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The Friday Report

December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays from the Public School Forum!
The Friday Report will be back on January 6th after the holiday.

Legislative News

House Bill 17 Signed by Governor McCrory Dramatically Changes Education Authority of Governor-elect Cooper and State Board of Education

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Earlier this week, Governor Pat McCrory signed House Bill 17, shifting substantial education authority from the Governor-elect and the State Board of Education to the incoming State Superintendent. The controversial bill passed the House and Senate last week.
Below are the provisions shifted away from the State Board of Education: 
  • House Bill 17 establishes the State Superintendent as the head of the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), which was formerly the role of the State Board of Education. That means the Superintendent will now administer all rules passed by the State Board through DPI.
  • The State Superintendent will now have direct control “over all matters relating to the direct supervision and administration of the public school system.” Beforehand, the superintendent had only the powers delegated to him by the State Board.
  • Transferred to the Superintendent from the State Board will also be the duty of administering funds appropriated for DPI, appointing and firing administrative and supervisory personnel to DPI’s staff, entering into contracts for DPI operations, and administering special funds to manage grant money from outside sources.
  • Under the bill, the State Superintendent controls appointments of administrative and supervisory personnel to the State Board of Education staff, with the exception of four positions that the state board will continue to appoint (two attorneys, a paralegal, and an administrative assistant).
  • House Bill 17 takes away the State Board’s authority over the Office of Charter Schools and gives the State Superintendent the power to appoint the executive director of the office.
  • The bill also gets rid of the State Board’s advisory committee that was going to make a recommendation on who runs the state’s new Achievement School District (ASD), and it gives the power to choose the head of the district to the State Superintendent.
Below are the provisions shifted away from the Governor: 
  • Under the bill, the power of appointing both the local superintendent and high school non-voting advisors to the State Board moves from the Governor to the State Superintendent.
  • House Bill 17 removes gubernatorial appointments to the boards of trustees that run each campus in the University of North Carolina system. Those appointments would be would be transferred to the General Assembly.
  • The bill reduces the number of exempt positions under Cooper’s supervision from 1,500 to 425. Exempt positions are those that a governor can hire or fire at will, either because they are managers or because their job is somewhat political in nature. Although former Gov. Bev Perdue had roughly 500 such positions under her control, GOP lawmakers gave McCrory 1,500 to work with. 
Incoming State Superintendent Mark Johnson released a statement Friday afternoon thanking the General Assembly for their passage of House Bill 17 and supporting changes in the relationship between the SBE and the Superintendent which, he said, will make things clearer and less complicated.
“Speaker Moore, Senate Pro-Temp Berger, Governor McCrory, and Lieutenant Governor Forest care deeply about public education in North Carolina, and I commend them for their commitment to our students,” Johnson’s statement reads. “While we might not always agree, we do agree that the relationship between DPI and the NC Board of Education regarding personnel was unnecessarily complex and bureaucratic. HB17 will help usher in an era of greater transparency at DPI by eliminating the more confusing aspects of the relationship between the NC Superintendent and the NC Board of Education. This will better serve constituents visiting Raleigh as our working relationship will be more similar to how local superintendents and their respective boards of education work together across North Carolina. I thank the NC House and NC Senate for their hard work on these straight-forward, common-sense reforms.”
Governor McCrory said about HB17: “This bill enhances state employee policies, transfers school safety programs to the education department, allows our state legislature to make university trustee appointments, and clarifies the roles and organizational structure of the superintendent of public instruction and board of education — hardly extreme changes.”
In a statement released last Thursday, State Board of Education Chair Bill Cobey said “The State Board of Education and state superintendent have a strong and productive relationship that works well on behalf of public schools and charter schools in North Carolina. HB 17 … raises Constitutional concerns and eliminates checks and balances that are important to the students of North Carolina. For these reasons, State Board of Education Vice-Chair A.L. “Buddy” Collins and I oppose HB17. The bill is not in the best interest of public schools and public charter schools in North Carolina.”
Like Johnson, Cobey and Collins are both Republicans.

With this bill, North Carolina once again made national news. To read national news about last week’s special session, view the following sources: CNN, New York Times and Education Week.

Sources:

Bell, L. “Amid protests, NC legislature passes bill strengthening state Superintendent power.” EducationNC. 12/16/16.

Binker, M. and Hinchcliffe, K. “Lawmakers leave town after passing bill limiting Cooper’s, education board’s power.” WRAL. 12/17/16.

