Bill Summaries: S522 (2019-2020 Session)

  • Summary date: Jul 24 2019 - View summary

    House amendments make the following changes to the 5th edition.

    Amendment #1

    Modifies the proposed changes to GS 115C-75.7, now requiring the State Board of Education (State Board) to only select schools for transfer to the Innovative School District (ISD) in accordance with the statute's provisions (previously, required the State Board to select no more than five qualifying schools annually to transfer to the ISD as innovative schools in accordance with the statute). Eliminates proposed GS 115C-75.7(b3), which allowed a local board of education to request that the State Board select a qualifying school under the control of that local board as an innovative school, upon recommendation of the ISD Superintendent. Instead, enacts GS 115C-75.7(c1), allowing local boards to request selection in the same manner as proposed in subsection (b3), but limits the authority to when fewer than five schools have been selected pursuant to the selection process set forth in subsection (c), as amended, and provided that no more than five schools are selected that year in total.

    Amendment #2

    Amends GS 115C-270.15, as amended by Section 1.1 of SL 2019-71, concerning teacher examination requirements for initial professional licenses (IPLs). Expands the statute's provisions to apply to a residency license (RL).

    Amends GS 115C-270.20(a)(4a), as enacted by Section 2.1 of SL 2019-71, concerning a limited license. Amends the criteria for in-state licensees to receive a limited license, now requiring the individual to have been issued an IPL or RL and having failed to fulfill the examination requirements under GS 115C-270.15, as amended, after three years of licensure. 

    Deems a lateral entry licensee to meet the limited license criteria set forth in GS 115C-270.20(a)(4a), as amended, if two criteria are met: (1) the individual would have been issued a continuing professional license (CPL) but for the failure to fulfill examination requirements set by the State Board and (2) the local board of education submits to the State Board an affidavit, signed by the appropriate principal and superintendent, stating the teacher is currently employed by that local board, is an effective teacher, and will be encouraged to continue to pursue a CPL (similar to the in-state licensee limited license criteria).

    Amends Section 1.2 of SL 2019-71 to now grant an extension until June 30, 2020, for elementary education or special education general curriculum teachers with an IPL, lateral entry license, or residency license that is set to expire June 30, 2019, due to failure to fulfill licensure examination requirements, effective June 30, 2019 (previously, was limited to only IPLs set to expire and did not include an effective date). 

    Amends Section 1.3 of SL 2019-71, adding that GS 115C-270.15(c), as amended (which requires the State Board to permit an applicant to fulfill exam requirements before or during the third year of IPL licensure so long as the applicant took the exam at least once during the first year of licensure) applies to individuals holding an IPL on or after the date that act became law.

    Amends Section 6 of SL 2019-71, making SL 2019-71 apply beginning with the eighteenth day following the date that act became law (was, beginning with applications for teacher licensure submitted on or after the eighteenth date following the effective date of the act).

    Applies to individuals holding or seeking licensure on or after the date the act becomes law.

    Makes conforming changes to the act's long title and effective date provisions.

    Amendment #3

    Eliminates Section 5 of the act, which amended GS 115C-390.2 and GS 115C-390.8, regarding student conduct and disciplinary policies. Makes conforming changes to the act's long title and effective date provisions. 

  • Summary date: Jul 23 2019 - View summary

    House committee substitute adds the following to the 4th edition.

    Amends GS 115C-390.2, regarding student conduct policies and procedures. Requires local boards of education to consult with teachers, school-based administrators, parents, and local law enforcement agencies when adopting the required policies to govern student conduct and disciplinary procedures for school officials to follow in disciplining students. Requires the policies to be based on local standards of conduct and developed within local guidelines for school safety (previously, required consistency with Article 27, Discipline, and the constitutions, statutes, and regulations of the United States and the State). Establishes a new requirement for local boards to annually provide the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) with a copy of its current student discipline policies by September 1 of each year. Additionally, adds a new requirement for local boards to notify parents or guardians of expected standards of student behavior. Permits local boards to require students and parents or guardians to sign an acknowledgement that they have received a copy of the Code of Student Conduct. Now requires school officials to inform the student's parent or guardian before using the range of responses encouraged to violations of disciplinary rules which do not remove the student from the classroom or school building. Clarifies that the statute and the Chapter do not regulate a local board's ability to devise, impose, and enforce personal appearance codes.

