• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The Friday Report

June 1, 2018

Forum News

The Good, The Needs Improvement, and The Ugly in the State Budget

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The Public School Forum has been closely analyzing this week’s release and imminent passage of the General Assembly’s 2018-19 budget proposal. We bring to you our take: The Good, The Needs Improvement, and The Ugly.

THE GOOD

Teacher pay. An overall average increase of 6.5% continues important new investments in teacher pay that are desperately needed. Also included is a $70/month salary increase for veteran teachers and instructional support personnel (with 25+ years of experience), but an elimination of the 2017 one-time veteran teacher bonuses. We’re pleased to see veteran teachers get some increase, but they’ve largely been left out and left behind in recent years.

Principal pay. This budget invests $12 million into principal salaries—an additional investment over last year’s big boost to principals, who have been in desperate need of salary increases. This year’s investment provides an average increase of 6.9% in 2018-19 and results in a 13.1% average increase since 2016-17. In another positive move, the budget also extends a hold harmless provision for one more year, which would prevent some principals—in particular veterans—from seeing big pay cuts under the new plan. The budget does not adequately address elements of the overall plan that many school leaders say are disincentives for top leaders to take the helm at low-performing schools.

Principal preparation and advanced teacher roles. Teachers say they want more pathways to advancing their careers while staying in the classroom, and we are pleased that this budget provides additional funding to increase the length of the Advanced Teaching Roles pilot program from 3 to 8 years. The budget also invests more in principal preparation and training. It’s clear that school leaders play a critical role in the success of teachers and schools, so we’re encouraged that the budget provides additional funding for administrative and technical assistance related to the UNC Teacher and Principal Preparation Laboratory School Program, which continues investments in North Carolina’s great principal preparation programs.

School finance reform task force extended. The budget extends the work of the General Assembly’s joint school finance reform task force through October 2019, with a final report due then rather than October 2018 (the current deadline). We welcome this change because we believe the monumental feat of reexamining the system of how our state distributes funds to our public schools–and potentially overhauling it–deserves a very careful and thorough study with ample time to determine how any new model appropriately addresses the critical issues of adequacy and equity of funding.

THE NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

Classroom resources. Just two weeks ago, 20,000 educators and public school supporters marched in Raleigh and their message was clear: teachers do not have the classroom resources necessary to do their jobs and ensure our students can learn. But with this year’s budget, it appears lawmakers didn’t hear their message well enough: funding for textbooks and digital resources remains at the same per pupil allocation level as that of 2017-18: $73.9 million. This amount is still well below pre-recession levels and students continue to report that they are working with textbooks that are in some cases decades old. To get back to pre-recession levels of funding, the state should fund at $77.16 per student; now the state is only funding at $47.86. This year’s budget, when compared to pre-recession funding, also underfunds basic classroom supplies, teacher assistants, professional development, and many more critical classroom line items. For our students to succeed in career and in life, we need to ensure that teachers have the resources necessary to make that happen.

School safety. In the wake of Parkland, Florida and many other school shootings, lawmakers have said they want to do more to keep our children safe at school, and the elements of this year’s budget proposal like investing in counselors and school mental health resources are on the mark. But this year’s budget proposal offers only $35 million related to school safety (compare this to the Governor’s $130 million proposal), and much of this pot comprises one-time-only funds to hire school nurses and other mental health professionals, putting districts in a difficult position when it comes to recruiting and retaining for the long term. $35 million is not nearly enough to get to where we need to be to ensure our children are safe and well supported when they are spending their days inside of our school buildings.

School construction. This year the budget adds over $100 million in Education Lottery dollars toward needs-based school construction grants. Last year, that allotment was only $30 million, so budget writers’ intent of using more lottery dollars toward school construction is a step in the right direction. However, the NC Department of Public Instruction conducted its comprehensive study of school facilities, and we need $8.1 billion over the next few years to meet the school construction needs. It is disappointing that this budget does not include the Public School Building Bond Act (HB 866/SB 542) that would dedicate $1.9 billion in a statewide bond referendum toward school construction, renovation and repair. Perhaps that school bond bill will pass later in this legislative session.

