on the 2010-2011 base budget for public schools. This cut does not include the continuation adjustment cut of $4,845,504 or the annual average salary adjustment (reversion 2009-2010) of $44,950,676. Based on the cuts in the 2010-2011 budget the only area in the budget with sufficient resources, that was agreed upon by the Office of State Budget and Management, was the teacher assistant’s allotment. If this allotment is cut by three percent, it would mean the loss of 7,389 TA positions (41.77 percent of total funding).  A three percent cut to More at Four would reduce their funding by $2,421,461. A three percent reduction to DPI would require $2,895,486 and this amount would require cuts to DPI, Teacher Academy, NCCAT, Dropout Grants and the Non-Profits.  Philip noted the reversions from the public school fund are expected to be $64 million this year, which is less than the 1 percent usually projected. Questions were raised about the higher than anticipated salary adjustment of $44,950,676, which usually amounts to about $30 million. Members pressed him on which grade level TAs should be cut and he indicated it was just a cut with no direction on the grade levels. If the teacher assistant allotment is reduced by $214 million, LEAs will still have the flexibility to move funds between allotments to hire Teacher Assistants.

Jeff Davies, UNC General Administration came and discussed the harm in making further cuts, but provided no specific information to the committee through a handout.

Scott Ralls, President of the Community College System presented his recommendation for a three percent cut as requested by the Governor. The reduction of $28.6 million was made by requesting a two percent management flexibility cut and allow each community college to determine the cuts from their area. He also requested a $3 per credit hour tuition increase with 25 percent of the funds going to need-based financial aid to make up the remaining cut.

There was very little discussion though the Chairman requested the University to provide their specific cut recommendation by Friday.

State Budget Calendar: Governor’s Budget April 21, Joint Subcommittees Report April 23

Senate Passes Budget May 28, House Passes Budget June 10,Adopt Conference Report Budget June 29

JOINT EDUCATION APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE

April 6, 2010

Chairman:

Senators Foriest and Stevens

Representatives Glazier, McLawhorn, and Rapp

Agency Presentations:

President Erskine Bowles of the University of North Carolina began by reviewing his top priorities: students, financial aid, and protecting the academic core. The alternate tuition increase as recommended by the Board of Governors includes $130 for in-state undergraduate students and $461 for out-of-state undergraduate students. Board of Governors is requesting the additional revenues remain on campus with 51 percent dedicated to financial aid, 25 percent to retention and graduation and 24 percent toward other critical needs. The Legislature proposed $180 for in-state and $200 for out-of-state and the revenue would flow to the state’s General Fund. Financial aid is critical since 71 percent of students are applying for aid, more than ever before. President Bowles is also requesting $34.8 million for need-based financial aid. He noted general administration costs were cut by 18 percent and limited cuts to academic core. More than $294 million was cut in 2009-2010 of which $162.5 million were permanent cuts in administration. There was an additional 5 percent holdback by the Governor last year right after the budget passed, which meant that there was a 29 percent holdback to the universities, while the they only make up 13 percent of the state appropriations. He requested that cuts for the coming year not exceed 2 percent or they will affect the academic mission of the Universities. Members asked about the graduation rate, which is 50 percent with a goal of 60 percent. He told members until K-12 improves their graduation rate the Universities won’t be able to improve their graduation rate. The universities are having to reme4diate 20 percent of incoming students.