    Moves the substantive language of GS 115C-390.2(f), concerning minimizing the use of long-term suspension and expulsion, to new GS 115C-390.8(a1), with the following changes. Now allows local boards to adopt policies that minimize the use of long-term suspension and expulsion by restricting the availability of long-term suspension or expulsion those violations deemed to be serious violations of the board's Code of Student Conduct that either threaten the safety of students, staff, or school visitors or threaten to substantially disrupt the educational environment, subject to the principal's discretion (previously, required local boards to adopt such policies in their student conduct policies and disciplinary procedures). No longer provides examples of conduct that would not be deemed serious violations (previously, examples included the use of inappropriate or disrespectful language, noncompliance with a staff directive, dress code violations, and minor physical altercations that do not involve weapons or injury). Eliminates the more specific provision allowing principals to determine that aggravating circumstances justify treating a minor violation as a serious violation in their discretion.

    Applies beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

    Makes conforming changes to the act's titles and effective date provisions. 

  • Summary date: Jul 10 2019 - View summary

    House committee substitute deletes the provisions of the 3rd edition and instead provides the following.

    Makes the following changes to Article 7A, NC Innovative School District and Innovation Zones, of GS Chapter 115C.

    Amends GS 115C-75.5, modifying the term innovative school operator (IS operator) to remove the general prohibition provided against the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) being selected as an IS operator. Deletes the existing definition for qualifying school and now defines the term to mean a school that is a Title I school in the lowest performing 5% of school grades of all Title I schools, as defined.

    Deletes the existing provisions regarding selection of innovative schools set forth in GS 115C-75.7 and instead mandates annual selection by the State Board of no more than five qualifying schools to transfer to the Innovative School District (ISD) as innovative schools (previously, the State Board was authorized to select, upon recommendation of the ISD Superintendent, up to five qualifying elementary schools, as previously defined, to transfer to the ISD, with diversity requirements and limitations to one qualifying school per local unit unless the local board consented). Requires selection of innovative schools to be based on an analysis and evaluation of performance of qualifying schools over a three-year period of the school being designated and placed on the qualifying list, watch list, and warning list, as described, with public notice given and hearings held concerning the designation in accordance with the statutory requirements set forth. Requires the State Board to ensure that the qualifying schools identified for any ISD list are engaged in strategies in compliance with state or federal law for comprehensive support and improvement. Allows the State Board of Education to establish criteria for the selection of independent turnaround school consultants in a pay-for-performance model to provide direct support for qualifying schools. Directs the ISD Superintendent to monitor the schools and assist local boards in identifying funding, strategies, and partners for those efforts. Requires local boards to identify and engage in strategies in compliance with federal and State law for comprehensive support and improvement of qualifying schools, and mandates that local board members with an immediate family member employed by the local board and assigned to a qualifying school recuse themselves from any actions directly related to that qualifying school. Permits a local board to request that the State Board select a qualifying school under its control as an innovative school at any time upon recommendation of the ISD Superintendent. Eliminates the requirement for a local board to adopt a resolution which either consents to transfer the selected qualifying school to the ISD or closes the school at the conclusion of the school year. Establishes a new selection process whereby a school that remains a qualifying school in the school year following the year the school was placed on the ISD warning list and is one of the lowest five qualifying schools on the ISD warning list, as measured by school performance scores, is selected as an innovative school beginning with the next school year. Maintains the statute's existing provisions regarding public notification and waiver for innovative schools. Requires the ISD lists and selected innovative schools to be publicly available on a website maintained by the ISD.

    Amends GS 115C-75.8 to permit the State Board to select an IS operator for a selected innovative school by December 15 and require selection of an IS operator for a selected innovative school by January 15 (previously applicable to prospective innovative schools, with selection permitted by January and required by February 15). Makes conforming changes. Modifies the requirements for entities contracted as IS operators to remove reference to persistently low-performing schools or students concerning the entity's record of improvement. Eliminates the provisions that provide for the ISD to act as an IS operator in instances in which no entity meets the specified qualifications. Maintains the contract requirements for contracts between the State Board and IS operator.