Early childhood education. According to the NC Early Childhood Foundation, budget writers have shifted $50 million of new federal funding intended to help more working families afford high-quality child care to use for other purposes. This budget continues a disappointing trend of using federal dollars to supplant state investment in early childhood education. $50 million in federal funds for NC Pre-K should have been a huge boost for North Carolina’s children and families by adding the $50 million on top of state investment to significantly expand the number of pre-K slots, not diverting state funds for other purposes. 

THE UGLY

Municipal charter schools bill and local tax provision. This week the Senate gave tentative approval to HB 514 with a final vote scheduled for Monday, which would allow the Mecklenburg County towns of Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville and Cornelius to form municipal charter schools for their residents, a brand new hybrid form of a charter school. The Public School Forum believes this legislation sets a bad precedent that will drive further inequities, exacerbate re-segregation, and potentially put city taxpayers at risk from new liabilities and unknown costs to run their own school system. The budget included a provision that would allow cities to use property tax revenue to fund local schools that serve their residents, which further enables HB 514. Beyond municipal charter schools, this could create serious problems whereby wealthier locales will inevitably be better positioned to fund their schools, again exacerbating inequities and shifting the burden of financing schools onto locals rather than the state, which has a constitutional obligation to fund our schools. If you thought that local school boards and local county commissioners fight over school budgets, just wait until your towns and cities weigh in on the debate, too. That’s what this bill promises.

Virtual charter schools. A provision in the state budget extends the state’s virtual charter school pilot from 4 years to 8 years (until 2022-2023). As a result, two for-profit online schools with a track record of abysmal student outcomes will continue to have exclusive operating rights in North Carolina for four more years. Options for virtual schooling are an important part of the educational ecosystem, but we need to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent on the best choices available.

Continued lack of transparency and accountability for school choice programs. This year’s budget expands our state’s school voucher program to approximately $55 million, a $10 million (or 22%) increase over last year. It also adds an additional $3 million to the disability voucher program. With continued expansion of the state’s voucher programs without accompanying accountability and transparency mechanisms, we are discouraged see that our state’s taxpaying citizens will continue to be without access to solid information about what type of nonpublic education their dollars are actually buying. The House’s budget proposal last year had a provision to enhance accountability for vouchers; however, it did not succeed last year and it’s not in this year’s budget either. It’s time to enact better accountability and transparency mechanisms for our proliferating school choice programs, ranging from robust evaluation processes to better laws around financial accounting of public funds spent.

In This Issue

The Good, The Needs Improvement, and The Ugly in the State Budget

This Week on Education Matters: NC’s School Building Needs

Education Budget Shocker Could Alter the Fundamentals of NC School Funding

Town-Run Charter Schools Would Add Options, Backers Say. Critics Warn of Resegregation.

Charity Refuses to Pass NC Taxpayer Money to Schools in One Senator’s District

NC ‘School Self-Defense Act’ Would Let Teachers Carry Handguns in School

Adjusted State Budget Diverts $50 Million from Childhood Development Programs

One Roadblock to Arming Teachers: Insurance Companies

Study: Hot Classrooms Lead to Less Learning

Support the NC School Bond Bill

Applications Open for 2018-19 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers

Women in Educational Leadership Symposium

Public School Forum Programs

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Nominate a Leader for Children in Your Community

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Do you know a leader in your community supporting our schools and making a difference in the lives of children both in and out of school? The Public School Forum is seeking nominations for individuals to be highlighted on our weekly statewide TV show, Education Matters. Click here for an example of a recent spotlight.

Nominees could be principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, business leaders, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and the list goes on!

To nominate someone, please fill out the form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/educationmatters.

This Week on Education Matters: NC’s School Building Needs

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Dr. Aaron Fleming, Superintendent of Harnett County Schools (left) and Mark Richardson,

Education Steering Committee Chair of the NC Association of County Commissioners (right).

North Carolina public schools have about $8 billion dollars in construction, renovation and repair needs. Cracked walls, outdated inefficient heating and cooling systems and school grounds that look like trailer parks due to the number of mobile classroom units are all too common. And now new school building requirements are being proposed to enhance school security. Will the General Assembly put a statewide school building bond on the ballot in November? How will all these needs be funded?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn
  
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Guests:

  • Dr. Rodney Shotwell, Superintendent, Rockingham County Schools (pictured above, left)
  • Sheriff Sam Page, Rockingham County (pictured above, right)
  • Dr. Aaron Fleming, Superintendent, Harnett County Schools
  • Mark Richardson, Education Steering Committee Chair, NC Association of County Commissioners

When and Where to Watch Education Matters

Saturday at 7:30 PM,

WRAL-TV (Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sunday at 8:00 AM,

FOX 50

(Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville)

Sunday at 6:30 AM and Wednesday at 9:30 AM, UNC-TV’s North Carolina Channel (Statewide)

The North Carolina Channel can be found on Time Warner Cable/Spectrum Channel 1277 or check your local listing and other providers here.