Dr. Bill Harrison Chairman of the State Board of Education presented the 2009-2010 budget cuts to public schools and the proposed cuts for 2010-2011. The major cut is the LEA adjustment fund, which was $225 million last year and will increase to $304 million in 2010-2011. Driver training funding ($33 million) was also on the list needing to be funded by public schools. Last year’s cut was 9.5% and this year’s is projected to be at least 12 percent. The retirement contribution rate is scheduled for 10.5 percent, but the rumor is the Retirement System has lost more than $20 billion this past year, and will need a larger infusion of funds. The Treasurer may propose a contribution rate of 12.5 percent. The Hospitalization cost last year was $4,527 and it is scheduled to increase to $4,929 this year. He shared with members where the LEAs cut funds, with respect to the $225 million LEA adjustment. More than 2,460 teachers were released (59.6 percent of reduction) and 108 instructional support personnel and more than $44.1 million in teacher assistants (19.6 percent of the reduction). Since 90 percent of the budget is staff school systems will need to make personnel cuts by June 1 30 days before the beginning of the 2010-2011 budget year that begins on July 1, 2010. Dr. Atkinson Superintendent of Public Schools addressed the committee on the loss of funds to the Department of Public Instruction. They had to cut 64 positions last year, as well as the loss of operational funds. After the budget passed the Governor required a holdback of 5 percent ($4 million) for all state agencies to handle the continuing revenue losses. In 2010-2011, they are expected to cut an additional 36 positions and $800,000 in operations. The impact to DPI was shared in the areas of transportation, new accountability model, professional development, web site updates and IT functions. Members discussed double funding to public schools and community colleges for students in Learn and Earn programs and NCVPS. Local budgets are also being cut for schools.

Scott Ralls president of the Community Colleges was the final presenter to discuss state funding and priorities as well as the impact of the last year’s budget cuts. Community College enrollment is funded the following year and this continues to be a major problem unlike the universities and public schools. This year in spite of the enrollment reserve fund enrollment increased 14 percent which used all the reserve and more.  Last year the colleges were forced to cut $28.6 million as a management flex cut and they had to revert another $29.2 million. They budgeted for $4,917 per student and they actually had $4,034. In order to manage these issues they have increased class size, limited travel, deferred equipment purchases, increased faculty workloads, used part-time faculty instead of full time, eliminated positions, eliminated programs or sections, administrative staff teaching courses, using instructional funds to support programs previously supported with state funds. President Ralls shared his major requests for 2010-2011 including: enrollment growth ($85 million), equipment funding ($5 million), forward funding for enrollment ($14 million) and summer developmental programs ($12 million). Sixty-four percent of 2008 NC high school graduates enrolled at community colleges took at least one remedial course. Remediation funding is critical for summer programs to increase the student success and probability they will complete their education. The Community Colleges are facing unprecedented growth and increased funding is going to be critical to providing students with the skills needed to succeed.

Fiscal Staff Presented:

Brian Matteson shared information about K-12. The Average Daily Membership (proposed for 2010-2011) can be adjusted down by $10 million based on lower student projections. Average salaries (proposed for 2010-2011) can be reduced by $20 million since the numbers are coming in below budgeted figures. The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund may need some tweaking to conform to federal guidelines and since this is simply supplanting funds there will be no direct impact this year. The LEA adjustment figure of $305 million may need to be increased if additional cuts are required. Lottery revenues are expected to be $51 million more than the budgeted amounts. The technical corrections bill provided for those counties not in the 35 percent tax effective bracket (eligibility) to divide up the additional revenue. If this were to occur it would be more per pupil than if they were funded as meeting the 35 percent requirement. It would take $31 million to give the LEAs that are out of the 35 percent bracket the same funding. This would leave $20 million for other purposes, but the legislature would have to make a change to the law to send those funds elsewhere. The Lottery Reserve Fund which was raided to pay State bills last year may be where some or all of the $20 million in funds end up being distributed. NC Virtual schools was supposed to submit a funding formula and what was sent by DPI was not a formula, however there were some discussions by the SBE in November 2009 and it’s possible the General Assembly may adopt one of these formulas for next year. The final item was the Race to the Top funds that NC did not receive in Round 1. They plan to apply for Round 2 in June, but it will be September before the Round 2 awards are announced, well after the state budget has passed.