    Amends GS 115C-75.9 to eliminate the provision authorizing the ISD to act as an IS operator in the event that temporary management is necessary due to contract termination. Now permits an IS operator, in collaboration rather than in consultation with the ISD Superintendent, to elect to enter into a memorandum of understanding for alternate arrangements with the local board to address facility and capital expenditures, transportation services, or services for children with disabilities. Adds a requirement for the IS operator to collaborate with the ISD Superintendent in selecting and hiring the school principal for the innovative school. Concerning retained employees, allows a retained employee to become an employee of the local board if the IS operator is a local board, rather than an employee of the ISD, subject to approval of the ISD Superintendent. Provides for teachers at qualifying schools selected to become an innovative school who have career status prior to employment to teach at the innovative school to return to a public school in the local unit with career status at the end of employment at the innovative school if the appropriate position is available, and if not available, be put on a list of available teachers pursuant to GS 115C-325. 

    Amends GS 115C-75.10, concerning innovative schools funds. Concerning the ability of the IS operator to enter into a funding memorandum of understanding with the local board of the local unit for all student support and operational services and all instruction services, requires collaboration rather than consultation with the ISD Superintendent. 

    Amends GS 115C-75.11, concerning accountability and governance for innovative schools, to require an IS operator to collaborate with the ISD Superintendent in selecting, approving, or removing the school principal of an innovative school managing under the Article.

    Amends GS 115C-75.12, regarding the term of supervision, to eliminate the provision authorizing the ISD to act as temporary IS operator during a transition period following contract termination.

    Amends GS 115C-75.13 concerning the creation of an innovation zone by a local board, to allow for an innovation zone for up to three low-performing schools within the local board's local unit (was, for up to three continually low-performing schools within its local unit) if the local unit has more than 35% of the schools identified in the unit as low-performing for some or all (was, for all) of the low-performing schools located in the unit. Requires the leader of the innovation zone office to be selected by the local board in consultation with the ISD Superintendent (was, recommended by the ISD Superintendent) and approved by the State Board. Modifies the provisions regarding termination of an innovation zone to refer to low-performing schools rather than continually low-performing schools. Eliminates the provision which requires a low-performing school in an innovation zone to become an innovative school if the school does not exceed expected growth in the last two of five consecutive years in the innovation zone. 

    Amends GS 115C-429 to require the local board to submit to the county commissioners with the budget the academic performance of the schools in the local unit, including school performance grades of each school, any schools identified as low-performing or continually low-performing or included on the ISD lists, and improvement efforts by the local board. Requires the local board to present the academic performance information at a public meeting upon request of the board of commissioners. 

    Mandates that the State Board select the lowest scoring qualifying school, as defined by GS 115C-75.5, as amended, in the state identified based on the school performance score in the school years 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21 to become an innovative school in the following school year, respectively.

    Requires the State Board to select innovative schools pursuant to GS 115C-75.7(a), as amended, no earlier than the 2022-23 school year for inclusion in the ISD beginning with the 2023-24 school year, unless a local board requests selection prior to that year. 

    Directs the Superintendent of Education and the ISD Superintendent to jointly study the options for innovative schools and reform of low-performing schools, as described, and report to the specified NCGA committee by March 15, 2020.

    Applies to schools identified beginning with data from the 2018-19 school year as qualifying schools for the 2019-20 school year, except as otherwise provided. 

    Makes conforming changes to the act's titles.

  • Summary date: May 8 2019 - View summary

    Senate amendment #1 deletes Part I of the 2nd edition, which amended GS 115C-218.100, GS 115C-218.105, and GS 153A-149, and enacted GS 153A-458, to authorize counties to provide capital funds for charter school facilities, furnishings, and equipment. 

  • Summary date: May 6 2019 - View summary

    Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.

    Eliminates the proposed provisions of the following Parts of the act: Part II (amending SL 2017-57, making charter schools eligible for grants from the Need-Based Public School Capital Fund); Part II (enacting GS 115C-218.37, authorizing the Superintendent of Public Instruction to approve charter school private activity bonds); Part VI (amending Article 14A, GS Chapter 115C to establish charter school enrollment priority for children of charter partner employees); and Part VII (further amending Article 14A to provide for an alternative procedure of charter school approval by a Higher Education Institution Authorizer).

  • Summary date: Apr 5 2019 - View summary

    Part I

    Amends GS 115C-218.100(b), concerning dissolution of a charter school, which mandates that net assets of the school purchased with public funds to be deemed the property of the local school administrative unit in which the school is located. Creates an exception, and deems capital-sourced assets the property of the county or counties providing the funding, or divided between the counties in proportion to the funds provided. Defines capital-sourced assets.