Herron, A. “Johnson gets more power ahead of move to Raleigh.” The Winston-Salem Journal. 12/18/16.

Jarvis, C. “McCrory signs second measure whittling Cooper’s power.” The News & Observer. 12/19/16.

Public School Forum Programs

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Citing ‘Legal Concerns,’ State Board of Education Asks Attorneys to Analyze House Bill 17

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The State Board of Education asked its attorneys Tuesday to continue analyzing House Bill 17, which takes away power from the board and transfers it to the new Republican State Superintendent-elect Mark Johnson, who begins the job next month.

The board opened its meeting at 10 a.m. and quickly went into closed session to discuss the bill, which outgoing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law. The board plans to meet again before Jan. 1.

State Board Chairman Bill Cobey made some brief remarks before going into closed session and said the bill “attempts to diminish the board’s constitutional authority” and “raises significant legal concerns.”

The board declined to comment at the end of the meeting and instead released a statement from Cobey directing attorneys to “review the constitutional implications of the legislation.”

The bill, which was passed last week, gives the new superintendent more flexibility in managing the state’s education budget, more authority to dismiss senior level employees, control of the Office of Charter Schools and the ability to choose the leader of the new Achievement School District, which will oversee some of the lowest-performing schools in the state. Those powers were under the State Board of Education’s control.

The state board’s chairman and vice chairman, both Republicans, oppose the new law. “We have had a strong and productive working relationship (with the current state superintendent),” Cobey said. “We would like to see this continue in the future.”

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from: 

Hinchcliffe, K. “Citing ‘legal concerns,’ state education board asks attorneys to analyze House Bill 17.” WRAL. 12/20/16.

Forum News

2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast Tickets on Sale

On January 25, 2017, the Public School Forum of North Carolina will host its 3rd Annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast at Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh. This special event began in 2015 to showcase the Forum’s release of its annual Top Ten Education Issues – our unique take on the state’s most pressing issues in education.

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The 2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast will feature a special taping of Education Matters, the Forum’s weekly television show that airs on WRAL-TV. Our special guest for the show will be Governor-elect Roy Cooper, who will sit down for a one-on-one discussion with Forum President & Executive Director and Education Matters host Keith Poston.

The event will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 from 7:30 AM to 9:30 AM. Breakfast will start at 7:30 AM, followed by the program at 8:00 AM. The event will conclude by 9:30 AM.

The Eggs & Issues Breakfast is one of the most anticipated education events each new year with a sellout crowd of over 200 members of the business community, educators, and government representatives attending. The 2017 event promises to be another can’t miss event.

Tickets can be purchased online at https://forumeggsissues2017.eventbrite.com

Event sponsorships are available. Contact Lizzy Mottern at lmottern@ncforum.org for details. 

Education Matters Encore Episodes

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For the next two week, the Forum’s weekly television program, Education Matters, will air two encore episodes. Education Matters airs on Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. on WRAL-TV.

Encore presentations of Education Matters episodes focused on Classroom Resources and Expanding Educational Opportunity will air on December 24th and December 31st respectively. New episodes of the show will begin on January 7th, with the show moving statewide.

Each Education Matters show profiles a education leader that is making a difference in his or her community. Do you have a great leader in your local school? Nominate them today! We are seeking leaders who make a difference in their school each and every day. To nominate an education leader, please fill out the form here.
Previous episodes can be found online at https://www.ncforum.org/ or on wral.com by searching for Education Matters.

State News

General Assembly Approves Study of School Funding Changes

Amidst the chaos of the multiple special sessions called for the General Assembly before 2016 is out, an important change to education policy is being considered.

Last week on Monday, December 12, the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee continued with its plan to create a joint task force that will explore the possibility of moving the state to a weighted-student formula when it comes to its process for appropriating money for local school districts.

The committee first met in November, unveiling its intent to explore the idea of changing the funding formula. According to presentations during the November committee meeting, in fiscal year 2014-15, the public school system was funded at about $12 billion, $8.4 billion of which was strictly state money.

Presently, the state doles out the state funds using a series of allotments — 37 in total. The allotments are essentially line items. X amount of money for classroom teachers, Y amount of money for school building administration, etc… This is called the resource allocation model.

Under a weighted-student formula, the money would be based on the student. Basically, the state would allot a base amount of money for each student in the state. The arbitrary example given at the November meeting was $7,500 (note: that is not the funding number being proposed, simply a number picked to use in an example).