Joint Education Appropriations Subcommittee Schedule Next Week:

April 12: Driver Education and Prison Education Programs

April 13: Financial Aid

State Budget Calendar:

Governor’s Budget April 20

Joint Subcommittees Report April 23

Senate Passes Budget May 28

House Passes Budget June 10

Adopt Conference Report Budget June 29

JOINT LEGISLATIVE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETING SUMMARY

April 13, 2010

Senator Foriest, presiding

Senator Foriest, Co-Chair

Representative Yongue, Co-Chair

Success NC Norma Houston, Executive Director, UNC Tomorrow, UNC General Administration and Kennon Briggs, Executive Vice-President and Chief of Staff NC Community College System presented an update of the efforts to work collaboratively on a Plan for Success. Their mission is to ALIGN their goals to achieve increased student success, ACCLERATE a successful degree completion through online learning, and ASSIST students in moving from high school into and through college. A copy of the goals in each area are available upon request. Representative Tolson asked them to include the private colleges and universitites in this effort.

Career Ready Commission Dr. June Atkinson, Superintendent NC Department of Public Instruction shared a power point presentation on the work of the Commission and advised members the report “A Crisis of Relevance” was sent to Lieutenant Governor Dalton to use as part of his Jobs Commission efforts. Surprisingly students who take CTE courses have an 86.5 percetn graduation rate compared to 71.7 for all students in high schools in 2008-2009. They found that there are pockets of success, but there is a lack in alignment and NC is 39th n entrepreneurship in the country. They developed six goals with a series of recommendations tied to each goal. They are 1) Make CTE an integral high school experience, 2) Drive innovation and creativity in the state’s high schools, 3) transform the culture of education in NC to produce academically skilled and career-ready students, 4) Expand assistance to high school students 5) Connect business leaders with educators, 6)Build on existing governance structures.  

Tar Heel Challenge Major Robert Carver, NC National Guard reviewed the work of this program at their Academy at Salemburg. This is a joint federal and state program begun in 1994 to focus on high school dropouts between the ages of 16-18. Their goal is to graduate 250 students every year. This year the federal government has increased its support with a 75 percent of funding to the state’s 25 percent. The program is a 22 week residential phase and 12 month post residential phase. Eighty percent if students are employed or enlisted in the military (10-15% of total students enrolled). Their operating budget is $3.5 million and with the change in federal funding the cost per student next year will fall from $5,600 to $3,500. There are two recruiters in the state and most students are referred to the program. Members asked about representation across the state and one of the issues confronting the group is the participation in the western part of the state so they have been looking at adding a site in western NC and have a location in mind. The members requested information on the funding needs to open and operate the new site and they are expected to get back to the committee. Everyone agreed this is an extremely valuable program and the cost to the state is far less than the cost to incarcerate an individual. 

Update on School Construction Needs Dr. Ben Matthews, Director, School Support NC Department of Public Instruction provided a one-page report on the progress of school capital construction since 2006. In 2005/2006 LEAs identified $10 billion in school needs. Since that time capital expenditures have reached $4.75 billion. This total does not include nay monies paid by the county on behalf of the LEA or debt payments for prior construction. These figures may include administration, maintenance, transportation and similar facilities, not just school construction. In addition, $5.9 billion was spent or borrowed through bonds, COPS, and the public school capital fund and approximately 50 percent of the amount from the Public school fund were debt payments from previous construction.  Members asked about the Federal funds, which include QZAB and QSCB. The Quality School Construction Bonds were recently changed to interest-free bonds, which has made them more attractive to counties borrowing for school construction.

Calendar Adjustment for Inclement Weather Dr. Shirley Iorio, Legislative Analyst Research Division, NC General Assembly summarized the calendar law and the LEAs requirements in setting up the school calendar. The constitution provides for at least nine calendar months of school. The law requires 180 days and 1000 hours. There are fifteen workdays, 10 annual vacation days and legal holidays. Teachers must have 195 days of employment in 10 month term and except for year round schools and modified calendar schools students may not start before August 25 and the closing date may not be after June 10. The purpose for the discussion was brought by some committee members because of the recent hardships of bad winter weather in the western part of the State. Some districts were closed more than 20 days, Watauga 27 days. A list of twenty-four counties was provided showing the number of days missed, days already made up, last day of school adjusted, last day of school, and if they used Saturdays, holiday and workdays for make-up. The law allows counties who are closed more than 8 days per year during any four of the last ten years to be granted a waiver by the State Board, on the opening and closing dates of school, in the law. Senator Joe Sam Queen noted that there are numerous days in the calendar that could be eliminated, Unfortunately, what he didn’t understand is that those days are in the calendar by law and most LEAs have very tight calendars, which they must adhere to in order to meet state law. Senator Tillman said the law needed modification, but the House passed bills that were sent to the Senate in 2009, for consideration, only to see them sit in committee without a hearing.