    Amends GS 115C-218.105 to authorize counties to provide funds to charter schools by direct appropriation under GS 153A-458, as enacted, with use limited to three described purposes, including the acquisition of real property; the acquisition, construction, renovation or replacement of buildings and other structures; and the acquisition or replacement of furniture and furnishings. Provides parameters for the funds to be evidenced by promissory note and secured by deed of trust, which can be released upon the school's repayment of the capital funds provided.

    Amends GS 153A-149 to add the provision of capital funds for charter schools to the authorized purposes for which a county can levy property taxes.

    Enacts GS 153A-458 to authorize counties to appropriate funds and lease real property to charter schools, provided the use of funds is limited to the purposes set out in GS 115C-218.105(b1), as enacted.

    Applies beginning with the 2019-20 fiscal year.

    Part II

    Amends Section 5.3 of SL 2017-57, as amended, which creates the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund (Fund) to be used to award grants to counties designated as a development tier one area or a development tier two area under GS 143B-437.08. Authorizes a qualified county, defined as a county designated as a development tier one area, to use a grant awarded from the Fund for building capital needs for an approved charter school. Specifies that building capital needs for an approved charter school can include the acquisition or improvement of a property by the charter school. Establishing grant funds to be matched by the qualified county using grant funds for a charter school at a 1:1 ratio, and caps an award to a qualified county at $3 million. Adds additional requirements for qualified counties using grant funds for charter schools, requiring the  mandated agreement between the county and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to include provisions stating that: (1) the property being acquired or improved by grant funds is owned by the nonprofit organization which holds the charter, and amounts provided by the county are evidenced by promissory note and secured by deed of trust, with the effects as described, which can be released upon repayment of funds provided; (2) the property cannot be conveyed without approval of the State Board of Education (State Board); and (3) acknowledgement that upon dissolution, all capital-sourced assets are deemed property of the county under GS 115C-218.100(b), as amended.

    Applies to grant fund applications submitted on or after July 1, 2019.

    Part III

    Enacts GS 115C-218.37 to designate the Superintendent of DPI as an applicable elective representative who can approve the issuance of private activity bonds to finance or refinance a charter school facility, after public hearing and following reasonable public notice, in accordance with applicable state and federal law. Charges the Superintendent with determining procedures for the public hearings and provides that the hearings are to be conducted by the Superintendent or his or her designee. Defines charter school facility and applicable elected representative. 

    Part IV

    Amends GS 115C-218.6, to allow the State Board to renew a charter for less than the standard 10 year period, if the percent of students who scored at or above proficient for all end-of-grade and end-of-course tests taken in the previous school year is at least five percentage points lower than in the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located (previously, if the charter school's student academic outcomes for the preceding three years have not been comparable to those of students in the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located). Maintains the remaining situations in which the renewal period can be less than the standard period.

    Part V

    Amends GS 115C-218.1 to require charter applications to include a nationwide criminal background check for each member of the board of directors of the proposed charter to ensure no member has a conviction of a crime listed in GS 115C-332 or a substantially similar crime in another state. Requires the check to include a social-security number trace and any known aliases. Also requires charter applications to include a certification of each board member certifying whether the board member has been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor, and if so, include the year of the charge, the charge, and the disposition of the charge. 

    Part VI

    Enacts GS 115C-218.45 regarding permissible enrollment priority by a charter school. Adds priority for children of permanent employees of a charter partner, up to 50% of the school's total enrollment. Requires a separate lottery if applications from these children exceeds 50% total enrollment. Defines charter partner to mean any legal entity authorized to transact business in the state under specified GS Chapters that has, individually or as a consortium, made one or more specified donations to the charter school valued at at least $50,000, including land on which the school is built, the school building or the space the school occupies, or major renovations to the existing school building or other capital improvements, as detailed. For every year of such enrollment priority, requires the charter partner to enter into a memorandum with the charter school to specify the duration of priority and the support the charter partner will provide, such as internships, tutoring, and career counseling. Prohibits this enrollment priority from displacing students enrolled at the time the charter application or material revision providing for the new priority is approved by the State Board.

    Further amends GS 115C-218.1 to require charter applications to include whether the charter intends to provide enrollment priority to children of employees of a charter partner, and if so, to identify that charter partner.

    Amends GS 115C-218.7 to deem adoption of enrollment priority for children of employees of a charter partner as a material revision of the charter.

