A new North Carolina House Bill was released to the public and has a significant impact on the North Carolina school system and the NC Board of Elections. A section-by-section breakdown of the bill is essential to understanding its effects on the North Carolina populace.
The first of nine sections deals with the appropriations of funding to schools in districts that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline runs through. Because of the impacts that the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will have on the natural resources of a number of school districts, the company that owns the pipeline will have to pay out settlements to the state to help with both the local economy of the districts it impacts and the development of renewable energy sources in those districts. The bill then goes on to list a couple of formulas/guidelines to determine what funding goes to which district and ends with the statement that all schools who receive funding must report to the Department of Public Instruction within ten days of receiving said funding.
The second section deals with class sizes in kindergarten through third grade education, shifting from a maximum of a 20-to-1 student to teacher ratio in the 2018-2019 school year, to an 18-to-1 ratio in the 2020-2021 school year.
Section three is about enhancement (i.e., advanced education) teachers. It starts with a discussion of funding for enhancement teachers in the kindergarten through fifth grade age group. It also says that dual immersion classes (classes taught equally in two languages) are exempt from the rules set out in section two.
Section four lays out rules for allocation of teachers and funds, and that certain funds won’t be used for anything except for the payment of foreign teachers who come to the U.S.; the pay will be based on the amount of teaching experience they have.
Section five is mostly focused on math, specifically math that deals with the amount of money in the State Education General Fund. It goes on for about a page before it deals with what to do with money left over from all the deductions and additions to the General Fund based on the allotment of one teacher to 191 students for enhancement teachers.
The sixth section of the bill deals with Personal Education Savings Accounts, which are funds given to the parents of students who haven’t received a high school diploma, are enrolled in a public high school, haven’t enrolled in a post-secondary education program and have some sort of disability. It lays out certain guidelines for these parents such as they will receive a debit card to use for educational purposes and are required to submit expense reports regularly to the state general fund.
The seventh section of the bill says that the state will increase funding for pre-kindergarten education. There will be an 82 million dollar increase going to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Child Development and Early Education in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, as well as 91.3 million dollars in the 2020-2021 fiscal year and every subsequent year.
Part eight is a departure from the education focus of the bill. It seeks to implement the State Supreme Court’s decision in Cooper v. Berger, effectively giving Governor Cooper increased control over the Bipartisan Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, while laying out some rules on appointing new members. The short ninth section of the bill basically states that the bill goes into effect the moment it becomes law unless specified otherwise.
In short, the bill deals mostly with education funding, meaning that it has the biggest impact on teachers in the elementary school range, students with disabilities and breaking from the theme of education, the Election and Ethics Board of North Carolina.