AN ACT TO MAKE MODIFICATIONS RELATED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA LABORATORY SCHOOLS AND TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS FOR THEIR OPERATION.
Amends GS 116-239.5 to extend the specific immunities provided for the State Board of Education, the Superintendent, local boards of education, local school administrative units, and their members and employees under GS Chapter 115C to the Board of Governor's (BOG) Subcommittee on Laboratory Schools (Subcommittee), chancellor, the constituent institution, an advisory board, and a laboratory school, and their members, employees, and agents. Limits immunity to exclude gross negligence, wanton conduct, or intentional wrongdoing. Deems the immunity waived to the extent of indemnification and to the extent sovereign immunity is waived under specified state law. Applies to an action or omission of an action occurring on or after the date the act becomes law.
Amends GS 116-239.7 regarding the selection and creation of laboratory schools. Modifies the provisions regarding renewal of the term of operation for laboratory schools. Now requires, rather than permits, the Subcommittee to renew the term of operation for an additional five-year period if the laboratory school is located in a local school administrative unit that meets the low-performing schools threshold, or has a waiver of the threshold requirement renewed. Additionally, now permits the Subcommittee to renew the term of operation for another five-year period for laboratory schools that are no longer located in a qualifying administrative unit or meeting the Article's purposes under a waiver at the end of five years if it finds the school is meeting its mission to improve student performance and provide valuable training to teachers and principals in the constituent's educator preparation program (previously, did not provide for renewal and required notice to the BOG at the end of the term to request designation of additional constituent institutions to establish laboratory schools). Adds authority for the Subcommittee to terminate laboratory school operation during the initial term or renewal period if it finds the school is failing to meet expected progress in meeting the mission required of the Article. Requires the Subcommittee to notify the BOG at the end of operation of a laboratory school and request designation of additional constituent institutions to establish a laboratory school. Makes further conforming changes.
Amends GS 116-239.8 to establish powers and responsibilities of the chancellor and local administrative unit relating to the operation and maintenance of laboratory schools. Regarding the responsibility to lease and maintain adequate facilities, authorizes the chancellor to execute lease agreements and memoranda of agreement for operation. Caps lease payments by the constituent institution at $1 and prohibits agreements from expanding costs borne by the constituent institution for operation of the laboratory school. Grants local units the option to purchase any technology upgrade provided by a constituent institution to a laboratory school upon its closure and requires the provision of technology support by the local unit related to the school's operation. Further, requires the provision of student support services, as described, by the local unit. Adds to the transportation responsibilities of the local unit to require the unit to provide transportation to students who reside in the unit and attend the laboratory school, including any students who are homeless and require assistance pursuant to federal law (currently, more broadly requires transportation to attending students, but does not specifically include homeless students). Adds that the transportation requirement applies regardless of where a student resides in the unit or how the unit's transportation policies and practices are applied to other students, and includes providing transportation of students and personnel to extracurricular activities and educational trips of the school in the same manner as other schools in the unit for that year. Adds to the food services responsibilities to specify that the unit is responsible for the cost of administration of the National School Lunch Program for the laboratory school. Applies to a memorandum of understanding entered into on or after the date the act becomes law and applies beginning with the 2021-22 school year and subsequently thereafter.
Amends GS 116-239.9 to expand the eligibility of laboratory admission to include children of a laboratory school employee if the child resides in the local school administrative unit in which the laboratory school is located. Additionally, adds new authority for laboratory schools to admit students who reside in the unit but do not meet eligibility requirements if the school has not reached enrollment capacity in a program, class, grade level, or building by March 1, prior to the start of the next school year, up to 20 percent of the respective capacity. Adds a new requirement for the laboratory school to make reasonable efforts to reflect the composition of the general population of students residing in the unit in which the school is located within one year of operation. Explicitly prohibits unlawful discrimination in making admissions determinations. Applies beginning with the 2020-21 school year.
Amends Section 11.6 of SL 2016-94, as amended, to require at least six, rather than nine, laboratory schools to be established and in operation by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Adds a new requirement for at least three additional laboratory schools to be established and in operation by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
Appropriates $895,000 in nonrecurring funds from the General Fund to the BOG to be allocated to constituent institutions operating laboratory schools during the 2020-21 school year, on a pro rata basis, to be used for the required operational and maintenance costs incurred by the laboratory schools. Effective July 1, 2020.
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