Now, the distribution of funds changes depending on the type of student. A normal student with no special needs affords the school $7,500. But let’s say you have a student who is K-3. Well that student would get an additional .19, or $1,425, of that base of $7,500. If that student has disabilities, he or she would get an additional .98 or $7,350 of that initial $7,500. When all the numbers are added up on that student, the school gets a total of $16,275 for that one student.

So basically, schools get funded based on the number of students. Normal students get the base $7,500, and extra money is allotted depending on any extra needs students might have.

Check out EducationNC’s earlier coverage to get a better understanding of how a weighted-student formula would work.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Plans for Wake County School/YMCA Facility Move Forward

The Wake County school board has approved an agreement with the YMCA of the Triangle to develop a joint elementary school and YMCA facility in an effort to help revitalize Southeast Raleigh.

The new school will be part of a complex off Rock Quarry Road near Interstate 40 that includes more than 70 units of affordable housing and space that could include a health care facility and a grocery store. The 500-student school could open in 2019.

Organizers hope the joint project will break the cycle of inter-generational poverty in Southeast Raleigh, one of the most economically depressed parts of Wake County. Student test scores in Southeast Raleigh are also well below the district average.

“It’s going to be a great addition to the community,” said school board member Keith Sutton, whose district includes much of Southeast Raleigh. “The location is an excellent one that’s right off the interstate and in the heart of Southeast Raleigh, and I think will help so many students and families and parts of the community.”

The development agreement approved by the school board on Tuesday will go to the Wake County Board of Commissioners for a vote on January 3. Commissioners have also been supportive of the proposal.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Name Pamela Baldwin as New Superintendent

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Pamela Baldwin, the current superintendent of Asheville City Schools, will be the new superintendent of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education unanimously approved a contract for Baldwin to serve through June 30, 2020. She will start April 3 with an annual salary of $195,000 in state and local funding.

Baldwin replaces Interim Superintendent Jim Causby, a semi-retired consultant and former superintendent for Swain, Polk and Johnston counties and Hickory City schools. He has served since Tom Forcella retired August 1, after five years.

Baldwin thanked the board and praised Causby at Wednesday night’s school board meeting in Smith Middle School. “He is a fantastic human being, and a fantastic superintendent,” she said, “and I am honored, hopefully, to have some mentorship from him, and friendship, and a great transition.”

Baldwin’s leadership, experience, and dedication to students were cited as deciding factors in her selection from 44 applicants from 17 states.

“We consider ourselves very fortunate to have found a leader like Dr. Baldwin,” Board Chairman James Barrett said in a release. “Her vision, her experience, and her skill set align perfectly with the plans we have for moving this district forward in the coming years to provide excellent education to all students.”

Opportunities

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Accepting Applications for Student Science Enrichment Program

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund has opened its application for the 2017 Student Science Enrichment Program (SSEP) grant awards. SSEP supports diverse programs with a common goal: to enable primary and secondary students to participate in creative, hands-on scientific activities for K-12 students and pursue inquiry-based exploration in BWF’s home state of North Carolina. These awards provide up to $60,000 per year for three years. The application deadline is April 18, 2017.

For more information or to access the application, visit http://www.bwfund.org/grant-programs/science-education/student-science-enrichment-program.

NCPAPA Seeking Assistant Executive Director

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The North Carolina Principals & Assistant Principals Association (NCPAPA) is seeking an Assistant Executive Director​. To view the position description and application instructions, visit http://www.ncpapa.com/careers.html. Applications are being accepted through January 2, 2017.

Applications Open for 2017-18 Kenan Fellowships

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The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership is accepting online applications for the 2017-18 fellowship year through January 16, 2017. These fellowships address the critical need to develop and empower high-quality teachers, who, in turn, make learning more authentic for students.

The fellowship begins with a summer internship in a higher education lab or industry setting and is supported by 80 hours of professional development that focuses on building leadership capacity and proven instructional strategies.

Fellowship projects have a unique set of criteria that in some cases is restricted by district, grade level and subject. Projects vary from scientific research to work experiences in the agriculture, energy and high-tech manufacturing industries.

Each Fellow is awarded at least a $5,000 stipend, and must develop and implement relevant educational materials and/or programs based on their internship experience. Fellows remain in the classroom while completing the year-long fellowship. Visit kenanfellows.org/2017-18-fellowships to see which fellowships are available to educators in your school district.

The Friday Report is published weekly by the Public School Forum of NC and is distributed to Forum members, policymakers, donors, media, and Forum subscribers. Archived editions can be found at www.ncforum.org.

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