Kara McCraw, Legislative Analyst Research Division, NC General Assembly also shared information on the calendars for the LEAs across the state

Dr. Tony Baldwin, Superintendent Buncombe County Schools talked about the challenges in Buncombe this year and what they have done to make up snow days. They have asked for a waiver for next school year, but the way the State Board is handling these issues Buncombe would not be eligible for the waiver until 2011-2012. He also mentioned the fact that if they could start school by August 17th they could align their calendar with the Community Colleges and Universities to provide more educational opportunities for their high school students to take college classes. This has long been an issue since the calendar law was changed in 2003/2004. Senator Apodaca was very upset with the presenter accusing him of not communicating with him since he represents some of his area. He also made it perfectly clear the need to have adequate time in the summer to run his summer camp programs was critical. His camps bring much needed revenue to the State and this is more important than the changing the school calendar to start as early as the second Monday in August. He said it was ridiculous to consider starting that early. There were other comments from members concerned that the calendar law was not in the best interest of the education of children.

Athletic Injuries and Athletic Trainers in Secondary Schools Bill Griffin, Legislative Chair

North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association recommended athletic trainers be required in all secondary schools at a cost of $21.5 million to the State. The cost is based on an entry level salary requirement for this position. Members asked about how to handle the smaller secondary schools and possible sharing of a trainer. They raised the question about EMS being at the games and why the trainers would be needed. What is the difference in their duties? EMS handles medical emergencies, while trainers are responsible for preventing injuries and tracking the health of the athletes. Trainers are more proactive in managing the health of the students before they have a problem or need EMS. There was a bill to study the issue last Session, but at this time there was no action on the study bill. Senator Dannelly raised concerns about his interest in having a school nurse at every school, before funding the athletic trainers. Though he understands the importance he believes the school nurses are critical and are needed every day to support all students and not just athletes.

Committee Discussion – Draft Report:

Staff provided and presented the DRAFT Committee Findings and Recommendations Report.