    Amends GS 115C-218.15, regarding charter school operation. Establishing that persons affiliated with a charter partner are eligible for membership on the board of directors of a charter school that provides enrollment priority to the children of employees of the charter partner, subject to the existing requirements of subsection (b), and provided that such persons do not constitute a majority of the board, and if the charter partner is leasing the building or space to the school, the lease must provide that the building or space is available without cost and the term of lease is no less than the duration of the charter.

    Applies beginning with the 2019-20 school year.

    Part VII

    Makes the following additional changes to Article 14A, Charter Schools, of GS Chapter 115C.

    Amends GS 115C-218. Defines the term Higher Education Institution Authorizer (HEI Authorizer) to mean the board of trustees of a community college under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Community Colleges or the board of trustees of a constituent institution of the UNC System designated as participating in the NC Promise Tuition Plan pursuant to GS 116-143.11.

    Enacts GS 115C-218.4 to permit an applicant for a charter school to submit an application that meet the requirements of GS 115C-218.1 to a HEI Authorizer. Requires such an application to include how the HEI Authorizer is to be involved in the planning, operation, or evaluation of the charter school. Requires the HEI Authorizer to timely notify and give the applicant at least five business days to correct issues in the initial application. Authorizes the HEI Authorizer to authorize a charter school if it finds: (1) the application requirements are met under the Article and rules of the State Board; (2) the applicant has the ability to operate the school and would be likely to operate the school in an educationally and economically sound manner; and (3) authorizing the application would achieve one or more purposes set out in GS 115C-218.

    Requires the HEI Authorizer to make a final decision by August 15 in the year immediately preceding the year in which the charter school proposes to begin operation. Requires approved charters to enter into a written agreement with the HEI Authorizer with terms and conditions incorporated from the application and any additional terms and conditions imposed by the HEI Authorizer. Permits State funds available to the HEI Authorizer to be used to support the charter school so long as the written agreement contains provisions ensuring the return of any assets to the HEI Authorizer to the extent they were purchased with State funds upon dissolution.

    Requires the State Board to approve the charter school for a period not to exceed 10 years upon receipt of the application and written agreement filed by the HEI Authorizer and upon recommendation of the Superintendent. Subjects charter schools approved in this manner to the same requirements of a charter school approved pursuant to GS 115C-218.5. Establishes that termination, nonrenewable, or assumption of a charter school authorized by an HEI Authorizer cannot be initiated by the State Board until the State Board has consisted with the HEI Authorizer pursuant to GS 115C-218.95(b), as enacted. 

    Makes conforming changes throughout the Article to provide for the authority of the HEI Authorizer and charters to be approved by the HEI Authorizer. Specifies that the Charter School Advisory Board cannot review applications submitted to the HEI Authorizer. 

    Amends GS 115C-218.3 to specify the State Board can include in its rules for fast-track replication of a high-quality charter school currently operating in the State, a charter school authorized by an HEI Authorizer and approved by the State Board. Makes conforming  changes.

    Amends GS 115C-218.6 to provide that the HEI Authorizer can request charter renewal.

    Amends GS 115C-218.7 to require a HEI Authorizer to submit a material revision of the provisions of a charter pursuant to GS 115C-218.4 consistent with the provisions of the statute for State Board approval.

    Amends GS 115C-218.20 and GS 115C-218.90 to extend civil and criminal immunity under the statutes to HEI Authorizers.

    Enacts GS 115C-218.95 to prohibit the State Board from initiating the termination, nonrenewal, to assumption of a charter school authorized by an HEI Authorizer until the State Board has consulted with the HEI Authorizer. Permits the State Board, the HEI Authorizer and the charter school to enter into an agreement to provide an opportunity to address concerns that could lead to such decisions.

    Amend GS 115C-533 to allow the State Board to offer a system of property insurance to any charter school approved pursuant to GS 115C-218.4, as enacted.

    Makes conforming changes to GS 14-33, GS 14-458, GS 20-84, GS 105-228.90, GS 135-5.3, GS 136-18, and GS 160A-307.1.

    Part VIII

    Amends Section 8.35 of SL 2014-100, as amended, to remove the maximum enrollment cap of 2,592 students for virtual charter schools participating in the Virtual Charter School Pilot. Instead, allows enrollment to increase annually by 20% for each participating school. Makes conforming changes. Applies beginning with the 2019-20 school year.