Online at https://www.ncforum.org/.

Education Matters is also available as a podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, StitcherOvercast, and Google Play Music.

State News

Education Budget Shocker Could Alter the Fundamentals of NC School Funding

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Image Credit: NC Policy Watch.

When GOP leaders in the General Assembly unveiled their privately-crafted $23.9 billion budget Monday night, the biggest surprise wasn’t its proposals for teacher pay or another round of tax cuts.

No, the real stunner came in a three-page provision starting on page 257 that authorizes North Carolina municipalities to spend property tax revenues on any public school that “benefits the residents of the city,” including charter schools. It’s a massive, and little debated, overhaul of the state’s longtime funding method that has the potential to drastically alter K-12 funding, and not for the better, advocates say.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Ball, B. “Education budget shocker could alter the fundamentals of NC school funding.” NC Policy Watch. 5/31/18.

Town-Run Charter Schools Would Add Options, Backers Say. Critics Warn of Resegregation.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Photo Credit: Seth Perlman, AP.

Despite warnings that it could resegregate North Carolina schools, a bill that would allow Mecklenburg County towns to run their own charter schools moved closer to passage Thursday. The N.C. Senate tentatively approved House Bill 514 after a sometimes heated debate over the local and statewide implications of the measure.

One supporter called it a warning shot not only to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools but school systems across the state. And one CMS official said the bill, supported by four of Mecklenburg’s six towns, signals a possible break-up.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Morrill, J. and Doss Helms, A. “Town-run charter schools would add options, backers say. Critics warn of resegregation.” The Charlotte Observer. 5/31/18.

Charity Refuses to Pass NC Taxpayer Money to Schools in One Senator’s District

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

J.M. Alexander Middle School in Huntersville is among 35 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools singled out for DonorsChoose funding in the new state budget. Photo Credit: Diedra Laird, The Charlotte Observer.

North Carolina Republicans’ plan to channel $200,000 to schools in the district of a senator facing a tough re-election bid hit a snag Wednesday when the charity tapped to channel the money said it won’t participate.

DonorsChoose, a New York-based nonprofit that normally steers private donations to classroom teachers’ projects, was not consulted on the plan that’s part of the state budget bill, an official said Tuesday. After learning of it via Twitter, the group responded Wednesday afternoon to several people who had asked about the plan, which designates the state money only for the 35 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools in state Sen. Jeff Tarte’s new district.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Doss Helms, A. “Charity refuses to pass NC taxpayer money to schools in one senator’s district.” The Charlotte Observer. 5/30/18.

NC ‘School Self-Defense Act’ Would Let Teachers Carry Handguns in School

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Photo Credit: Pixabay, Pexels.

North Carolina teachers and other school employees would be allowed to carry handguns on campus “to respond to acts of violence or an imminent threat of violence” under a bill filed Wednesday in the state legislature.

The “School Self-Defense Act” would create a “volunteer school faculty guardian” program where school employees would have permission to carry firearms on school grounds. The armed employees would have to meet requirements such as having a valid concealed carry handgun permit and completing 16 hours of active shooter training.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Hui, K. “NC ‘School Self-Defense Act’ would let teachers carry handguns in school.” The News & Observer. 5/30/18.

Adjusted State Budget Diverts $50 Million from Childhood Development Programs

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Photo Credit: KOMUNEWS, FLICKR.

As state lawmakers work to quickly approve a budget, some children’s advocates are shining light on what they call a major missed opportunity for childhood development.

Legislators in Raleigh are advancing a $23.9 billion adjusted state spending plan, and have pledged to send it along to Governor Roy Cooper by the end of the week. The budget includes overall growth of almost 4 percent, average teacher raises of 6.5 percent, and hundreds of earmarks for local initiatives across the state. It also includes an additional $74 million in federal funding, which had been designated for early childhood development by the U.S. Congress. However, two-thirds of those funds are being re-routed, back into the general Department of Heath and Human Services fund.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Tiberii, J. “Adjusted State Budget Diverts $50 Million From Childhood Development Programs.” WUNC. 5/30/18.