  1. School Calendar: The Committee recommends amending the current calendar law to provide LEAs the flexibility needed to make up the missed days. The amended law will apply only to the 2009-2010 school year.
  2. School Transition: The Committee recommends that the State Board of Education consider for implementation the following suggestion to better prepare students academically to make the transition from middle school to high school:
  3. College and Career Readiness: The Committee strongly supports the ongoing efforts of the University of North Carolina, the Independent Colleges and Universities, the North Carolina Community College System, and the Department of Public Instruction to ensure that all students are college and career-ready without needing remediation and recommends that they continue their work in this area.
  4. School Leadership: The Committee strongly recommends that the State of North Carolina closely examine d this NBPTS program and consider supporting, when funds become available, principals who are interested in participating in this professional development program.
  5. Positive Behavior Support Initiative: The Committee recommends that the General Assembly consider expanding the Positive Behavior Support Initiative at a level that allows for statewide implementation when funds are available.
  6. Education Value-Added Assessment System: The Committee strongly recommends that school improvement teams use the EVAAS or a compatible/similar system to collect diagnostic information on students and use the data to help raise student achievement.
  7. Broadband Access: The Committee strongly recommends that the General Assembly continue to improve broadband access for all public schools.
  8. Students with Disabilities: The Committee recommends the enactment of legislation to ban the use of corporal punishment on students with disabilities. Proposed Bill Drafted
  9. Delay the Sunset of an Act Pertaining to Discipline and Homebound Instruction of Students with Disabilities. Sunset extended to 2013 what was House Bill 12. Proposed Bill Drafted.
  10. Substitute Teacher Unemployment: An act to restore a balance to the law on unemployment compensation for substitute teachers. “No substitute teacher or other substitute school personnel shall be considered unemployed for days or weeks when not called to work unless the individual is or was employed as a full-time substitute during the period of time for which the individual is requesting benefits. For the purposes for this subsection, full-time substitute is defined as a substitute employee who worked so more than thirty hours a week on a continual basis for a period of six months.” Effective when it becomes law. Proposed Bill Drafted.
  11. Funding an Language for personnel in the School Support Services Division of DPI:115C-546.2 (a) Provides $2 million in funding from the Public Schools Corporate Tax dedicated to school construction. The additional $500,000 will be used to hire an electrical engineer and environmental engineer to manage issues in the public schools with green construction as well as other environmental issues (mold and mildew etc.) Proposal Bill Drafted, then plan to include in special provisions of budget.
  12. House Bill 348 School Board Members Required Education Credits: Last year this bill passed the House and got stalled and changed in the Senate Education Committee. The bill seeks to add a $50.00 per credit hour fine to each and every school board member who does not complete the legally required 12 hours of professional development annually. Only 45 of the 115 school boards have fully complied and 72 percent of the total membership. Enforcement of the law is needed and Representative Glazier requests the committee to support the passage of House Bill 348, as it was approved by the House, without any of the changes made in the Senate.
  13. House Bill 536 Athletic Trainers Study Bill: This bill is sitting in the Rules Committee in the House. The Committee is asked to recommend this bill be removed from the Rules Committee and be enacted. Representative Glazier and Cotham are making this recommendation.

The Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee has a final meeting on April 27th to approve their final report and recommendations for short session.

NC Committee on Dropout Prevention Meeting Summary

April 15, 2010

Representative Earline Parmon Co-Chair-Presiding

Senator Don Davis-Co-Chair

Tarheel Challenge: Program reviewed at Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee April 13, 2010. Information contained in the Summary meeting notes.

Review of 2009 Dropout Prevention Grant Process Debora Williams presented to the Committee details on how to access information about Dropout Prevention and Intervention on the Department of Public Instruction’s web site.

Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation Commission Interim Report: Staff presented the Commission’s findings and recommendations in their final report.

1. Bill Draft to amend the criteria used by the Committee on Dropout Prevention for awarding the grants. To date $36 million in grants have been awarded with another $13 million budgeted for 2010-2011. The change is to focus new grants for those counties with equal quality applications and who have no grant recipients.

  • Bill Draft also includes language to give priority to programs serving students with a graduation rate less than 60 percent in the most recent school year and one of two prior years or a performance composite below 50 percent.
  • Bill Draft also includes language for the use of evaluations in awarding grants and to give priority to those who use multiple successful program elements in their proposal.
  • Bill Draft also includes $100,000 for the Committee on Dropout Prevention to assess successful dropout grant programs and to assess and track the progress of programs who have grants or who have received grants previously. The assessment  shall also include the following:
    • Analyze longitudinal data by district to determine what characteristics identify students most likely to dropout.
    • Create a data file that includes academic, behavioral and other student data to determine which variables best predict students at risk of dropping out.
    • Identify “Beating the Odds” combinations of high schools and middle schools which serve at risk populations in ways that have significantly reduced the dropout rates.
    • Identify programs that are successful at encouraging subgroups of at risk students to complete high school.
    • Develop procedures for collecting data to identify factors key to success.
    • Identify critical benchmarks for evaluation.
    • The Study shall be designed and conducted under the direction of the Dropout Prevention Committee.

2. The Commission strongly supports the development and implementation of the P-20 longitudinal data system and requests students educated through the Dept. of Juvenile Justice, be included in the data.

3. The Commission strongly encourages LEAs to use EVAAS.

4. Bill Draft to direct the Board of Governors in conjunction with DPI and Independent Colleges and Universities to study an increase to the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 17 or 18. The study shall examine other states to determine effects and costs.