National News

One Roadblock to Arming Teachers: Insurance Companies

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

A flag flies at half-staff as students return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 28, 2018, after a mass shooting that left 17 dead. Photo Credit: Matt McClain, The Washington Post.

Kansas has a problem: It has a law allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom, but almost no schools are using it because insurance companies refuse to provide coverage if they do. As EMC Insurance, the largest insurer of schools in Kansas, explained in a letter to its agents, the company “has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises poses a heightened liability risk.”

Then came the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, leading frustrated Republican legislators in Kansas to try forcing the issue with a bill banning “unfair, discriminatory” rates for schools that arm staff. The insurance industry held firm. Last month, the bill failed.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Frankel, T. “One roadblock to arming teachers: Insurance companies.” The Washington Post. 5/26/18.

Study: Hot Classrooms Lead to Less Learning

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

Photo Credit: Lukas, Pexels.

Students don’t learn as well when classrooms get too hot, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that examined how students performed on the PSAT following a year with extreme heat.

The research examined test scores of 10 million high school students from the classes of 2001 through 2014 who took the PSAT exam multiple times, finding that, compared to school days in which temperatures are in the 60s, each day with temperatures in the 90-degree range reduces math and reading achievement by one-sixth of a percent of a year’s worth of learning. The effect of a day with temperatures in the 100s is 50% larger.

To continue reading the complete article, click here.

Excerpt from:

Jacobson, L. “Study: Hot classrooms lead to less learning.” Education Dive. 5/29/18.

Support the NC School Bond Bill

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

For new buildings, repairs, and renovations, North Carolina’s public schools need $8.1 billion to adequately address the reality that our children are being taught in overcrowded classrooms, deteriorating buildings and mobile units. The NC School Bond (HB 866/SB 542) would invest $1.9 billion to begin addressing these critical needs without increasing taxes.

Show your support for a statewide school construction bond in North Carolina by signing up online to join the effort. Please visit https://www.ncschoolbond.com/ to learn more and lend your voice.

Opportunities

Applications Open for 2018-19 NC Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP)

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The Public School Forum is accepting applications for the 2018-19 cohort of the North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).

The North Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program is the only statewide program of its kind that focuses on leadership and professional development in the context of education policy. Fellows come from public schools, higher education, community colleges, and a diverse array of education organizations across North Carolina. Each class includes a cohort of fellows who focus on education policy issues and the wide range of factors that influence education in North Carolina. Fellows will increase their awareness of how public policy is made, learn whom the key players are in the formation of this policy, and become more confident and involved in the policy-making process.

Application information for both EPFP Central and EPFP West can be found online at https://www.ncforum.org/education-policy-fellowship-program/. Applications are due by June 30, 2018. Contact Lauren Bock, Public School Forum Director of Policy & Programs, at [email protected] with questions.

Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Science and Math Teachers (CASMT) application is now available online. The Career Award for Science and Mathematics Teachers is a five-year award available to outstanding science and/or mathematics teachers in the North Carolina public primary and secondary schools. The purpose of this award is to recognize teachers who have demonstrated solid knowledge of science and/or mathematics content and have outstanding performance records in educating children. The deadline for submission is September 24th, 2018.

For more information or to access the application, visit https://www.bwfund.org/grant-programs/science-education/career-awards-science-and-mathematics-teachers.

Women in Educational Leadership Symposium

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn
Registration is open for the third annual Women in Educational Leadership Symposium (WIELS). The purpose of WIELS is to bring women together to share, learn, and grow in leadership. This conference aims to provide personalized learning and mentoring opportunities for those who aspire to become or currently serve as educational leaders.

The symposium will be held October 5 through October 6, 2018 at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. This year’s conference theme is Advancing the Leader Within: Building Capacity.

Registration for the conference is online at https://wiels.appstate.edu/about-us/registration. Additional information can be found at https://wiels.appstate.edu/.

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.

©2018 Public School Forum of North Carolina. All Rights Reserved.

Public School Forum of North Carolina

919-781-6833

Follow us at @theNCForum

www.ncforum.org

Donate to the Forum!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly
  • Google+
  • Buffer
  • LinkedIn
Share This