5. Bill Draft to appropriate $6,024,091 to Communities in Schools to place no fewer than 100 graduation coaches in either middle or high schools giving priority to schools with 60 percent or less graduation rate or performance composite below 50 percent.

6. Bill Draft to direct the State Board of Education:Develop a growth model prior to 2010-2011 school year establishing goals for improvement of the four-year cohort graduation rate.
Establish a short-term goal that LEAs meet the annual model beginning with the graduating class of 2011.
Develop a long-term goal for a four-year cohort graduation rate of 90 percent by 2016.

7. Bill Draft to require LEAs to identify students not progressing towards graduation and to provide personal education plans for those students and to annually report to the State Board of Education on the strategies and successes of focused intervention for those students. The State Board shall consider implementation of a program to provide LEAs with assistance and professional development to effectively identify students who are at risk of academic failure or who are not making progress towards graduation. Representative Tarelton brought this bill to Committee and it was added to the final report.

The Committee has completed their work and approved the above mentioned recommendations. There were some minor changes to the Dropout Grants bill (first bill) and further adjustments by staff. Those will be completed and available when the bill is introduced next month, after Session reconvenes.

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

April 14, 2010

Representative Ray Rapp

Senator Dan Blue-Presiding

  1. Early Childhood Programs should be administered under one entity, but due to the time constraints this will not be implemented by July 1, 2010. Representative Rapp is committed to achieving this recommendation and reiterated this to the Task Force members.
  2. NC DPI should restructure More at Four payments to Local Partnerships. Private providers would be reimbursed at a higher rate than public providers. This should help in reducing the per slot funding for administrative purposes. Savings estimated of $5 million which could then be used to serve additional children or enhance rates.
  3. The Division of Child Development should partner with other state, private, and local entities to implement a consolidated electronic benefits transfer system. The electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system should be operational in the next year and More at Four is encouraged to become part of the system for payment purposes. Draft Bill proposed to facilitate the implementation of the EBT system and requires all end users to document savings related to implementation.
  4. DPI and NCHHS should consolidate the regulatory oversight of More at Four Services provided in a private sector setting. The task force recommends NCHHS and DPI execute an MOU by July 1, 2010 to initiate the new oversight approach with full implementation January 1, 2011. This will allow for the elimination of some positions and or a transfer of funds and positions from Office of Early Learning to Division of Child Development.  Draft Bill proposed.
  5. DPI and NCHHS should consolidate the Transcript Evaluation of Early Childhood Educators. The NC Institute for Child Development Professionals provides a centralized service for certification, based on educational achievement and training of care teachers. Over the past five years they have certified over 8,500 teachers, which is only one-fourth of the childhood educators. The task force encourages all child care teachers and More at Four teachers to use this service and that it become the standard used by employers.
  6. Smart Start and DCD should leverage additional federal funding. The task force recommends all agencies review the child health consultant services and all service provide by the NC Partnership for children to determine if there are programs or service that would qualify for Medicaid funding.
  7. An Annual Consolidated Report for all Major Early Childhood Programs should be created. The task force determined that early care and education services have an annual budget of $1.1 billion in State and Federal resources. The request is for an annual report including the number of individuals who apply for services but are denied due to budget constraints. Draft Bill proposed.
  8. The NC General Assembly should create a Joint Legislative Study Committee on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care. The task force believes additional joint oversight would provide the best pathway to a unified early childhood education and care program under one entity. They also believe this oversight might lead to additional coordination and integration. Draft Bill proposed.
  9. The Legislative Study Committee on the Consolidation of Early Childhood Education and Care should closely coordinate its activities with the Governor’s State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care. The task force understands that it is important to ensure the work of the study committee be coordinated with the son-to-be created Governor’s State advisory Council on early Childhood Education and Care (ECAC). Communication between these two groups is critical to have an understanding of how the implementation group intends to carry out the ECAC’s policy decisions.
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